Thursday, July 14, 2016

Spotlight On...Jess Goldschmidt

Name: Jess Goldschmidt

Hometown: Pennington, NJ

Education: Lots

Favorite Credits: Tall Women in Clogs in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival/Dixon Place, accommodating students with dyslexia by walking backwards and trying to make sense is the sense that’s made (chor. Millie Kapp)

Why theater?: Musicals, god help me.

Tell us about Sweat & Tears: A year or so ago I started making a dance piece about crying with two women. Half a year after that, James Rutherford started making a physical theater piece about fighting with two men. Both drew from our individual embodied histories; he trained as a black belt in karate all through high school, and I danced seriously until I was 18. Both involved feats of strength, both questioned “fake” and “real.” And we’re dating. And we talk all the time about how messed up social embodiments of gender are for pretty much everyone. So it seemed important to put these two acts of emotional labor next to each other.

What inspired you to create Sweat & Tears?: For my part, I’ve spent the last few years discovering this new relationship to crying. My glorious performers, Jing Xu and Jessica Myers, have shared similar insights; it’s something about coming into your own emotionally—your patterns of feeling are somehow set and crying isn’t this completely overwhelming, shattering thing anymore, exactly. It still hurts like crazy, and weeping wrecks you physically, but you can still see yourself as you’re crying. And it’s weird to have that ever-present videotape so many women struggle to shed, that camera outside yourself watching yourself, it’s weird to have that trained on such intense emotions. And it makes you wonder if they’re actually yours, where they come from, why you’re holding your face in your hands like this, etc. etc. etc. Who taught you how to cry.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theater that needs to be live, that needs to be in time and particular space. Movement-based work with a sense of humor and spectacle. Somewhere between Bob Fosse and Pina Bausch, basically.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Pina Bausch. More realistically (as in living): Big Dance Theater, Young Jean Lee, Ralph Lemon, Yvonne Rainer

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Most things have too short a run to even have time to recommend them, but New Saloon’s Minor Character was a delight.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Diane Keaton, “Old Before Her Time”

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: 46-year-old Sarah Bernhardt doing Joan of Arc.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Television.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A librarian.

What’s up next?: A play I’m trying to write about the Equal Rights Amendment.