Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Spotlight On...Jeff Wise

Name: Jeff Wise

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Education: BA Colgate University, MFA NYU Graduate Acting

Favorite Credits: Co-Founder/Artistic Director of Wheelhouse Theater Company

Why theater?: Because it matters.

Tell us about DANNYKRISDONNAVERONICA: This play is about how lives get bumped off an expected track, and finding your way forward again.  Kids change things...kids change everything.  For these two couples, the introduction of kids into their lives brings them up against themselves as individuals, and as a couple. Kids are mirrors, and we are forced to look at ourselves as people when we have them.  In this play we watch Danny, Kris, Donna and Veronica desperately search for balance in an otherwise chaotic life, and it's absurdly funny, and also very moving.

What inspired you to direct DANNYKRISDONNAVERONICA?: I asked Larry for any plays he may have that I could read while working with him on his play "In the Room" that was previously co-produced by Wheelhouse and Slant Theatre Company.  He, knowing I have 3 kids 7 and under, coyly smiled and said "Oh yeah, I have something for you!"  I read DANNYKRISDONNAVERONICA and instantly connected to it.  There are moments in this play where its quite clear Larry was perched on my window sill while writing it.  I have come to find out in my personal life that "the reasons we get together are hardly the reasons we decide to stay together"...and I think we see this truism play out in this play.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love highly physical and inventive theater.  I'm always looking for that moment when I am watching a play whereIi lean in and think to myself "what the f*ck?!?",  but not in the "what the hell are you doing you've lost me kind of way" but in the "wow I did not see that coming and I'm fascinated" kind of way.  I also firmly believe that every play absolutely hinges on what is happening between two or more people in a given set of imagines circumstances...if you don't have that, and that isn't fully realized in a truthful, risky, skinny-branch kind of way, then the rest is meaningless. I saw a play the other day that was SUPER creative and imaginative in terms of staging and physical play, but I ended up being bored by intermission because where they succeeded in creative play, they horribly lacked in investing in the telling the story.  And the story is pretty darn compelling. So......to me, it's "tell the story first", the rest is there to support.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:  "yet" to work with...well, that's about the whole world of artists that are brilliant in their own rights.  But in my little corner of the earth, I would love to work with (read: learn from) Sam Gold and Ivo Van Hove.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Othello at NYTW

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:  Ryan Gosling minus 15 lbs.  "A happy stack of sad"

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The original production of Hamlet

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Ice Cream

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A professional golfer

What’s up next?: I'm hoping to devise a play based on the brilliant book "Sex at Dawn"...but before the that...the beach!