Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Spotlight on The Bluest Water playwright Jason Chimonides

Jason joined us last week as we made revisions and changes to The Bluest Water script. This process took place in rehearsals and through work sessions that Jason and I had in the afternoons and evenings. This was a special time to have Jason with us as he just received a publishing deal with Dramatist Play Service for his play The Optimist that just finished its Off-Broadway run with Ground-Up Productions in New York.

I first met Jason in the spring of 2003 when I visited Florida State University as a prospective graduate student. Jason was finishing his second year in the MFA Directing program. Jason had and has a deep history with Florida State University and the city of Tallahassee. Jason grew up in Tallahassee and then attended FSU as an undergraduate. Jason then lived in both Atlanta and Los Angeles working as an actor. In 2001, Jason returned to FSU to earn his MFA in Directing. Jason now splits his time between New York City and Indiana, Pennsylvania where he is on the faculty at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Jason is a theatre generalist in every sense of the word. He does it all. He has worked as a professional actor, he is a musician and just recently performed as a musician/actor in the Off-Broadway production of The People vs Mona, he has directed a myriad of productions, and is now a published playwright. His plays, The Troubadour, Pathological, and The Optimist have all had full productions at the Florida State University School of Theatre. His play Pathological was recently produced by La Costra Nostra in Chicago and he is a member of Manhattan Class Company's Playwright's Coalition and the Dramatist's Guild. As an actor, Jason has worked with Mill Mountain Theatre, Theatre at Limekiln, Alliance Theatre, Theatre Southeast, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, Horizon Theatre, The Canton Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, The Southern Shakespeare Festival and The Gold Coast Theatre Festival.

His direction has been seen at FSU, Theatre Jacksonville, The Northeast Theatre and his own Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

My process with Jason has been an extremely rewarding one. Jason and I are co-creating the piece, but I am far from a playwright and Jason’s skills in this area are the driving force behind the play. We are now listening to the actors. It is amazing what we can learn from “hearing” the play as opposed to simply reading it on the page. There is rhythm and a drive that we need to find and this can only really be completed by hearing the actor’s rhythms and instincts with the text. We are also trying to adjust major plot points and driving action in these early stages. Our editing process with this will operate like a funnel. Changes will occur through out the process, but the big changes will happen early with a smaller and smaller amount of changes as we get closer and closer to production.

Geoffrey Kershner
Endstation Blogger and Artistic Director

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Jason and I worked at "The Lost Colony" back in '93; it was the first summer stock gig for both of us. He was wonderfully talented, witty, and musical back then; it's nice to see he's continued growing and exploring as an artist. Please give him my best.

Jamie Gannon (Lillicrapp)