Playwright Spotlight: Jennifer Jasper

Author of Here, Gus  (Shorts Night! 2016 Cupcake Spring Readings)

BIO:
Jennifer Jasper has been performing, directing and writing in Seattle for many years. This year she joins Quickies as a playwright and is thrilled to be a part of this wonderful world. She is currently working on “Pressing Matters,” which will be produced Off Broadway in NYC in 2016 in association with Mary J. Davis and MBL Productions.

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Q: Where did the idea of “Here, Gus” come from?

A: My father. It is a piece that is very close to me. My father has always had dogs. His last dog, Maude was a standard poodle who was his closest companion for 12 years and he is still struggling with losing her. He keeps everyone at an emotional distance, except his four legged friends.

Q:  What was your favorite moment in working on this piece?

A:  When it made me cry.

Q:  What projects are you currently working on?

A:  I’ve got quite a few in the works! I directed “Eulogy” which opens March 18th at West of Lenin with Kevin Kent. I am also gearing up to get back to work on my solo show “Bullygirl” with Shawn Belyea as director and hope to have it on some stage before year end. I’m very excited to have a collection of my short plays (including “Destination Unknown” from last year’s Quickies) premiering next April, Off Broadway in New York City with MBL Productions. And then there’s Family Affair – Cabaret Served Up Family Style, a monthly show at the Jewel Box Theater that I co-produce with my wife and host, along with a smattering of other fun bits.

Q:  Finish the sentence – “I love theater that…”

A:  Makes me forget I’m wearing a watch. When I can forget where I am and not want to leave the world, that’s amazing. That kind of experience propels me to ideas of my own and makes me want to create. I’m all about connection.

Q:  Who is your current artist crush?

A:  I’ll begin by saying I’m a Pisces, so I’ll have to go with two. Kelleen Conway-Blanchard is my current playwright crush. I love her words and her kink. I also love that she is so kind and supportive. She has performed at Family Affair and I find her fascinating, genuine and very inspirational. I may be collaborating with her and Scot Augustson on a wicked collection of stories around animal attacks!

My 2nd crush is an actor crush – Megan Ahiers. I love her. I love working with her –

especially when she is saying the words I have written. She gets me. She is exciting to watch on stage and she’s hitting her stride. If I could put her in my pocket and take her to NYC with me…well, I would!

Q: What was the best advice you were given as a theater artist?

A:  “Trust your instincts.” I still go back to first impressions regardless of what role I’m in (director, performer, writer, etc). My gut is usually right.

Q: What is the one thing you know as an artist now that you wish you could tell your younger self?

A: I’d tell myself to trust the world a bit more and take more risks. Jump at opportunities instead of being too “responsible.” I’m finding now that things work out. Trust the work. And be more confident, it’s not just “luck.”  I’m still learning that one. Still learning.

Q: Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?

A:  Down time. I’m into going home and hanging in the backyard. And coloring. We got coloring books recently. It’s really fun!

Q:  What is your favorite and least favorite word?

A: Ack. This is a hard one. My least favorite: bivouac – I missed it in a final spelling bee when I was 9. I’ll never forgive it.

My favorite: epitome – I like the way it looks.

Q: Anything else to share?

A: Not really. Maybe that, well, I’m happy. Just happy.

 

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PAST SPOTLIGHTS for JENNIFER JASPER….

Destination Unknown, [Quickies 16, June 2015]
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Where did the idea for Destination Unknown come from?
I used to travel a lot for work. A lot. I spent many, many hours waiting in airports. Amazingly, I only got bumped off one flight. A few years later, Kathie (my wife) and I were headed to Montreal and had the worst experience with flights delayed and then eventually canceled. We ended up renting a car and driving to meet our friends in Albany. As we sat waiting in the cramped and run down terminal at JFK, I said, “Well, this would be my own personal hell.” And, well, there you go.

What was your favorite moment in working on this piece??
Writing the dialogue between the Ticket Agent and the passengers when they first approach the counter. Coming up with their characters in just a few lines of banter with a customer service agent was just plain fun. It made me giggle.

What projects are you currently working on?
I’ve got quite a few cooking. I’m directing Mik Kulhman’s one-woman show, “House #30” in June at West of Lenin. My main focus is on “Pressing Matters.” It is a collection of my short plays (including “Destination Unknown”) that is being produced by MBL Productions, Inc., in NYC sometime in 2016. I am in the early development phase. The first table read is/was May 16th. After the reading, I will come back and work on the material and then go back for a staged reading later this year. And then onto production! I’m also working on my most recent solo show, “Bullygirl.” I want to tour it to middle schools. And as always, I’m producing Family Affair every month and doing a little of this and a little of that around Seattle.

Finish the sentence- “I love theater that…”
Makes me forget I’m wearing a watch. When I can forget where I am and not want to leave the world, that’s amazing. That kind of experience propels me to ideas of my own and makes me want to create. I’m all about connection.

Who is your current artist crush (any discipline)??
I’ll begin by saying I’m a Pisces, so I’ll have to go with two. Kelleen Conway-Blanchard is my current playwright crush. I love her words and her kink. I also love that she is so kind and supportive. She has performed at Family Affair and I find her fascinating, genuine and very professional. I can’t wait to see “Blonde With The Wind” with Keira MacDonald – very jealous. My 2nd crush is an actor crush – Megan Ahiers. I love her. I love working with her – especially when she is saying the words I have written. She gets me. She is exciting to watch on stage and she’s hitting her stride. If I could put her in my pocket and take her to NYC with me…well, I would!

What was the best advice you were given as a theater artist??
“Trust your instincts.” I still go back to first impressions regardless of what role I’m in (director, performer, writer, etc). My gut is usually right.

What is the one thing you know as an artist now that you wish you could tell your younger self??
I’d tell myself to trust the world a bit more and take more risks. Jump at opportunities instead of being too “responsible.” I’m finding now that things work out. Trust the work. And be more confident, it’s not just “luck.” I’m still learning that one.

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?
Down time. I’m into going home and hanging in the backyard. And coloring. We got coloring books recently. It’s really fun!

What is your favorite and least favorite word?
Ack. This is a hard one. My least favorite: bivouac – I missed it in a final spelling bee when I was 9. I’ll never forgive it.

My favorite: epitome – I like the way it looks.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share? (About Live Girls! Theater, Love, Life, Puppies, …really – anything at all?)

Not really. Maybe that, well, I’m happy. Just happy.

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