Jay Perry has appeared in Plan-B’s TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY, FACING EAST, THE ALIENATION EFFEKT, GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!, SHE WAS MY BROTHER, LADY MACBETH and every RADIO HOUR. He also appeared in Plan-B’s PETER AND THE WOLF (elementary school tour in partnership with Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation) and THE SOLDIER’S TALE (in partnership with NOVA Chamber Music Series).
When I was in college one of my professors told me that as long as I was speaking the words of a gifted playwright alongside gifted actors, I’d be living the dream. I learned that my task was to uncover the clues that a good writer would invariably leave, like so many breadcrumbs along the path of poetic dialogue. He told me that a great playwright was an actor’s very best friend and someone I could trust. Any actor who’s spoken the words of such a writer knows what I’m talking about.
My first Eric Samuelsen play was the Script-In-Hand Series reading of his gorgeous translation of Henrik Ibsen’s A DOLL HOUSE in 2011. This masterpiece of Ibsen had long resonated as one of my favorites, being the first thing I ever saw on Broadway, and Eric’s translation was perfectly wrought and divine to play. Earlier this season, I had the incredible opportunity to perform in Eric’s RADIO HOUR EPISODE 8: FAIRYANA. Radio drama is my favorite theatre genre and in this one, Eric created characters who’s voices seemed to leap from the page and a visceral environment as real as if it were right in front of my eyes.
CLEARING BOMBS is my third Eric Samuelsen play. It’s a study in the theories of two of the world’s best known economists, and one that’s so thorough, I light-heartedly suggested in rehearsal that the research required to play it should qualify as a minor in economics. I was only half-joking. I couldn’t have anticipated that I would become so enthralled with a subject like macroeconomics until I became involved with this play.
I think it’s safe to say I’m hooked.
It’s a rare opportunity to experience the rehearsal process with a great writer who’s also directing the show and we’ve had some wonderful conversations talking history and economic theory. I know I’ll never look at the world the same way again and I owe that to Eric’s passion for the subject and his brilliance in writing it.
There are moments in rehearsal when I’m speaking his words, looking across the stage at my incredible cast-mates, Kirt Bateman and Mark Fossen, and I just feel like I should pinch myself.
That professor was absolutely right.
Plan-B Theatre’s #SeasonOfEric continues with Eric Samuelsen’s CLEARING BOMBS February 20-March 2, 2014, featuring Kirt Bateman, Mark Fossen and Jay Perry, directed by Eric Samuelsen. Click here for tickets and more info.