Introducing W/D Lab Member… Jesse Jou!

M2d6a04f0c9f2baef90c74d9ba0fc61bbWe continue our 15th Writer/Director Lab with Max Posner’s new play JUDY, directed by Jesse Jou. This interview with Jesse continues a series of interviews with the participants of this year’s Lab. Come and join us the reading at Access Theater, April 15 at 7PM.

1. Briefly tell us about your directorial thinking on JUDY.

JUDY is so mysterious and satisfying. It’s about three siblings who live some 20 to 30 years from now and their struggles as they negotiate an increasingly unhappy world, a technological system that collapses the distance between people and paradoxically impedes human connection. I don’t mean that to sound so serious, because the play’s also really funny and bittersweet, too. Max’s fierce intelligence is balanced by the ease of his poetic voice and wit. What really makes me appreciate the elegance of his writing is seeing how he puts the play down on the page, which seems very stylized and formal, but its emotional and aural rhythms are completely not. I think the play lives in that beautiful contradiction.

2. What part of the Writer/Director Lab process was the most instructive and entertaining? How are the directors utilized?
The whole process was so great. I loved the way Jenny and Ken created an environment where we took each play on its own terms, so that it never became about viewing the Lab plays through our own aesthetic prejudices, but always stayed about what each play and each playwright was trying to do. That always seemed to be a more meaningful way of giving feedback. The directors largely acted as respondents to the plays, whether through asking questions, sharing impressions, or staging a section of the plays.
3. How do you think the Lab will influence your future work?

Just getting to spend time with so many amazing peers over the last few months is such a perspective-changer. I think we’re all very different, but just the level of conversation and mutual respect in the Lab is such a great model for how a humane process for new play development should be.

4. It’s the 15th anniversary of the Lab! Looking back over the history, which plays that have come out of the Lab are you inspired by and why?

OMG, 15 years! Wonderful! I don’t know. My appreciation of the Lab is less about specific plays and more about the amazing cadre of artists who’ve gone through it. I’m a huge fan of Susan Soon He Stanton’s TAKARAZUKA! Because she’s awesome, the play’s ambitious, and Asian-American voices, yes!

5. Do you have any advice for emerging young freelance directors?
Since I’m still an emerging freelance director, here’s some advice for myself: keep showing up and don’t negotiate with yourself out of experiences that may mean something to you. Let someone else tell you “no.” If you like new plays, apply for the Lab!

JESSE JOU (Director): Jesse is thrilled to collaborate with Max Posner on JUDY. Previous work on new plays includes THE BETROTHED by Dipika Guha (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater), SAY YOU HAVE HEARD MY ECHO by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai (HERE),  99 WAYS TO FUCK A SWAN by Kim Rosenstock, and the things are against us [les choses sont contre nous] by Susan Soon He Stanton. He has also directed for Ars Nova; the New York International Fringe Festival; The Kitchen Theatre Co., (Ithaca, NY); and the Yale Cabaret. He was the Artistic Director of the 2010 Yale Summer Cabaret and has served as the Staff Repertory Director of The Acting Company. He was a Fellow of the Drama League’s Directors Project and a member of the Civilians R&D Group. MFA, Yale School of Drama.

JUDY will be read at ACCESS THEATER, 380 Broadway (at White Street). 7PM Start! 

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