Wilma One Question: Ian Merrill Peakes


If you could ask anyone at the Wilma - actors, designers, directors, staff members - just ONE question, what would it be? We thought we would kick off our Wilma One Question Series with actor Ian Merrill Peakes, who is starring in our upcoming production of the The Body of An American. Since the play chronicles the friendship between playwright Dan O'Brien and Photojournalist Paul Watson, we asked Ian one question:

"In your lifetime, what notable photograph has stuck-out in your mind?"


Ian's Response:

I have no idea how old I was when I first laid eyes on this picture from the early days of the Tet Offensive. Perhaps I was seven or eight. It was this photo, iconic, disturbing and so very real, that made me realize in my young brain that horrible things were, indeed, part of this great big world of ours. I believe I understood on some level that horrific things happened, but seeing this image somehow cemented that notion into a fixed reality that was eye-opening and not altogether pleasant. 

It also, and this relates to Body of an American, taught me about the role of witness a photographer plays. Whether it be a sporting event or war, they are witnesses and, subsequently, historians. 

My mother was a photographer and she had a dark room in our basement. I remember vividly watching the pictures blossom in the strange and magical photo juice. And, at some point I became aware of a sort of creation of history in that blossoming. But it was this photo, taken by Eddie Adams in 1968, that brought me into an awareness of story telling through a photograph. The notion of photographer as historian. As witness. 

What Question would you ask the Wilma?


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