If you could ask anyone at the Wilma - actors, designers, directors, staff members - just ONE question, what would it be? For our next question, we asked Resident Stage Manager Patreshettarlini (Pat) Adams and Digital Communications Manager Johnny Van Heest a Wilma One Question.
The Body of an American chronicles the friendship between playwright Dan O'Brien and photojournalist Paul Watson - a friendship that was developed over three years of email exchanges. It's remarkable how such a profound relationship began with letters between two strangers.
So we asked, have you ever had a pen pal?
Inspirations and Thoughts from Wilma staff, artists, and collaborators: Johnny Van Heest on the Arctic
It’s a brisk day today and we had a taste of snow last week, so I was inspired to write this blog entry.
I hold an irritating fascination with the Arctic and the cold North. Allow me to qualify…It’s really more ‘irritating’ to others because even though I’m an American Mid-Atlantic-er, I don’t often join in the choir of despair when our golden, temperate autumns turn into snaps of cold with punctuated variations of snow, rain, and sleet – only to be followed by two months of a season I call ‘Grey,’ just before an eruption of allergy season. When the inevitable complaints about the winter weather start to surface, I tend to gleefully rebuff with “Imagine if it was like this every day!” See? Irritating.
But whatever. I like the cold and snow*. I’m that guy.
Wilma dramaturg Walter Bilderback in conversation with award-winning photojournalist Paul Watson.
Walter Bilderback: You and Dan O'Brien have known each other for 7 years now, and the relationship we see develop in The Body of an American has continued to the present, including a new volume of poems to be published soon. Has your friendship with Dan changed you?
Paul Watson: I rarely reply to emails like Dan's. He was a stranger, pitching a play, and coming out of the blue as it did, I thought it sounded bizarre. But I'm a diehard fatalist and my inner voice told me to do whatever Dan asked and I have.
I told him at the start, as I warmed to the idea, that he would be my confessor. And that's the main effect he's had in my life. Normally, I don't like to talk about the subjects he brought up unless it's to my wife, in my own home. But Dan has lead me over important ground, and to me, his art is in expressing painful truths that pure journalism can't capture.
Actors, designers, Wilma staff members, and even Playwright Dan O'Brien came together for the first rehearsal of The Body of an American! Check out some of these shots from the rehearsal studio.
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?"
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.