This Spotlight shines on Scott Jackson who discovered his love of acting after college and now graces stages in the City of Angels. He had just wrapped portraying George Deever in a sold-out production of All My Sons at Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice when the entire theatre world was forced to shut down.
Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?
Scott Jackson (Scott): I didn't have much of a theatrical background until after college as I grew up in North Dakota where the performing arts were not a very significant part of my life, at least not in my home town. I was, however, the clown in my family and loved making my family laugh. I was demonstrative and I loved to entertain people as it always gave me a great feeling. In first grade, there was an incident where my teacher asked all the students to make something out of a piece of cardboard. I drew, and cut out, an electric guitar and pretended that I was in a rock band. I got on top of a desk and was really rocking out! For that performance, I was scolded by the teacher and put in the closet as punishment (a warning to readers: it’s not all standing ovations). Around that same age, I was playing the piano and performed in various recitals and read the First Reading at our Sunday mass. I guess it’s all part of a foundation for this career entertaining people.
(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone or cancel the show?
(Scott): We were just wrapping up a production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons at Pacific Resident Theatre after a very successful run with about 7 months of extensions. I guess the timing worked out in that we closed the show approximately a week before things became more serious with the mandatory shutting down of citywide events.
(SB): How were you following the news and sharing your concerns with the cast and production team?
(Scott): Just as we did during the run, we've been emailing and texting each other. And now that we must social isolate ourselves, we are connecting through social media and staying active by posting updates. We just had a Zoom cocktail party, a new experience for me! After 7 months, 8 with rehearsals, I'm sort of enjoying some solitude. I’ve never been very active with Facetime or live video chats since my preference is texting emoji's 😎.
(SB): Are plans in place to present that production at a future date?
(Scott): I don’t think so. Despite the sold-out run, the play has been done so many times recently, including on Broadway, that it would be difficult to re-mount and market the show with the same cast and production team. That said, the run was very telling about great writing, especially when it's timely and timeless, combined with a great production team, and how it will bring people out to see it again and again. Seventy years after it was first produced, this classic still brought in young people as well as returning audiences from different generations.
(SB) I am sharing the link to my Broadway World review of All My Sons at Pacific Resident as I thoroughly enjoyed the production, directed with great skill and reverence for Arthur Miller’s script and characters by Elina De Santos, in which Scott portrayed George Deever.
(SB): What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?
(Scott): I'm directing a short film and I was just about to begin pre-production. Regarding theater, I'm beginning to look at the role of Jean in Miss Julie by August Strindberg. I don’t have many details about the production yet, but I've been interested in working on this play because it talks about the small person who's fighting for more. It's about the class system and what your place in the world is at birth. It's really about survival. It's Julie vs. Jean. That sounds like fun to me. And a challenge.
(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?
(Scott): Some theatre companies have developed online series during this physical distancing time. For example, the Skylight Theatre has started an online series called “Skylight Live” every Thursday at 3pm, with new and humorous pieces that are written for this medium. I continue to support other artists and arts organizations by retweeting and sharing their good news. People will eventually want to get out and support the arts again, and social media plays a huge part in promoting artists and their work.
(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return to the stage soon?
(Scott): I've heard people say that Los Angeles is not a theater town, but those are people who don't go to the theater and who don't work in the theater. This town is thriving with talented writers, directors, actors, and designers, all of them theater-makers who are forming and monitoring the pulse of a new Millennium. Being an actor in the theater is a craft and expression of creativity like nothing else that I’ve experienced in life, so fulfilling and rewarding. Being an audience member in the theater is life-giving, and dare I say, social. I am like-minded and very appreciative of anyone who supports theater, like you. So thank you for keeping the ghost light on and for writing, creating, and for reaching out.
(SB): Thanks so much. My goal is to “get the word out” about all forms of theatre in our city, drawing others into the incredible in-person sharing experience that only live performances can create in a room filled with people.
(Scott): My best advice is to stay creative and active. Connect with other artists virtually. I feel like we’re going to come back stronger, and have more gratitude for theater and the theater community, especially after all this time to get to know each other better. May we all be back on the boards soon!
This article first appeared on Broadway World.