Spotlight Series: Meet Scott Jackson Who Discovered His Love of Acting After College


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.

Marc Valera, Scott Jackson, Amy-Helene Carlson in ALL MY SONS at Pacific Resident Theatre. Photo by Jeff Lorch

(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?

Terry Davis and Scott Jackson. Photo by Jeff Lorch

(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.

Scott Jackson and Richard Fancy. Photo by Jeff Lorch

(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?

Sean Patrick Flanery and Scott Jackson in “Trafficked." Photo courtesy Jackson

(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.



INTIMATE AND TWISTED - LOVE, THE STRINDBERG WAY

 

BONO AND THE EDGE WAITING FOR GODOMINO'S - two more shows at the Whitefire!

This very funny show originated at the 2017 Fringe and has moved to the Whitefire Theatre on Ventura Blvd, where it has two more performances.  Here is my coverage from last summer:  "While a parody of Beckett's Waiting for Godot that will appeal to all theater geeks, it's also a hoot for the general public in its spin around the recordings of U2, notable both for their great musicianship and their sometimes pretentious self-seriousness.  All the actors are wonderful, and the final twist that comes with the arrival of the longed-for pizza takes it to another level.  Do the bandmates finally find what they are looking for?"  Catch it on Saturdays at 10 pm to find out!

 

THE DANCE OF DEATH by August Strindberg, adapted by Conor McPherson, at the Odyssey Theatre

Jeff LeBeau, Lizzy Kimball and Darrell Larson in "The Dance of Death"

 

August Strindberg  is well-known for plays like The Father and Miss Julie, that depict a battle of the sexes so vicious that it could more accurately be called a cage match to the death.  These plays were ripped from his own pain, from his three failed marriages and the five children he ended up having no relationship with, from the terrible episodes of paranoia that afflicted him.  But it was not always so.

In 1875, aspiring writer August Strindberg met the love of his life, aspiring actress Siri von Essen.  Two years later they were married.  While their first child was stillborn, they went on to have three healthy children together, two girls and a boy.  Meanwhile, Siri was accepted into the acting company of the Royal Court in Stockholm, where she acted in the early plays of her husband's, among many others.  In early 1882, Strindberg stated his purpose: "My interest in the theatre, I must frankly state, has but one focus and one goal - my wife's career as an actress."  He followed up his early plays with a collection of short fiction, Getting Married, that advocated the equality of women so enthusiastically that Strindberg was sued for blasphemy by right-wing groups in Sweden.  (He was acquitted.)

What I really enjoyed about Ron Sossi's production of Strindberg's Dance of Death was that it captured this sense of deep love lost, of passion that has curdled into lingering disappointment.  In the play, Edgar (Darrell Larson) and Alice (Lizzy Kimball) are on the verge of their 25th anniversary.  Edgar is a Captain of the Guards, Alice is a former actress in Copenhagen.  They live in a converted prison facing the sea, where they have no friends in the village.  They've had two children, a boy and a girl, both of whom have gotten far away and have as little to do with their parents as possible.  Edgar and Alice have no more career aspirations, they have run through what money they had and have just lost their one servant, with little chance of attracting another.  Familiarity has indeed bred contempt, and they are depressingly familiar with every aspect of each other.  And yet, and yet, and yet - there is still love there.  Or at least the memory of it.

Into this impossible tangle comes Kurt (Jeff LeBeau), Alice's cousin and the person who first introduced her to Edgar.  He is the new quarrantine officer for the island and has come here "seeking peace" he says, after having lost his three children in a brutal custody battle.  What happens instead is that Kurt becomes a pawn in the war between Alice and Edgar.  As it turns out, cousins Alice and Kurt had a love affair which ended when Kurt got married; in fact, that was his purpose in introducing Alice to Edgar, to have him take her off his hands. LeBeau does a wonderful job in bringing Kurt to vivid life, especially as he falls more and more under the influence of cousin Alice.  He puts just the right comic spin on the character, while retaining the pathos of a dedicated family man who is lost without his children, whose only real sense of purpose comes from being the head of a family.

Lizzy Kimball and Darrell Larson, under Sossi's direction, are expert at mining all the dark humor they can find in the twists and turns of Alice and Edgar's epic battles.  They convincingly portray the strong bond of love and hate that still keeps them together but brings them no joy, that's a source of torment that still feels like home.  The McPherson adaptation brilliantly clears away all the local color of the time, the distracting minor characters and Strindberg's jabs at the legal codes of the day, to come up with a richly concentrated version of Strindberg's play, one that speaks vividly to contemporary audiences.

It also brings out with great clarity the enormous influence that this play has had on succeeding generations of playwrights.  There are echoes of Beckett, O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, and, most of all, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  All of this in the kind of intimate theater that Strindberg first conceived of in the early 20th Century - his was 160 seats, this one is 99, but the principle is the same.  And it provides a very intimate setting in which to get to know these deeply flawed characters in this deeply human dilemma.

For tickets, click here.