JCCC’s theatre department recently put on the show ‘Defying Gravity’ I talked to two actors, Courtney Honors and Travis Hampton about their character and some more insight into the story.
(Honors) “Defying Gravity by Jane Anderson is essentially about the 1986 Challenger when they were launching a teacher up in to space for the first time. It basically just follows all these different people coping with the fact that something went so wrong and what does that mean for them, and what they want for their life and just the meaning of life in general.”
(Honors) “My character is Elizabeth she’s the daughter of the teacher whose getting launched up in space and the play she sort of her six-year-old, five-year-old self and also her adult self-reflecting on it,”
(Hampton) “I played Claude Monet, which is a weird character within the terms of this play because it revolves around the events of the Challenger disaster, but Claude Monet was a painter form the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. Early on I did a lot of research about the real Claude Monet and learned about impressionism and that school of painting and how it was brought into existence by him and his comrades so you know I kind of dove deep into the art history of it all.”
(Hampton) “This play is definitely very weird I love the fact that it is a concept play so rather it being an event driven play it’s driven by themes and ideas.”
With such a unique story and structure to this play, there had to be a lot of preparation and research by the cast to truly understand the characters and their intent .
(Honors) “A lot of her scenes aren’t really with anybody else it’s just monologue to the audience so that was weird and difficult to know exactly what she wanted and what she meant but just reading the entire play and knowing exactly what the whole play was saying felt easier because that’s what Elizabeth was trying to tell everybody too.”
(Honors) “I love reading the script and having it slowly start to make sense as a whole story as that.”
With safety being taken care such as hand sanitizing stations, socially distanced seating, and no contact between actors, those working on the play got to have some creative fun with the space they were given
(Hampton) “We had to go in and set up these lighting trees on each end of the stage and then hang lights that way because there was no other way to do it, so the designers for the show just had to be really creative in how they could get across a spectacle in such a contained space but I think they did a really good job of making the most out of the space that we had I mean we even used the hill going up the, going up into the parking lot, the complications ended up turning out to be advantages in the end.”
(Hampton) “I just loved the atmosphere and there are a million factors in each show, if a plane flies overhead, that is only there that night in that moment, or if you know the wind if going crazy while someone is ramping up in a monologue the wind has a huge gust and dies down at the beat change, those are things you don’t see when your inside of a theatre but the environment can influence the work in a way and I think that’s just what’s so cool about being able to perform in an outdoor space.”
Reporting from The Campus Ledger, this has been Paige Winters.