By Winter Davis MBA/MFA Candidate Theatre Management
When you first envisioned this project, what expectations did you have?
Jeff Perry: All my life, I have been bound by scripted materials. So when Joanne (Cal Rep Artistic Director) asked us to head up the last show, Alex and I talked about how to approach the piece for at least two weeks.
Alexandra Billings: At least!
JP: The security and limitations that come with a script were too safe for the work the actors had been doing. As actors you face limitations a lot, I suppose all artists do, but there isn’t any reason to be scared. So we decided to create an original piece with the actors and their experiences.
AB: Really we had nothing, we had no ideas, we had air, so the piece and our expectations came out of thin air.
What types and styles of work inspired the creation of Out of Thin Air?
JP: I met Alex through her multiple works with Tina Landau (Viewpoints Expert). Alex has done a million things before, but I just love her work with Viewpoints. The first time I was really introduced to Viewpoints was as a fellow cast member to Alex. After the show, I began summer school and found that in my teaching, Viewpoints imparted all the values that I had grown up with. It is a profound tool. It is an exercise that doesn’t exclude anyone’s training. It is training that isn’t exclusive, it follows being in the moment, following your instinct, playing, and the results are gorgeous.
AB: The work comes from your soul, spirit, your imagination. The great thing is when you ask the question about style, Viewpoints encompasses everything, really everything.
JP: Yeah, yeah. I think Alex and I found that. She said something great one night, “I love Joan Crawford and Tina Landau, and I love them for the different things they bring to the table and it’s a love of a kind of oral collage,” it’s a collage of things from People Magazine and to the Bible.