Friday, March 27, 2015

6 Questions: Daniel Alexander Jones

Daniel Alexander Jones, an award-winning inter-disciplinary theatre artist, is currently performing An Integrator's Manual in The Club at La MaMa, March 26-29, 2015. We asked Daniel about collaborating, staying open to your audience and performing at La MaMa.

1. When did you first begin developing An Integrator's Manual and what inspired you to begin the project?
I needed to begin a process of articulation. I had to say something about this moment in my country, about the place I find myself in, and about the conversations I am having with friends, colleagues, students spurred on by the horrific series of killings of black people that have gone largely without justice. This piece takes an odd road to get at some questions I have not been able to answer well on my own and others' paradoxical relationship to this history - and our places in it. An Integrator's Manual is very much that beginning, breaking the skin and exposing those questions and taking the first steps at sounding them out.

2. How does creating a performance that speaks to ongoing problems of integration in the US change your relationship to the audience?
My relationship to audience is a constant variable. By this, I mean, I know, always, that I will never know who shows up to be the audience on a particular night, or for a particular run. Much of my work is in the tradition of the theatrical jazz aesthetic; I approach each performance knowing that I must seek clarity of expression and direct connection with whoever comes to be part of the experience, whether the subject matter is charged or not.

3. The show was been described as 'part pop-quiz.' Can you tell us anything more about this element of the piece?
As this is the first sharing of this new work, and we will be continuing to develop it over the next year, I am eager to know of folks' experience of the work. It is grounded in the personal, as a way to get at relationship to the larger idea and experience of integration. I'm hopeful that it will invite others to consider the minute, personal, intimate ways the questions raised have operated in their own experience of this subject, from whatever vantage point or vantage points they have held.

4. How would you describe the nature of your collaboration with Will Davis? Are there specific ways you challenge each other?
Will Davis amplifies the light in others and exerts some kind of gravitational pull - the best ideas rise up around him. I feel utterly safe to try anything, whether is falls or flies. I know that Will intimately understands the process of building a living, breathing piece of art and is concerned with authenticity, clarity and presence. I think we both challenge one another to go to the heart of the matter. I am profoundly grateful to be in collaboration with this brilliant artist.

5. When did you know that you wanted a career in the arts?
I knew from a very early age. Making art was, and still is, the state of being where I feel the most alive and purposeful. I have always wanted to help alleviate suffering; turns out the way I was led to do so is through making and sharing art, which I hope feeds others' imaginations and senses of agency in some small but measurable way.

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
To step into the house that Ellen Stewart built is a watershed. To be able to take these first public steps at the invitation of Mia Yoo and Nicky Paraiso is evidence that there are still spaces dedicated to artists who want, and need, to explore.



La MaMa presents

An Integrator's Manual

Written and performed by Daniel Alexander Jones
and featuring Jacques Gerard Colimon
Directed by Will Davis
Dramaturgy by Kyla Searle

March 26th - 29th, 2015 - Four Performances Only!
Thursday - Saturday @ 7:30pm; Sunday @ 2pm

The First Floor Theater @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; Ten tickets prices at $10 each are available for every performance at part of La MaMa's 10@$10 ticketing initiative - advance sales only!

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE