La MaMa Blogs: 6 Questions: Jon David Casey

Friday, November 4, 2016

6 Questions: Jon David Casey

603 comes to the La MaMa Galleria next week for five performances only.  Seating is extremely limited so advance purchase is strongly suggested.  Writer and performer Jon David Casey took time out of rehearsals for 603 to answer our 6 Questions:

1. What was the most interesting thing you learned about Doctor Wilhelm Reich in creating 603? 
I discovered Dr. Reich’s life and work reading RECORD OF A FRIENDSHIP, which was compiled of letters exchanged between A.S. Neil and Dr. Reich . I was immediacy taken with his brilliant mind, His revolutionary spirit and most especially with his discovery of the invisible life force he called Orgone.  In addition - I was fascinated by the 20 year pursuit of the FBI and ultimately the arrest of Dr. Reich by the FDA- and of course the censorship of his books and destruction of his inventions. 

2. You have been working on 603 for a while - how has it changed in the process?
It has been in development for 7 years. It was first presented at REDCAT in Los Angles - at its very beginning - at that time it was titled ACCUMULATOR - a 20 min showing where I performed in a tiny box. Over the following 5 years it was written and discarded many times - at one point it was 90 min long and after that phase of its development in LA I threw away 90% of the pages and began again. I workshopped it at AbronsArt Center under the direction of Janis Powel - who was an acting mentor of mentor of mine - following that - it at Dixon Place performing behind sheets of Plastic and collaborated with Noise Artist Bob Bellerue- I then met an artist Diana Puntar who ironically enough was also interested in Dr. Reich’s work - for about the same number of years. She had built an organ accumulator to spec with a plexiglass disco floor - growing Fungi beneath it - she was interested the notion of Utopian aspects of healing.  I performed in her sculpture at Blacjston Gallery own Ludlow Street. The next years I worked with Sophie Bprtiulusi as my director and Chris Akerlind as designer - this was a most productive period of investigation - re writing the text and uncovering the spine of the work in terms of space.  Sophie has a dance background and the work became extremely physical ....and at present I have been working the past year without a director - integrating many aspects and discoveries that I made with my many collaborators.  Simon Cleveland is lighting the project - MachineDazzle doing costumes and Bob Bellerue the noise. 

3. You use the term "psychological surrealism” to describe the work, what does that mean to you?
Ultimately the big surprise to myself was that my passion for Dr. Reich’s work and life while tremendous and authentic I realized that what I was ultimately rendering was a piece that vacillated between fact and fiction -- therefore the term - Psychological Surrealism seems accurate. So my thought is this if we go to a museum painting and look at a painting - we never ask ourselves - is that true or not true?  I guess Dr. Reich’s legacy is filled with such ambiguity and still today there is a velocity to a wide array of theories about him being a genius- who was a victim of a judicial murder as well as those who thought he was a crackpot. These things seemed to me to be in accord to my interests in terms of performance as well as sorting through my own fractured past......

4. Who inspires you?

5. What is the last good film/play/dance/book you liked?

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
Golly - it’s a big manful deal to me-- To have this long labored work have its world premiere at LA MAMA - a place on this earth that to me is hallowed ground- a safe refuge for ART with commercialism and all of its pressures.  Bob Brustien was a mentor of mine while I was a grad student at the ART - we had a class with him four hours each Thursday - and this was a conversation about theatre ....where we long actors learned to talk about the theatre - it was called REP IDEAL and one thing he would often say - articulating the distinction between commercial theatre and the REP theatre....was NYC is not a place one plane fruits and vegetables - it's where one goes to see suits and vegetables....this impressed me - and so to me this work was planted and bloomed outside of the constraints of commercial theatre--- and La MaMa  - to me is a garden.  So I couldn't be happier. 


La MaMa presents

written and performed by Jon David Casey

November 09 - November 13, 2016
Wedensday - Sunday at 8pm

La MaMa Galleria
47 Great Jones Street
(between Bowery and Lafayette Street)
New York, NY 10003 

Tickets: $15 Adults; $10 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

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