Jordan Willis is making his directorial debut with Churchmouse Productions’ The Watch by Trace Crawford at the 2014 Festival of Independent Theatres (FIT). Willis has become a well-known and well-liked actor in Dallas over the past several years so we stole a few moments of his time to ask some questions about the experience of transitioning to the other side of the director’s table.
What drew you to the project?
I love the rich world these two characters live in. Every time I read the script, something new jumps out at me. That’s what I find so fascinating about it.
How has it been directing for the first time?
It’s been a great joy bringing this script to life. Both characters are very intelligent. They think, they reason. They each have different motives and come to different conclusions, but they relate on the basic level.
Of course, getting to work with two amazing actors (Chad Cline and Jared Culpepper) who also happen to be friends of mine is a bonus too. Their input and work has been a huge contribution to this show.
We hear the word “faith” mentioned in reference to this script with some frequency. What does that mean and would you say your faith is reflected in the show?
I maintain that my beliefs have a hand in everything I do, but that’s not always obvious. I believe murder is wrong, for example, but if I had the chance to portray a murderer onstage I wouldn’t necessarily say no. There are those who share some of my beliefs who don’t understand that. Am I compromising my integrity? I don’t believe so.
I was raised to believe in God. My parents have very specific beliefs, and did a very good job (in my opinion) on teaching me why they believe what they do, and yet still instilling me with the conviction of figuring things out for myself. That’s the core of my beliefs, and it has served me very well.
That’s the biggest part. Each person has to figure it out on their own. I’m a huge proponent of the futility of evidence. That’s why there are so many belief systems out there today. Scholars have been arguing these ideas for centuries, and while they may convince a handful of people, the world at large is still divided on many issues.
Bringing this into the show, I wanted to avoid a dragged out argument on origins and belief systems. I think we get enough of that in the world today. Argument isn’t the core of this piece. I did want to focus on the varying belief systems of this microcosm. These characters are forced to co-exist in this world to find a solution to their problem, all on their own. They relate to one another in their intrigue and in their reasoning, while at the same time having different ideas of who they are and what their purpose is.
Who couldn’t relate to that?
|Pegasus Theatre presents a Churchmouse Production of The Watch by Trace Crawford at the 16th Annual Festival of Independent Theatres, July 11–Aug. 2, 2014. Festival passes and individual tickets on sale now. Call 1-800-617-6904.|