Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meet Fip: Actor Ben Gettinger

When reading Mouse in a Jar for the first time, what are some of the first images or words that resonated with you?
Dampness, mold, meat, blood, puss, scars, and stench.

Mouse is a new work, has that changed how you approach the script?
Yes. Everyone is intensely engaged, discovering how to bring this piece to life for the first time. It's not like doing an established play, where we ask ourselves what's our take on this piece? What else has not been touch upon? Other than the well known themes, what facets do I want to bring to light? In a new piece I am obliged to ask myself on a deep level and really search to find, what is this at it's core? It is just not as clear, because it has not been done before and there is a greater responsibility to find it.

What feels like the greatest challenge for you in this play?
The writing is highly stylized, the cadence so unique, and the suffering is layered so richly; A world is created which is unreal, dark, but surprisingly beautiful. Because my imagination runs rampantly I can easily be swept up by the world and start playing my character, Fip, very obscurely. Almost too obscure for anyone to relate to. The challenge is to exist in this abstract world, while playing the real emotional undertones that will connect with the audience and help ease them into this strikingly different environment.

How would you characterize the world of the play?
A festering, moldy sausage locked in a basement oozing its acrid grease over a handful of innocent human souls, corroding all sense of the word, purity.

Have you learned anything new so far in this process? (about you, about your character about the world)
Yes definitley. There are a lot of street kids that migrate into Chicago in the summer. I would always just look at them as dirty, wandering, begging hippies, who can't get over thier ideals enough to just get a job. However, now I am playing one of these punks in a play and after researching the lives of runaways I understand why they do wander aimlessly. They come from broken homes and have suffered immensely from all froms of abuse. I came from a practically perfect, loving american family. For me it is easy to adere to the starndard of living that my society would classify as normal. It's really sad because they just have not been conditioned to function in the adult world. By making the effort to investigate the lives of those that are extremely adverse to that of my own, I have discovered new areas of understanding and empathy in my being. I am much more likely to toss some money into their hats on the street.

Mouse in a Jar runs October 5-31, 2009
Tickets are available through our website.

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