Five Questions with Jonathan L. Green

Name: Jonathan L. Green
Title/Occupation: Artistic Director
Organization/Company: Sideshow Theatre Company
URL: http://www.sideshowtheatre.org/home.html

1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?

I grew up in Ashland, Virginia that is a little railroad town about fifteen miles north of Richmond, Virginia. Ashland’s motto is “CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE” and it’s a tiny town. It was built in the late 1800’s…1870’s or 1880’s, I’m not sure; but the town was built around a railroad track, so the train runs right down Main Street. And the train station is still there and it’s still functioning but it’s also a visitor center for the town.

It’s one of the few remaining segregated train stations of course you are allowed to go where every you want in it now, but it’s built as a mirror image of itself there are two identical halves…and it’s…creepy. But its architecture is really interesting.

And then I went to college at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and then after I graduated I moved to Chicago with a couple of friends and soon after we started Sideshow Theatre Company.

2. Which performance, song, play, movie painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?

Happiness directed by Todd Solondz. I still remember the first time I saw it, and it really struck me and it continues to moves a lot of the work that I do. Um. In terms of a mix of really pathetic people and human comedy. Camryn Manheim in particular stands out. It’s hard to like any of the characters because of their brutality…but I guess I connect with her because I killed MY Hispanic doorman, I mean it was in college but…

3. What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why?

I would like to be a better impromptu public speaker because I think a lot when I talk and that usually ends up with me sort of stuttering and pausing when I speak.

4. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.

I’m the Director of Audience Services at Lookingglass Theatre Company. I wake up in the morning and I go to the gym and then go to work and then usually I have a rehearsal or something right after work and then go home and out with my friends. The mornings when I wake up around 7 o’clock is really the only time my roommate and I see each other. We all have early schedules and then we’re out ‘till all hours so we see each other for about ten minutes in the morning to check in and that’s it.

5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?

Well, Chicago is an affordable enough city that I’m able to have a day job at a cultural institution and also do my own artistic work and that’s why I chose Chicago. I think that this is a place that I don’t often have to choose between Art and Surviving. Although certainly if I didn’t have to have a day job I could be doing a lot more Art. I’m still able to do enough of it to where I’m feeling fulfilled…and inspired.

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