Jonathan Alexandratos | Ingram New Works Playwright
As we gear up for our annual Ingram New Works Festival (happening May 4-14, don’t miss it!), we want to introduce you to our three 2015-16 Lab Playwrights: Jonathan Alexandratos, Helen Banner, Edith Freni, and Kyle John Schmidt. Since October, our lab playwrights have gathered here in Nashville each month with our Resident Playwright Nate Eppler to create, critique, read and write… and rewrite. Mainly to rewrite. And now the final product is almost here! Their months of hard work will be realized with our incredible Nashville actors giving staged readings of their new plays for you, our wonderful audience. So before you come to the Festival, we want you to get to know our 2015-16 Lab Playwrights. Please meet Jonathan Alexandratos.
What is your favorite thing about Nashville so far?
Jonathan: There's a Batman Building! I wish I could see older buildings by the same architect, but I hear its parent structures are no longer around. Oooh, too soon?
What do you think of Nashville actors?
Okay so lemme call some people out: Elizabeth Davidson? I don't know how she can walk into a room, apply her talent, and just become a character so fully, so on-the-spot, that it makes your head spin, but my jaw hits the floor every time I see her act. Britt Freakin' Byrd is a literal superhero. Like, her superhero name is Britt Byrd. I'm pretty sure I don't know her real name. Her superpower is acting the heck outta any part and dispensing smackdowns like a soap dispenser pumps out Dial. These are profiles of just two of the actors that have been developing this piece since late 2015, and everyone involved is on their level. Their feedback, intelligence, and talent has created this play. I've done the typing. Nashville actors have brought the characters. I'm in awe.
How is this different than your usual process?
I wore pants for most of it. That's new. Also, I reshaped this play each month since September of 2015. That's also new. But, much like wearing pants, I was inspired to do that by the amazing intelligence I was surrounded by in Nashville. The willingness of my colleagues to dive into my material gave me such motivation to keep turning over new rocks with this piece. Finally, now, I feel like I've said something about my family that I couldn't have fathomed when I began the play. It feels truer than anything I could have come up with, and I owe that all to the safe, smart environment created at Nashville Rep.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a playwright?
You know, growing up, I was going to be a lawyer. I was going to be a lawyer because, from ages 15-21, I thought people became one of two things: lawyers or doctors. I'm the type of person who would totally leave a sponge in someone, so I realized pretty quick I'd better choose "lawyer." I took the LSATS (bombed 'em) and worked as a paralegal (Fired! Twice!) and then asked myself what I'd be doing if I wasn't doing this. And that answer was "playwright." It's always been playwright, ever since I wrote my first spoof of a Star Trek episode in Sixth Grade. So what would I be doing if I wasn't a playwright? Nothing. Evaporating. My honest-to-God truest self is in the theatre, and I know that because I weeded out a lot of false selves to get here.
Describe one thing you are very excited about in your Lab play.
My Granny. And action figures. Those two things comprise, like, 90% of my world. And I know this question asked for one thing, but those two things are tied for first. If the words "Greek Granny" and "Superhero Action Figures" excite you like they excite me, then let's both g(r)eek out together at We See What Happen. Also you can totally use the bathroom during this play. Like, it's not even hard. Or awkward.
Jonathan Alexandratos is a New York City-based playwright. His work has been presented at the NY Fringe Festival (2012), the Last Frontier Theatre Conference (2013), the Pop Culture Association Conference (2013), and other venues. He has received commissions from the Abingdon Theatre Company and Truant Arts. An avid comic book and action figure fan, Jonathan is always looking for ways to combine comics and pop culture with the stage. His most recent play, Duck, uses comic book tropes to craft an animal allegory about the nature of abuse. This play was completed at Mission to (dit)Mars, a playwrights’ lab in which Jonathan is a member. Jonathan holds an MFA in Playwrighting from Queens College, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Beyond the stage, Jonathan co-programs Page 23, an academic literary conference centered on comics and pop culture that operates under Denver Comic Con. He is currently editing a collection of scholarly essays on action figures, which will be out late next year. Jonathan hides out at Queensborough Community College, where he teaches English. He also speaks Klingon.
About We See What Happen | May 5 & 12, 2016
Jonathan Alexandratos wrote a beautiful solo play about his grandmother’s immigration to the United States. But you won’t be seeing that play. Instead, Jonathan's grandmother is here to tell you how it really happened. Armed with the action figures Jonathan left behind in Granny’s basement and enough spanakopita to go around, Granny is going to set the record straight.
Ready to see We See What Happen and the rest of the new plays in our Ingram New Works Festival? Get all the details, and your tickets, here.