BWW Interview: Jim Petosa and GOOD at Potomac Theatre Project
This season's Off-Broadway line-up at Potomac Theatre Project (PTP/NYC) includes a revival of C.P. Taylor's, Good, directed by PTP's Co-Artistic Director Jim Petosa. The show explores how the Nazis were made and it is being performed now through August 7th. Set partly inside the mind of a 'good' man, Professor John Halder, Good watches a normal German slowly succumb to the rising madness, slipping the bonds of family and friendship.
Jim Petosa is Director of the Boston University (BU) School of Theatre and the Artistic Director of the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, Ma. He serves as Artistic Director for the Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP), Boston University's professional extension. His PTP credits include Monster, Spatter Pattern, Therese Raquin, Somewhere in the Pacific (all by Neal Bell), A Question of Mercy, Marisol, Dog Plays, Statements after an Arrest and Good.
Broadwayworld.com had the fascinating opportunity to interview Jim Petosa about his career and the PTP/NYC.
Tell us about your earliest interest in theatre.
As a kid, I was fascinated by classical music. It wasn't til high school that I chanced into an opportunity to participate in a theatre production as an actor. The challenge and impact of that experience led me to think that this was worth spending a lifetime doing. While my primary fascination was ultimately as a director, my appreciation for the possibilities of this art form has never diminished.
We love to know a little about your educational background.
Like most theatre people, my education was both academic and professional (and ongoing!). Formally, I spent four years as an undergraduate drama major at Catholic University in Washington, DC and returned for two years there as a graduate student of Theatre History and Criticism.
Who were some of your important mentors?
So many! Bill Graham, Sr. (Who passed a few years ago) powerfully impacted my notion of acting and theatre. Russell Metheny is a scene designer and overall theatre maker who had a huge impact on me. Outside of theatre, Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, James Parks Morton taught me what a mission driven organization means, and Dr. Larry Bruni, an MD taught me about the requirements of tenacious humanity in the face of unspeakable challenge. I'm a big believer in collaborative relationships that produce bodies of work over time. My PTP/NYC collaborations with Richard Romagnoli and Cheryl Faraone represent a history of work that spans close to 40 years now. We continue to grow each other up at every opportunity.
What obstacles in the business you have had to overcome?
Self-doubt. Shyness. Both, ultimately a product of lack of generosity. Once you realize that you can overcome both obstacles.
How does teaching compliment your career?
Teaching is an attempt to articulate things you know, things you think you know, and, most importantly, things you think may be true that require investigation to find out more. Doing that with faculty colleagues and students is most rewarding. Teaching provides a laboratory that fuels the work in the profession. The work in the profession fuels the curiosity of experimentation in the laboratory. Scientists have been doing this for years. It's great when artists do it, too!
What would you like our readers to know about PTP.
That a theatre company can exist for many decades in a way that keeps the curiosities of its artists at the forefront of its reason to be. That there is a way to defy pandering and while the road is not without challenge, it can be a treasured touchstone for theatre makers and audiences. 30 years from its inaugural season, the work of the company seems no less vital today than when we started it in 1987.
For the future?
The future of theatre and our participation in it is most dependent on the world in which it takes place. Right now, it seems like we are having a national crisis of identity that is far from resolved. How we wrangle the questions of who we are, what we value, and what we aspire to be will be reflected in the theatre we make. Let's get to it!
PTP/NYC (Potomac Theatre Project) continues to redefine politically aware theatre for the 21st century by presenting theatrically complex and thought-provoking work of contemporary social and cultural relevance. Howard Barker is one of PTP/NYC's most produced writers, along with Caryl Churchill, Neal Bell, Sarah Kane and David Edgar. The company's writers are provocative, engaging and often confrontational. PTP was founded in 1987 by the artistic team of Cheryl Faraone, Jim Petosa and Richard Romagnoli who continue to run the company. Alex Draper is Associate Artistic Director. Since moving to New York in 2007, PTP/NYC has produced 19 main stage productions and numerous late evening readings, workshops and experimental theatre pieces in their After Dark series. PTP/NYC's 2013 New York premiere of Howard Barker's The Castle and 2008 production of Barker's Scenes From An Execution each earned Jan Maxwell a Drama Desk Award nomination.
Good is performed at Atlantic Stage 2, 330 West 16th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues. The schedule is Tuesdays - Sundays at 7pm, and Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. Because the schedule varies, for exact days and times visit http://PTPNYC.org. Tickets are $35, $20 for students and seniors, $17.50 for previews, and can be purchased online at http://PTPNYC.org or by calling 1-866-811-4111. Follow PTP/NYC on Twitter at @ptpnyc, and Like them on Facebook athttps://www.Facebook.com/pages/Potomac-Theatre-Project-PTP/32709392256.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jim Petosa