Welcome to Artist Features—an offering from Now & Then that provides depth and insight into the work of our artists. For show info and tickets, visit our box office.

Meet Actor Jesse James Kamps

Jesse is performing in Lottery House by Angelica Howland, the next #newworkshop selection in Now & Then's 3rd season. Artistic Director John Perovich had a chance to speak with Aaron about his role and process for the workshop. Lottery House by Angelica Howland will be presented to audiences Friday, November 15 at 7:30PM and Saturday, November 16 at 11:00AM.

John Perovich (JP): Jesse, it's wonderful to have you back with us at Now & Then! You were a part of one of our very first workshops—Poe-ssessed! by Ron Peer. Welcome back! Can you share a bit about your character with us?

Jesse James Kamps (JJK): Jason is the production manager of "Lottery House"—brand new to the job and a last-minute replacement. He struggles to maintain his patience and composure with both the contestants and his employer. He finds the job requires quite a bit more acting skill than he originally expected.

JP: Not an easy job...not...at...all. Workshops are such a departure from a traditional rehearsal process. Please tell us a bit about your process as an actor. How has it been different for this workshop?

JJK: My process is fairly similar to most actors, I think. I tend to make a rough "charcoal sketch" early on based on the character's arc and use the rehearsal process to experiment with different choices in building the role and fleshing out the character. With a staged reading, you typically have an abbreviated process and Lottery House is no different. Since there is no blocking and we only rehearse for a week, my decisions tend to be made earlier in the process and 90% of them are vocal choices. That's the unique challenge.

JP: The way you've laid that out...that's very clear and thoughtful. I've never considered how so many of the choices really are vocal. You have an excellent stage voice, by the way...and for this character...well, I wish I could talk more about specific moments...alas—come see Lottery House! Final question, there are so many options for seeing theatre in the valley or staying at home to stream stuff. Why should audiences check out Lottery House?

JJK: It's an opportunity to see a play that is still evolving—which is very exciting. Rewrites are being made and risks are being taken each day of a process like this, ending with the reading. When audiences show up, the piece they will see will have just gone through an intensely collaborative process involving the playwright, a director, a dramaturg and the entire ensemble. 

JP: It takes a village to bring a new play together, and we've had a great team—so glad you could be a part of it! Don't miss the thrills, chills, and surprises at Lottery House!

Lottery House by Angelica Howland will be presented to audiences this Friday, November 15 at 7:30PM and Saturday, November 16 at 11:00AM. For info and tickets, click here.