Jessica Burr of “This is Modern Art”

Blessed Unrest presents THIS IS MODERN ART, written by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, directed by Jessica BurrListen in as Jessica Burr, Artistic Director of Blessed Unrest and director of the company’s new production of This is Modern Art, discusses grabbing opportunities when they’re presented, how they “bombed” (graffiti-style) their set, getting invited into “the institution,” the company’s mission and what they’re up to next, the importance of having an incredible team, and “who gets to decide what art is, and where it goes.”

“…we decided that [it] had to be true to the act itself, in that it needed to be difficult, it needed to be physical, and there needed to be time pressure…and it needed to be fun, and we needed to be able to play loud music.”

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Jessica Burr of “Platonov, or, A Play with No Name”

Blessed Unrest presents PLATONOV, or, A Play with No Name, translated and adapted by Laura Wickens from the play by Anton Chekhov, directed by Jessica BurrListen in as Blessed Unrest Artistic Director and director of Platanov, or, A Play with No NameJessica Burr, discusses the company’s staging process for the round, adapting early Chekhov, finding the humanity in “dreadful” people, putting the audience in the world of the characters, sleepless nights thanks to blocking, and the similarities between this 140-year-old play and our current world.

“…I guess for me, ultimately, I don’t go to the theatre to see Platonov, or to see Hamlet. I go to the theatre to see actors, to see human beings being exposed…that’s really what I want to see. Of course it’s story, it’s narrative, it’s context, but it’s really about the humans, we put these humans in this situation, and we watch and see what they do. And hopefully we learn from them.”

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Jessica Burr & Nancy McArthur of “The Snow Queen”

Blessed Unrest presents THE SNOW QUEEN, written by Matt Opatrny, adapted from the story by Hans Christian Anderson, directed by Jessica BurrListen in as director Jessica Burr and performer Nancy McArthur (“Gerda”) of Blessed Unrest‘s original adaptation of The Snow Queen discuss how the company came to create a show geared toward young people, working with 10-year-old collaborators in the rehearsal room, “dulling as we age,” Blessed Unrest’s devising techniques, the importance of having your designers involved all through the process, workshops on devising & physical theatre (2/13–3/6), and why kids can be the perfect audience for abstract storytelling.

“…for me, it’s the story of a really courageous young girl, who displays her power in a way that is actually very feminine…she isn’t violent, she doesn’t have to fight for what she wants, in fact she’s really smart…”

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Matt Opatrny, Damen Scranton, and Jessi Blue Gormezano of Blessed Unrest’s “A Christmas Carol”

Blessed Unrest's "A Christmas Carol" photo by Alan RocheA Christmas Carol is produced everywhere, every year; so often that most of us in the theatre world could recite the lines along with the actors. We know exactly what we’re going to see, and willingly submit to having our heartstrings plucked by the familiar story of one man’s awakening to the Christmas spirit.

Blessed Unrest‘s A Christmas Carol is not one of those productions — though the story is familiar, the way of telling it is not. And this Scrooge’s awakening…well, let’s just say it doesn’t end the way you’re used to. It’s emotional, and beautiful, in a way you probably haven’t seen.

Listen in as adaptor/playwright Matt Opatrny, multi-character actress Jessi Blue Gormezano, and the show’s Ebenezer, Damen Scranton, discuss how easy it is to change, building trust within the cast, bringing in a Lady Gaga dance number, why Blessed Unrest would do a play most of the company didn’t like, and what happens when Scrooge goes home, alone.

“I’m really glad I came. It’s always a risk with A Christmas Carol…”

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