Two members of the cast of Jobsite Theater’s Hand to God, plus its director, joined us for a freewheeling video conversation about the sexually-charged comedy, onstage at the David A. Straz Center through March 14, and about what coming back to live theater – even on a limited-capacity basis – means to them.
For director David M. Jenkins, who’s also Jobsite’s artistic director, performance is … well, everything.
“I would literally rather eat dirt than do another digital show,” he said. “I can’t be more clear that that. They suck, they’re horrible. I would rather kick myself in the eye than watch a play on Zoom ever again in my life.”
The Jaeb Theatre, where Hand to God is being performed, seats 300 people. A tiny percentage is allowed in for each show, with cabaret tables and auditorium chairs spaced widely apart. Masks are required. Jobsite inaugurated this format last October.
“What we do is a live, emergent art form that can only exist with the interplay of bodies,” Jenkins added. “It can’t exist in a Zoom box … I’m a theater artist, not a filmmaker and not a digital content creator.”
Jenkins said he’s grateful that Jobsite’s affiliation with the Straz Center complex allowed him the opportunity to move into a bigger theater (the company’s regular home is the relatively small Shimberg Playhouse). “We totally understand that not everybody is in that position,” he added. “I can only worry about myself.”
The director, joined by cast members Nick Hoop and Katrina Stevenson, discussed Hand to God, best described as a disturbing dark comedy about a seemingly innocuous religious hand puppet that develops a mind of its own.
It’s loud, profane … and extremely funny. And do not be fooled by the puppet angle – Hand to God is not a show for children. You’ve been warned.
Click on the arrow to watch this vigorous roundtable.