Jake Minter Interview by Jen Bush
Jake Minter is a talented actor of stage and screen. He is no stranger to working with The American Theatre of Actors. For their latest production, Dream on, Baransky! he will be sitting in the director’s chair. We had a chance to speak with Mr. Minter about acting, directing and this exciting production.
Mr. Minter’s creative process is careful and thorough. He holds the unique perspective of being an actor as well as a director which is beneficial for the cast. “For acting, my approach varies widely with each character. When it comes to directing, however, everything is quite meticulous: I love taking small sections at a time and really examining the truth in each scene. Knowing what it’s like to be the actor, I’ve tried to give an open and supportive environment to this cast. Experimenting and allowing ideas to flourish is critical in comedy, and in my opinion, can only give more life to each role.”
When doing a piece about psychotherapy, precautions have to be taken to ensure sensitivity. Mr. Minter concentrated on the character and his emotional journey. “I think a large piece of the comedy comes from how relatable Jonathan’s struggle really is. In the stressful world we all live in, the majority of us are now well acquainted with our daily anxieties and fears. Most of us have felt like Jonathan at some point: overwhelmed by our worries, desperately trying to maintain our lives, or just trying to figure ourselves out. It can be comforting and hilarious to see someone tango with their wildest dreams. I see all of the humor as a great way to access these serious topics with optimism. On a more serious note, I spent a lot of time discussing this with my wife Amber, who is our Creative Lead and also acting in the play, and we both thought it was really important to drive home Jonathan’s arc as a man getting in touch with his emotional awareness. Men face a lot of stigma when it comes to talking about their feelings, or seeking help for their mental health. We want the men watching the show to see that Jonathan’s actions have consequences throughout the play – he’s hurting a lot of the women in his life, but his willingness to take the steps to seek help allows him to come to his own conclusions about his behavior and how it affects others. Allowing himself to be vulnerable and seek help not only benefits him, but the people he cares about.”
While meeting the challenges of directing a new theatrical work, Mr. Minter made wonderful discoveries about the breadth of talent that his cast possesses. “I learned firsthand how talented all of my colleagues are! I’ve performed alongside many of them in various shows, Hamlet, Richard III, The Seagull – but this would be the first time I’ve had the privilege to direct them. Directing a new, original piece with music is an enormous challenge of uncharted territory: figuring out what works, finding the essence of the material. This cast met each obstacle with inventive enthusiasm, professionalism, and creativity!”
The consensus among the people involved in this production is that The American Theatre of Actors is a wonderful place to work and create. “I think many actors view ATA as a home-base, a way to hone the craft in the perfect spaces and really bring new work to life. Over the years I’ve built a network with a lot of the performers that have done shows here and it was wonderful to unite them with some new faces for Baransky! The history in the halls of ATA is quite special on its own and it never fails to attract passionate, dedicated, and wonderful actors. It’s a safe space to invent, create, and imagine.”
Mr. Minter will be sticking with the evolution of Dream on, Baransky! for a while and then he will be seeking further opportunities to be on the stage. Given his resume, casting directors would be lucky to have the opportunity to work with such a capable artist. “We may be mounting this show again in a few months! Other than that, some much needed rest, and it’s back to auditions for me!”