A Robot Learning to be Human: An Interview with Jon Mourant

To get ready for the virtual edition of One Night Stand: A Series of Readings Focused on the Development of New Works on Thursday, June 11th at 7pmwe’ve interviewed Jon Mourant, co-ordinator, host, and Launchpad alumni.

Jonathan Mourant photo

Jonathan Mourant

Q: Jon! Tell us a little bit more about yourself and some of the things you’ve written.
A: I use the term “trans-disciplinary artist” which translates to improviser, playwright, drag performer, producer, and whatever other job I feel like taking on. My favourite phrase to describe myself is as a “robot learning how to be human,” which connects in a lot of ways to what I write and the ways I approach them! I’m fascinated and somewhat obsessed with how I see myself and how other people see me – both negatively and positively. In my writing I try to interrogate how personal relationships often force someone to come face to face with who they are, either because the company they keep holds them back or challenges them to be better.

Q: I know you were part of the Launchpad team this past year, can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
A: Launchpad hands down changed my life. It was my first time working on a project that was dedicated to women, trans, and non-binary artists, which fundamentally changed the way we worked. The creation of our show “To Kill a Lizard” was incredibly collaborative, with each participant taking on a piece of writing and directing while also performing in the show. There isn’t a moment of that show that wasn’t touched in some way by every single participant in the room.

Q: What drew you to playwriting in the first place?
A: I started playwriting in high school when I wrote 30 Rock spec scripts to perform in front of the school once a month. I found a joy in creating stories and characters, and more than anything building a world and defining its rules. To me, playwriting is the power to make anything real, and with that comes a sort of freedom that you don’t find anywhere else.

Q: What are you most looking forward to during next week’s edition of One Night Stand?
A: The most exciting thing to me is finding new discoveries in the work. I can’t wait for the moments where a playwright hears their work and thinks “Oh, I know what to change.” That’s the best feeling in playwriting and I hope that every playwright experiences it at the reading.

Q: Do you have any advice for emerging playwrights?
A: It’s cliché but be yourself. Something I’m always reminding myself is that I’m not trying to write someone else’s story or in someone else’s voice. I’m writing my play, and I need to trust that the best way to do it is the way that I do it.

This event will be livestreamed on our Facebook Page and will feature the following actors: Dylan Hatcher, Ady Kollar, Matt Paris-Irvine, Riva Billows, and Cheryl Soluk. Just a reminder: if you want to give verbal feedback to the playwrights we ask you to click “going” on the Facebook event page (we only have five spots left!), otherwise you can leave written feedback on our Facebook page, where the event will be livestreamed. We’re so excited to see these plays come to life – virtually, of course!

 

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