Meet the Europeans – Jen O’Connor

Jen joined Whistler for our inaugural production of Howard Barker’s The Possibilities. She has been a Company Member for the past six seasons and was most recently seen in Tales From Ovid. For The Europeans, Jen is playing Katrin, a citizen who has been horrifically wounded by the invading army.

Who are you? Where are you from?

My name is Jen O’Connor and I have been a Massachusetts resident for most of my life. Although when people ask me where home is I tell them Newfound Lake NH.

Have you worked with Whistler before?

I went to Whistler in the Dark’s first auditions for their production of Howard Barker’s The Possibilities and I never looked back. With Whistler I’ve performed in ten productions, produced one (also a Barker piece, A Hard Heart), and stage managed for the first time last season for Daniel McIvor’s In on It. I also work on the company’s publicity, and with our subscribers.

How did you get involved with The Europeans?

Last season when Whistler was invited to participate in 21 for 21, a 24 hour international celebration of Howard Barker’s works, Meg suggested that we choose one of Barker’s plays that we would love to do someday, but that right now seemed like too massive an undertaking to make a reality- and she told me and a few others to look at The Europeans.

We said yes and on October 21st, 2010 took part in a staged reading.  After the reading some audience members asked when we would stage it for real, followed by a few actors telling Meg that Whistler needed to raise the funds, find the means, do whatever it takes to take on The Europeans in a fully realized production the following season. So here we are this season bringing you our production of The Europeans!

For the reading I took on the roles of some of the wonderfully fascinating ensemble characters. For our production in February I am playing Katrin. It has been such a pleasure and challenge to work on this play and I’m looking forward to sharing it with our audience.

What, to you, is the most exciting aspect of The Europeans?

It’s thrilling that we are doing it. Howard Barker is a challenging playwright and you always go into a process with one of his plays knowing you have a lot of work ahead of you. The Europeans has been one of those processes where I am living, eating and sleeping with it. Every rehearsal is charged with an energy to play and learn more about the world we are discovering. It has been a challenge figuring out who Katrin is and whether I am in the rehearsal room or at home there is constant discoveries happening. It’s exciting knowing that there is always more to be investigated.

What’s your favorite rehearsal overheard so far?

There have been many great overheards in rehearsal room, but my favorite development in the overheard world for this process has been that now when something is said that really raises an eyebrow in the room someone inevitably shouts out, “can that one be used on our facebook status?”

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