James Kautz continues his rise as an actor and as Co-Founder and Artistic Director of The Amoralists Theatre Company. I first interviewed James last year when he starred in Dedalus Lounge alongside Anthony Rapp and Dee Roscioli. Now James is back on stage in The Amoralists production of Lyle Kessler's Collision.
In Collision chance encounters prove calculated when three students, a professor, and a stranger come together in this incendiary black comedy. Set in a college dormitory somewhere in the heart of America, this band of incongruous intellectuals with hidden scars embarks on a dangerous course to create order out of chaos. Their united moral compass will guide them to the edge of the cliff…and beyond. What happens when all the wrong people meet at exactly the right time?
1. Last time we spoke, you were starring in Dedalus Lounge with Anthony Rapp and Dee Roscioli. Now you are starring in your theatre company's production of Lyle Kessler's Collision. What made you want to be in this production? When I was in scene study class with Terry Schrieber, years ago, I worked on Lyle's play Orphans. The heartbreakingly weird world that he created, the deep longing characters, it really resonated with me. When David Van Asselt at Rattlestick brought me Collision for The Amoralists to consider, I couldn't believe here was a chance to work on a new Kessler play. It was a no brainer.
2. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Collision? Without giving away the play, I'll say that the subject matter, and the journey these characters go on is a pretty scary one, especially in this time in this country right now. I hope the audiences leave with some conflicted yet heartfelt conversations to be had.
3. What do you identify most with about your character? I've always felt we ARE our characters, pushed to different extremes, shaped under different pressures. We're all of them. And we're none of them.
4. What excites you about working with Lyle Kessler, both as an actor and as the artistic director of The Amoralists? Haha. I think I already answered this one....
Lyle's a restless man, at least in the rehearsal room. He's always digging and determined to make words and actions and moments make emotional sense. That's exciting to be around.
5. What are you looking forward to about working this cast? I've worked with Nick Lawson so many times at this point we can basically do anything to each other on stage and feel safe. I tend to put that boy through hell. Hahaha. This is the first real time I've worked with Anna, though she's been in a bunch of Amoralists plays. She's got heart the size of a Buick. Michael is our rock. He walks on stage and we become grounded. Mums is mercurial and dangerous. You're never certain which way he'll go in a scene. He's always upping the stakes. Keeps you on your toes. It's an electric cast. I'm happy to be a part of them.
6. Collision is about a group of people, 3 students, a professor, and a stranger who all come together to find order amongst the chaos of their hidden scars. If you feel comfortable, what are some of your hidden scars and how have they empowered you? I'm afraid of letting people in. I'm afraid they'll leave me once they're in. Enter: The Amoralists.
7. What separates The Amoralists from other theatre companies? We're growing and evolving. Like every other business, we have to look at the financial climate we're operating in. We try to make the most sound decisions in that regard. But honestly if we want to do something we'll do it. We don't say no to our gut. As scary and seemingly impossible as some choices can logically seem in the moment, we still follow our guts. We've built a tribe of artists who share that sensibility. Never say die kinda thing.
8. Out of everything The Amoralists have done so far, what are you most proud of and what would you like to improve on? I'm proud of who we are as a people and the choices we make. They've always been on our terms. We've missed some opportunities into the mainstream along the way, as a company and as individual artists. We've rushed into things. I'm not always happy about that in hindsight. We've perhaps not had the financial support in place to capitalize on successes like others with more coin could have. But we are us. And every victory and failure is fuel for the future. We learn. And we are true to ourselves. We are always at a new beginning. I'm proud of that. I'm excited by that.
9. If you could premiere anyone's play with your dream cast, who would you choose? Some unearthed gem by Albee would be pretty amazing for our Ensemble. We're got great love for the throwbacks.
10. What are your hopes for The Amoralists in 2013 and down the line? Stay livin. Stay together. Stay creating.