Trapped in Matt de Rogatis’ basement is Jillian Geurts in the American premiere of THE COLLECTOR at 59E59. She will be trapped there until just before Thanksgiving.
The Australian actress began her career working with award-winning Zen Zen Zo Physical Theater and touring internationally. She moved to NYC in 2012, where she amassed notable cred including The First Man (The New Natives), A Tale for Winter (Scranton Shakespeare Festival), Wrecks (Underling Productions), Three Sisters (Columbia Stages). She can be seen this month in Season Two of The Mind of a Murderer (Investigation Discovery), as well as the feature films Abnormal Attraction (w. Malcolm McDowell) and The Algebra of Need.
We sneaked in a few questions before her captor came home…
American premiere? That’s great! Tell us about the play.
The play is a sort of dark twisted love story. It’s two people who don’t understand each other and must exist together in incredibly tense circumstances. The fact that Frederick is keeping Miranda in his home by force sets up the story, but it sort of becomes just one element in a very strange relationship. We discovered during rehearsal that this play is about coming face to face with “the other” – A type of person you have never come into contact with and trying to learn from and deal with them. The play is driven by the two very different wants of these people, but that said, they are still deeply affected by each other.
We hear a lot about inspiration – or Muse – that drives an artist. What inspires you?
I’m inspired by challenging material, things that push me out of my comfort zone and my own experience. I want to make work that creates new conversations, work that’s relentless and different from the usual. There’s no one thing that get’s me going. I’m generally pretty interested in the darker side of humanity though. The stuff we don’t really like to talk about or we’re ashamed about.
What is your process for creating a character?
I do a lot of writing and journalling and building in an analytical sort of way and then throughout rehearsal, I try to bring all that information to the room and see how it plays out. I draw on myself as much possible. If a character is close to me in age and physical health, I work on smaller physical ticks, emotional history – like how does this person move based on her history, the path she’s had through life. It’s about making strong choices, but also choices that make sense.
What do you want most in your chosen profession? It’s OK to say “fame” or “wealth.”
Sustainability. Growth. Challenge.
Sally Field and Paul Newman both said of their profession… “it’s all I can do.” Is this all you can do?
There’s a lot of things I enjoy, but acting is what thrills me. I recently produced a play and I loved that too. I was in it too, so it was a crazy juggling act. So I think as long as I’m doing something to do with theater/acting/film, I’ll be happy.
Along those lines, if you couldn’t so this, what would you do?
I think I’d want to be working in the food / health industry. Or just an academic. Never leaving school ever.
How do you want [legit] history to remember you?
As someone who made things happen.