The Play Typer Guy
The Play Typer Guy Podcast
BONUS: A New Look At Theatre, Casting, And Queering The Canon With Jasmine Joshua
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BONUS: A New Look At Theatre, Casting, And Queering The Canon With Jasmine Joshua

Some holiday entertainment!
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Seattle writer, producer, actor, and director Jasmine Joshua is an artist of many talents, and they’re currently performing their cabaret show Let’s Be Here at Aspire Repertory Theatre’s Black Box Theatre on Saturday, March 30, and Sunday, March 31.

I had the pleasure of working with Jasmine on the Alice in Wonderland-themed Curiouser and Curiouser event at Cafe Nordo. Last year, Jasmine and I discussed returning to live theatre more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as her exciting work at the innovative Reboot Theatre Company.

Download the podcast interview above and/or watch the YouTube video below. If you’re in the Seattle area, go see Jasmine in action. You’re bound to have a great time.


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Transcribed excerpts from our conversation:

JASMINE JOSHUA: [The Reboot Theatre’s] mission is to test new interpretations of established work through non-traditional casting design and methods yet to be discovered, which gives us a very large loophole, which is great, and yeah well basically essentially what we do that has always been the mission and that has always been what our focus has been but I think that as we have settled into ourselves and we’re coming up on our 10 year anniversary which is wild, we basically are queering the canon.

That’s kind of what it's ended up being, but we basically take a look at, as I mentioned, established works and we mostly do musicals and we look at how context, at what point does context break the story?

So the first show that we did was 1776 and we did, we produced, it was actually the first in the country … first all-female 1776 full production because there had been concert versions but no one had ever done a full production before and we did it in 2015 and at the time it was all-female although since then a couple of us have come out as non-binary so which makes total sense …

So we did 1776 and, you know, for years afterward, people were like, man, you know, after the first five minutes, it did not occur to me that you all weren’t men. So this is reality.

And if you are able to transcend that and still understand the story and still know what’s going on, well, what else? If I can do that with Ben Franklin, why not Harold Hill, right? Why not, you know, Audrey? Why not Sweeney? Why not anyone?

I didn’t even play John Adams as a non-binary person. I just played John Adams. I dressed as a man would in the time. And, you know, for all intents and purposes, it was a very traditional production of 1776.

We didn’t do anything wild beyond the fact that we weren’t the gender of the characters. You know, actually, our Martha Jefferson, like …. my friend Lisa played Martha and she is Jamaican.

And we kind of did that a little bit on purpose to the sense of like, yeah, like that was our kind of tip of the hat to the fact that Thomas Jefferson is and was kind of a frigging pig.

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JASMINE: The language of Alice in Wonderland … you did such a beautiful job bringing so much of the book into the play which I think we don’t really normally really see. We generally know it and then you know especially when you think of like the Disney cartoon like they use like some of the lyrics but it was like put into song or but it didn’t have like the true, like, twisted, weird stuff that is in this book.

And even if you know Alice in Wonderland, I bet you, you don’t know some of these kind of cool, quirky things that are in it. And I love that those were in it, but it’s weird poetry.

SER: It’s very, it’s very weird. And, you know, one of the challenges, it’s very much person walking into rake. So at first, that’s a style of thing that’s very tough for me Well, this person walks to a rake and goes and walks to a different rake and that was sort of how the books are structured because they’re mad.

So trying to find some way of fixing that, and I think we succeeded in just finding some way of making that work. I think also the benefit from the actors, I mean, going modern happened with the great actor Rebecca Cort … immediately when she came in and the same with Jackie Miedema, I was like, oh yeah, we don’t have to do English Accent Theatre. And oh my God, the great Bo Mellinger.

JASMINE: I mean what a cast, I mean really and I think a lot of it was like we were all kind of like all right well that didn’t work and …. we always said like okay we can go to the writers, like you were always very open like yeah like let’s talk about it but I think that you know for me the fun of being a director and especially because I come from Reboot culture, because I can’t contact those writers. Because if we can fix it in the room, that’s the fun, that’s exciting.

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The Play Typer Guy
The Play Typer Guy Podcast
"The Play Typer Guy” offers an engaging deep dive into politics and pop culture. Your host is Portland, Oregon-based playwright, columnist, and media critic Stephen Robinson. His son describes him as “play typer guy."