164: Care of Community and Company with Jeff A.R. Jones, certified intimacy director

This conversation is teeming with content, strategies, and tips, so prepare to take notes! Jeff A.R. Jones and Lormarev Jones discuss the concept of care of Community and Company through the lens of Intimacy Direction, a growing field in both the theatre and film//television industries.  

BIO:

Jeff A.R. Jones has staged fights and/or intimacy for over 175 shows in theatre, opera, and ballet. His fights have received rave reviews in The Washington Post and The New York Times. He is a Fight Director, Certified Teacher, and Theatrical Firearms Instructor with the Society of American Fight Directors and a Certified Intimacy Director with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators. He is on faculty at Elon and William Peace University. Jeff is currently in the process of starting Triangle Intimacy Lab, a space to practice the craft of staged intimacy without the pressures or timeline of a production.

***

Since this recording, host Lormarev Jones was accepted into the Level 3 Certification Program with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators, which Jeff refers to as IDC in this interview. That work continues to be a life-affirming and career-affirming educational experience for her.

Content warning: there are mentions of staging scenes containing sexual assault. Nothing in detail, but it is mentioned a couple of times.  

IDC Website: https://www.idcprofessionals.com

***

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Transcript
Tamara Kissane:

This is Artist Soapbox.

Tamara Kissane:

Through interviews and original scripted audio fiction.

Tamara Kissane:

We deliver stories that speak to your hearts and your minds.

Lormarev Jones:

Greetings, Soapboxers..

Lormarev Jones:

I am delighted to share my interview with Jeff Jones.

Lormarev Jones:

As we discuss the concept of care of community and company through

Lormarev Jones:

the lens of intimacy direction, a growing field in both the theater

Lormarev Jones:

and film television industries.

Lormarev Jones:

Jeff AR Jones has staged fights and or intimacy for over 175 shows

Lormarev Jones:

in theater, opera, and ballet.

Lormarev Jones:

His fights have received rave reviews in the Washington

Lormarev Jones:

post and the New York times.

Lormarev Jones:

He is a fight director, certified teacher and theatrical firearms instructor with

Lormarev Jones:

the society of American fight directors and as certified intimacy director with

Lormarev Jones:

intimacy directors and coordinators.

Lormarev Jones:

He is on faculty at Elon and William Peace University.

Lormarev Jones:

Jeff is currently in the process of starting triangle intimacy lab,

Lormarev Jones:

a space to practice the craft of staged intimacy without the pressures

Lormarev Jones:

or timeline of a production.

Lormarev Jones:

Since this recording, I was accepted into the level three certification program with

Lormarev Jones:

intimacy directors and coordinators, which Jeff refers to as IDC in this interview.

Lormarev Jones:

It has and continues to be a life affirming and career

Lormarev Jones:

affirming educational experience.

Lormarev Jones:

I consider Jeff a great mentor and a close friend, a content warning.

Lormarev Jones:

There are a couple mentions of staging scenes containing sexual

Lormarev Jones:

assault, nothing in detail, but it is mentioned a couple of times.

Lormarev Jones:

Enjoy our chat.

Lormarev Jones:

Hello, Jeff, how are you doing this morning?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I'm doing great.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

How are you?

Lormarev Jones:

I am stellar.

Lormarev Jones:

So I'm so glad that you are able to talk with me today.

Lormarev Jones:

It feels like I have always known you, which is absolutely not true.

Lormarev Jones:

but I mean, I know I've been telling everyone that we're cousins for years,

Lormarev Jones:

but I was just, when did I meet Jeff?

Lormarev Jones:

And I don't actually know, I do know that.

Lormarev Jones:

Correct me if I'm wrong, you were the fight choreographer for Titus

Lormarev Jones:Andronicus in:Lormarev Jones:

Which so that means that's the first piece of work of yours that I saw

Lormarev Jones:

cuz Laura Bess is my best friend.

Lormarev Jones:

And she was Marcus, I believe.

Lormarev Jones:

And Jesse Gephart is a good friend and he was Titus.

Lormarev Jones:

So I don't know when we actually met, but I know at least when

Lormarev Jones:

I encountered your work and.

Lormarev Jones:

Wow.

Lormarev Jones:

That's a lot.

Lormarev Jones:

And I'm pretty sure I've told you that I fainted at that show

Jeff A.R. Jones:

yes.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yes.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You told me that.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I'm glad that, uh, I've had such an impact

Lormarev Jones:

before I even knew you.

Lormarev Jones:

I was like, wow, this guy.

Lormarev Jones:

Cool.

Lormarev Jones:

So, so glad you're here and glad that we're getting to talk about

Lormarev Jones:

this relatively new facet of theater making and consent and safety.

Lormarev Jones:

So I was wondering if we could begin with a brief description of what

Lormarev Jones:

an intimacy director's role is.

Lormarev Jones:

And then if you could talk a little bit about what your

Lormarev Jones:

preparation process looks like.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah, sure.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

The role of the intimacy director is to both stage scenes of intimacy and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

scenes of intimacy is a broad category.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Most people hear scenes of intimacy and they think.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Scenes of a sexual nature on stage, but it also includes it can include flirting.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It can include, definitely includes kissing, hugging any kind of

Jeff A.R. Jones:

physical touching that needs to have a, a sense of intimacy to it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It doesn't have to be romantic intimacy.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It can be familial intimacy.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It can be, can be violent.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So it spans a big umbrella of things.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And what we do is we bring tools and vocabulary.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

For how to stage those scenes safely.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

The other thing that we do is we act as an advocate for the people

Jeff A.R. Jones:

who have to perform those scenes.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So we follow the person who has to perform it, to make sure that they're

Jeff A.R. Jones:

not gonna experience any trauma while they're doing the performance, or

Jeff A.R. Jones:

they're not gonna have any callbacks or flashbacks to previous traumas

Jeff A.R. Jones:

while they're doing that performance.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and then we advocate for their needs with the director or producer

Jeff A.R. Jones:

or whoever it is ideally in a, in a very collaborative method.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And all of my experiences thus far have been very, very collaborative,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

but also knowing, you know, what, what sort of chains of command and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

reporting there are for accountability.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that's sort of the, the nutshell version of what intimacy director does.

Lormarev Jones:

So what does preparation for this work look like?

Lormarev Jones:

You know, I've done it a couple of times, but it's still very new to me

Lormarev Jones:

and very, I think I'm still in the place where over preparing quite a bit.

Lormarev Jones:

And so I wondered as someone with a bit more experience than me, what

Lormarev Jones:

does your prep process look like?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So for the general, what I would say first, you need to understand theater.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You need to understand what makes for dramatic action.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

How the body works, how the body tells a story, how you

Jeff A.R. Jones:

can tell story without text.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that I think is a big part of it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Understanding things like things like sight lines, understanding that

Jeff A.R. Jones:

if you set it up this way, nobody's gonna see it understanding where the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

line is between real and performance.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You can make something look real without it feeling real.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So understanding that performance is not life.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

People don't have to actually experience it to perform it

Lormarev Jones:

crazy.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I know what a concept then understanding, you know, concepts

Jeff A.R. Jones:

of choreography, how to adjust things like tempo and rhythm and, uh,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

directionality body line, stuff like that.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That just all is, you know, basic choreographic concepts.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then understanding how people respond to different impulses.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And how people engage in different impulses.

Lormarev Jones:

Yeah.

Lormarev Jones:

That is.

Lormarev Jones:

I understand what you're saying, but I, I would love if you would

Lormarev Jones:

expound upon that a little bit more.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So, so for example, if, if you reach out and touch someone's arm and it's an

Jeff A.R. Jones:

unexpected touch, They might, you know, flinch and pull their arm away, which is a

Jeff A.R. Jones:

very different story than if you reach out and touch someone's arm and they let your

Jeff A.R. Jones:

hand rest on their arm and maybe put their hand over top of your hand, which is sort

Jeff A.R. Jones:

of a more comforting, empathetic feeling together, kind of, you know, it's the same

Jeff A.R. Jones:

kind of touch, but that impulse reaction tells a completely different story.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And understanding even, even in that scenario, like how does

Jeff A.R. Jones:

one impulse inform another?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So if the, if the impulse is that sort of supportive gesture where the hand

Jeff A.R. Jones:

reaches out and, and touches the arm, generates the impulse in the other person

Jeff A.R. Jones:

to like put their hand on top of that hand and maybe even squeeze it right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

because that is the, the kind of response to that.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So where, where you get an impulse to do things, even the initial impulse, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If, uh, and I do an exercise in a lot of my classes where we have one person stands

Jeff A.R. Jones:

there and exists and another person walks towards them and looks for little micro

Jeff A.R. Jones:

adjustments in the body that sort of say like, oh, I have discovered a boundary.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And the first time you do.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

People walk up, like right up to each other and they sort of stand six

Jeff A.R. Jones:

inches away from each other's face.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And as you're watching it, you realize like, oh, this person like crossed seven

Jeff A.R. Jones:

boundary lines that they didn't identify.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so then you talk about like, what are the kinds of markers that

Jeff A.R. Jones:

you're seeing from the outside that, you know, the person's breath

Jeff A.R. Jones:

changes or their weight shifts, or they start to lean a little bit.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Or they, they start like, this is an odd one.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

People will start blinking really fast or their, their fingers will start

Jeff A.R. Jones:

sort of like squeezing in and out.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And once people start knowing what to look for, then like they

Jeff A.R. Jones:

start to go forward and they'll realize like, oh, I'm 25 feet away.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I'm hitting a boundary where the person feels like

Jeff A.R. Jones:

they need to do something.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

They need to address this person.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That's getting into their midst.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then we break the boundary and try to find the next one.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then we evolve it into a bunch of different things.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Trying to make the other person move while you're still at a

Jeff A.R. Jones:

distance, things like that.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And this is just stuff we experience in normal life that

Jeff A.R. Jones:

we tend to ignore on stage.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And that the sort of big example that I point to is like, if you're walking

Jeff A.R. Jones:

down the street and you see a person carrying a knife, the closest you will

Jeff A.R. Jones:

be is on the opposite side of the street.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Mm-hmm if you even continue towards them at.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But in a play, a character will see another character with a knife and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

they will walk right up to them and stand in their face and like present

Jeff A.R. Jones:

their chest, which is like, wait, what?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Like, why would you do that?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So trying to find where actual human impulses lie and explore that

Jeff A.R. Jones:

so that when you start trying to recreate impulses, you've got a

Jeff A.R. Jones:

sense of how to, how to explore them.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that's, that's what I mean by impulse work.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

so understanding, like what, what things generate other things and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

what directions they can take.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Because if, if somebody sort of moves towards you quickly, you

Jeff A.R. Jones:

might flinch back, but you might like set and prepare to receive.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You probably won't run forward immediately.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You might start back and then decide the best thing to do is engage.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But if you just start running forward, you've sort of denied the impulse

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that someone is charging at you.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So looking at those and they're all little, I mean, one of the things

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that I love about this work is it's like, it's choreographing the minutia.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that's what I mean by impulse work.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then once you've got all of that down, then it's the understanding

Jeff A.R. Jones:

of, uh, different forms of touch sort of on a spectrum of.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Familial or friendly up through sensual sexual.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And what does that look like?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

What does it mean?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then understanding what I would call sexual physical language

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and how it's, how it's different.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It's different for different people.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It's different for different identities.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So you have to understand when you get to that end of the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

spectrum, how do people have sex?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And there's not a single answer.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There's a ton of different answers.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But understanding all the different ways and that's, that's something I'm

Jeff A.R. Jones:

still, I am still learning tons about.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So I would say that is what I would say is the preparation

Jeff A.R. Jones:

to be a good intimacy director.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And people come at the work from a lot of different angles.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There's some people who come at the work from like a sex therapy background.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so they're interested in sexual safety on set.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

They're interested in proper representation.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Especially within the LGBTQ Q community, that, that the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

representation of sex is correct.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so they might come at it from that background and then they've gotta

Jeff A.R. Jones:

do the expanding within sort of the theatrical choreographic background.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So people come to it from different angles, which brings different

Jeff A.R. Jones:

things, which is, makes it great to collaborate with other folk.

Lormarev Jones:

I know that at least part.

Lormarev Jones:

Perspective that you're coming from is as a fight choreographer.

Lormarev Jones:

You know, you said that you're still sort of learning about what are the

Lormarev Jones:

different ways to have sex conversation.

Lormarev Jones:

Have you, have you discovered other, I don't wanna say blind spots, but

Lormarev Jones:

what pockets of knowledge did you sort of have to pick up on as you

Lormarev Jones:

were beginning to do this work?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

well, for example, there was a, there was a, an online

Jeff A.R. Jones:

workshop a few months ago that I could not fit into my schedule, unfortunately.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And it was an, it was a workshop on kink and BDSM, which I

Jeff A.R. Jones:

haven't needed that for a show.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Mm-hmm if I did, I don't know much about it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Mm-hmm so that's a space where I could definitely stand to have more learning.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah, I know a little tiny bit, but I don't know enough

Jeff A.R. Jones:

to actually stage something.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I do know there's a lot of actual consent practices that carry over

Jeff A.R. Jones:

from that, into our work that are actually really, really healthy.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So it has a lot of merit beyond just how people choose to

Jeff A.R. Jones:

choose to engage in pleasure.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Mm-hmm um, so like that's one that I'm signed up for one later in the month.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That's it's on that topic because that's where, like, I actually

Jeff A.R. Jones:

don't know a lot about this,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

so that kind of thing.

Lormarev Jones:

And so is that what drew you to this work?

Lormarev Jones:

What, and what excites you about it?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Like you said, came to it from a, a fight director background.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I was working on a show.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You encounter it sometimes in fight scenes, because if you're doing a

Jeff A.R. Jones:

show like extremities that has a sexual assault in it, you have to

Jeff A.R. Jones:

stage that as a fight director.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And back in the day, we just staged it and sort of told people what to do and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

where to go and where to put their hands and no sense of trying to make sure

Jeff A.R. Jones:

people were emotionally protected or safe.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Because it was all about just the physical work.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And we didn't think about what other safety needed to be in place.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

We were all about the physical safety and I became aware that I had worked with

Jeff A.R. Jones:

someone who had had a past experience and that the work we did had sort of

Jeff A.R. Jones:

reignited memories of that experience.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I, I, you know, didn't know it at the time, found out about a year later

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and was kind of, kind of crushed by it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That, that person had to experience that with me, leading

Jeff A.R. Jones:

them through that experience.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then I was working on angels in America, doing the fights for

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that and the director, Jeff Storer asked me to, he said, you know, you

Jeff A.R. Jones:

understand how bodies work together and how, you know, how movement works.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Can you stage the, the scene in the park where the two men

Jeff A.R. Jones:

have sex over the park bench?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I was like, well, I guess I can figure that out.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so I kind of figured it out and, you know, wish, wish I knew then

Jeff A.R. Jones:

what I know now, because, you know, I don't remember exactly how I staged

Jeff A.R. Jones:

it, but, you know, I staged as best I could figure out, but probably not as

Jeff A.R. Jones:

well as I could have staged it now.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So I started doing it in, in that regard.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And Jeff liked my work enough that he had me do that on several shows.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then other people would say like, Hey, can you also do that on this show?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So came from fight work and being the movement person who was around.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But then I started seeing that, you know, someone had written a thesis on this

Jeff A.R. Jones:

topic in particular and they were writing articles about it and I'd read the article

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and go like, oh, that's really good.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I, I had started thinking about emotional safety.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But I didn't really have a lot of language around it, or a lot of process

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and technique to make sure it was in place other than to check in with

Jeff A.R. Jones:

people and hope that it was fine.

Lormarev Jones:

and hope that safe enough space for them to feel for them to feel.

Lormarev Jones:

Yeah.

Lormarev Jones:

Like they could tell you.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Seemed like there was in the shows I was doing.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I didn't have any.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Anybody have a, you know, a bad response to anything that I know of.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So, yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So finding out that there was an actual process and then the more I

Jeff A.R. Jones:

got into it, the more learning about, you know, cuz as a, as a straight

Jeff A.R. Jones:

white dude in theater, I, I didn't have a bunch of terrible experiences.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

but learning about some of the experiences that others had in theater,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

where directors would bully and insist that they do things, reading

Jeff A.R. Jones:

articles about all the things that have gone on in the movies, right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Where people were surprised by what was going to be literally done to

Jeff A.R. Jones:

them is sort of how it was approached.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Here's what is going to happen to you in this scene today?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Roll.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So there was no chance for that person to prepare.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There was no chance for that person to advocate for themselves.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There was no chance for that person to say no.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so they just like, literally got abused on a set at their work while

Jeff A.R. Jones:

people watch, which when you frame it that way is really, really creepy.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So, you know, learning that there was a process and that there were technique.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I started seeking out the various organizations.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So I had some training with T E theater, intimacy education, and then I did some,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I, I did a much longer workshop with IDI, which is intimacy directors international,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

which was around at the time.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Uh, and I really was drawn to the, the approach and technique.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And the, the very forward regard for safety that IDI embraced and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

had put together, it just, it just connected to me and how I like to.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I like Labon cuz it breaks movement down into different, into different things

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that you could identify and pull one part at mm-hmm um, and, and IDI sort

Jeff A.R. Jones:

of approaches, like here's kind of the five, the five pieces, the five bases.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So you can look at these things like they all overlap and they all are

Jeff A.R. Jones:

intertwine, but you can look at sort of these things in a focus rather than just

Jeff A.R. Jones:

having a broad, like here's the scene.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So yeah, I was drawn to that and I did one of their workshops

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and it really spoke to me.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and, you know, just in pursuing that, that idea of safety within storytelling

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and telling, you know, hard stories safely, I was really drawn to it,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

pursued it and wanted to, to reach the status of certified intimacy director.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Not totally because of the title, the title is nice, but really because of

Jeff A.R. Jones:

the training that goes with the title.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

because there was a lot of training that like, you know, up to a point,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

even though I was doing all this work, I had still never done specific training

Jeff A.R. Jones:

in how do you stage sex on stage?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

How do you put people's bodies together in motion so that it looks like, you

Jeff A.R. Jones:

know, their generals are engaged with each other when in fact they are not.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And what are sort of the, the tricks and techniques for telling those stories,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

masking that so that the audience believes it's happening without it actually happen.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So, you know, getting through and learning all those things and then sort of learning

Jeff A.R. Jones:

the, the rules and frameworks around which you can then start to develop

Jeff A.R. Jones:

your own choreography and approach.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It's sort of like the difference between you take a combat workshop

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and you learn how to throw a punch.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Um, and then you know how to throw that punch when you like studied a lot more.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Then you start to understand how the concept of that punch works into any

Jeff A.R. Jones:

number of other things, different kinds of punches, kicks different kinds of strikes.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And it's the same basic concept.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But when you're first learning it, you learn it as like,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

do the technique this way.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Then you sort of expand into like, oh wait, that technique means.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That I can do all of these things by fully understanding

Jeff A.R. Jones:

the concept behind the technique.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Basically going from theory to practice.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Absolutely.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So speaking to the emotional and mental safety of, well, actually I was gonna

Jeff A.R. Jones:

say of actors, but really just of company of cast and crew and company.

Lormarev Jones:

Can you talk a little bit about how care and

Lormarev Jones:

empathy intersect with this work?

Lormarev Jones:

What.

Lormarev Jones:

Some of the, sort of the goal post or the, the pillars, if you will,

Lormarev Jones:

of, of how to keep people safe.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

IDI, it sort of has, has morphed.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It's a different organization, but is now IDC, intimacy directors

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and choreographers, and they follow this, this idea of the five

Jeff A.R. Jones:

pillars that was established by IDI.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

They are context, which is what is the story that we are trying to tell, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Everybody has to agree on the story so that we can all be

Jeff A.R. Jones:

working towards the same goal.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

The other part of context is, you know, in addition to the story

Jeff A.R. Jones:

itself, the other part of context is what is the context of the space?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

What is the context of the location?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If I'm working in a university theater in North Carolina, that's very

Jeff A.R. Jones:

different than working in a professional theater in say New York, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There's different things you can, and can't do just from societal standards.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There's different things you can, and can't do based on the fact that it's

Jeff A.R. Jones:

educational and people are younger, versus people are being paid professionals.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If there are, I've worked on shows where there's like a faculty member

Jeff A.R. Jones:

in the show that changes things.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Usually there's a director, that's also one of their teachers, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that changes what the context is.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So, so context is kind of everything and understanding that big umbrella of context

Jeff A.R. Jones:

of power structure, who is quote unquote in charge, who has the power in the room.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And how do people, like, how are people sort of beholden or not to that power?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Like I mentioned, the university setting.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If you have a director that's also teaching your class that

Jeff A.R. Jones:

then could give you a bad grade.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Or if the show itself is a class, then that is gonna affect how people respond.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If the director says do this, whereas in a different environment where there's not

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that kind of structure where you've got a director and a company of professional

Jeff A.R. Jones:

actors, The director might be a guest.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

The power structure is different.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

They don't have the same level of power.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Now they do have power in that it's professional and they have

Jeff A.R. Jones:

power in that they can recommend this person not be hired again.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And that sort of thing, without getting into a long dive on, on power structures.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But understanding what the power structure in the room is.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And as the intimacy person understanding how to work outside of it, because you're

Jeff A.R. Jones:

sort of in a weird way, you're at the bottom of the power structure because

Jeff A.R. Jones:

you are there to serve everyone's needs, but you're also sort of at the top of

Jeff A.R. Jones:

the power structure, because you're the person who's gonna go and tell the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

director that this actor can't do this.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so they have to change their.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It's sort of a weird outside the power structure space.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that's context.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

The next is consent and consent is the ability for a person to have control over.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

What's gonna happen to them and their body in a space.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And it's different from permission.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Permission can be given by anybody.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

A director can say, Hey, why don't you grab your fellow actor?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And back in the day, actor a would turn to actor B and grab them.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Now we want to get consent.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So actor a would turn to actor B and say, Hey, is it all right if I do

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that and actor B would say, actually, can you not grab my shoulders?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Can you grab my bicep?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So you've got a consent in the space of what is happening to the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

person and they get to decide, and the reasons get to be their own.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You don't have to explain it, cuz that's not really consent.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If you have to justify, there's a saying.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yes is only a valid answer if no is equally valid.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So you have to genuinely be asking if this is okay, and if it's not, we're

Jeff A.R. Jones:

gonna do something else as opposed to a performative, like you're good with that.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Cause that already assumes that the answer is yes.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that's the consent piece.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Then we have communication and communication is a few things.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It is both conveying all the things we've talked about before, conveying the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

context, discussing what the storyline is, what the character's actions, motivations

Jeff A.R. Jones:

responses are being on the same page with

Jeff A.R. Jones:

those, but also communicating your needs right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Saying.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I need to not do that, or I need to do it this way.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I need to not do it anymore times today.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Sometimes the number of times you do it, that's what you need to communicate.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Cuz you've got, you got five times do it at Inya.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And after that it starts to become a thing.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You also have being aware of nonverbal communication, because as much as we

Jeff A.R. Jones:

do the work, there are times, again, thinking back to those power structures.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There are times when people will give consent when they don't actually feel

Jeff A.R. Jones:

comfortable giving the consent, but they feel like they need to give the consent.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So they'll give the consent.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So then when you reach in to do that grab and the person tenses up

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and flins, well, that's a form of nonverbal communication that says,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

actually, I don't wanna do this.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so then you have to know that that is communication and you stop and you

Jeff A.R. Jones:

check in and you confirm what's going on.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Could be there were just acting the moment really well.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Okay.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Now we've cleared that up.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Now we can proceed.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Or it could be that they'd really rather do it a different way.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so you might see that.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And if I see that as the, the industry director, I might just decide like,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Hey, actually, I've got another idea.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Let's try this because I can see that this is causing a problem that

Jeff A.R. Jones:

the person doesn't want to default.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

The other part of communication is both communicating and understanding

Jeff A.R. Jones:

chain of accountability.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I always tell people when I start, what the chain of

Jeff A.R. Jones:

accountability around me is, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So I'm here as you know, your, your fight director and I'm gonna endeavor

Jeff A.R. Jones:

to do everything right by you.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If you have an issue, I appreciate you coming to me and letting me

Jeff A.R. Jones:

know so that I can correct it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But if you feel it's something beyond that, here's who to talk to.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And if you feel like, you know, talk to the stage manager, if it's

Jeff A.R. Jones:

a university setting where stage managers might just be students and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

don't have a lot of, a lot of impact.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Here's the director.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If you think that, well, the director hired this guy, so they're

Jeff A.R. Jones:

chummy, then here's the person that's above the director, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Here's the department chair.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Here's the university HR department or the title IX office.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So I lay out what that reporting structure is, and I communicate

Jeff A.R. Jones:

how to hold me accountable.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Just doing that provides a greater sense of trust.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Cuz if someone's willing to tell you how to report them, they're probably not out

Jeff A.R. Jones:

to do things that are reportable, right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If somebody is, you know, in a space because they really hope

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that they can hook up with the actresses, they're probably not

Jeff A.R. Jones:

gonna lay out reporting system.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Historically, there have been a lot of people.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Fellow actors, directors, artistic directors, producers who sort of

Jeff A.R. Jones:

see theater as a, a place to make connections like sexual connections

Jeff A.R. Jones:

or mm-hmm dating connections.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Often in really unhealthy ways.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If you haven't read the article on profiles theater in Chicago.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

From what like 10 years ago almost now mm-hmm, , it's, it's a horrifying

Jeff A.R. Jones:

article, but it's out there and it's not, it's not, it's not aloft.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yes.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It's not like this happened to this one time.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That is a fairly endemic to theater thing.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

The further you get away from having any kind of oversight.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So when you get into sort of like community theater spaces where

Jeff A.R. Jones:

somebody made their own company and they're the person in charge

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and they answer to themselves

Lormarev Jones:

and they're funding it and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

yep.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah, there's a lot more room for that kind of abusive behavior.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

When they're part of a structured system that, you know, has an organization and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

a board and an HR department, then there are more avenues to hold them accountable.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so it is.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Marginally less likely, but given the way theater has progressed over all the years,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

not unlikely, absolutely word it that way.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that's communication.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Then we have choreography and choreography is the laying out of the movement.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So we are gonna specifically lay out what the movement is because.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

One of the problems of the past is that on stage an actor would decide to

Jeff A.R. Jones:

do whatever they felt in the moment.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And that could look like anything.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And could very easily violate someone else's space.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I went to a workshop one time and a production had just closed and the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

students had questions cuz they said they had an actor and on, there was a, it was

Jeff A.R. Jones:

a, a character and a servant character and the character is supposed to be advancing

Jeff A.R. Jones:

sexually on the servant character.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And that actor would every night do what they were moved to do.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So sometimes it meant bearing their face in the actress's chest.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Sometimes it meant grabbing her buttock.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Sometimes it meant reaching up her skirt, like, and so the actress never

Jeff A.R. Jones:

knew what to expect walking on stage.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And a lot of those things were okay.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So we have chore choreography because choreography can be held accountable.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

The moves were step 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 on step four, you did something different.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That's not the choreography.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so, you know, if, if there are sometimes choreography can shift, right,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

you get comfortable doing something and you go, actually, we could move that a

Jeff A.R. Jones:

little higher up on the leg now that you know, now that I trust you, basically.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

We have a saying move at the speed of trust.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If we do our, and I love that expression.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If we do our jobs, right, what tends to happen is as we're working through

Jeff A.R. Jones:

the process, the choreography opens up.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And it becomes sort of more expressive and more people are willing to do things

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that are more quote, unquote, dangerous.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You know, they're willing to let that hand come further up the thigh

Jeff A.R. Jones:

further inside the thigh because they know it's gonna be safe.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You know, when we started it might have stopped at the knee because I wanna

Jeff A.R. Jones:

make sure that's if that's respected, well, then you know, a little bit

Jeff A.R. Jones:

above the knee would be respected.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And we keep going until like, we've reached the boundary where

Jeff A.R. Jones:

it's like, yeah, that's good.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That is, that is the aspect of choreography.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And a lot of times it's choreographing really minute things.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It's choreographing breath.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It's choreographing, like.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

A flinch.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That's just in the hand, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Like you, like when you touch something and you get a little like

Jeff A.R. Jones:

static electricity spark, and you just pull back a finger, right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You know, if you reach out to touch, someone's bare chest and you know, you

Jeff A.R. Jones:

have that little flinch back that tells a lot of story and it's this little, teeny,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

tiny gesture, but it's really specific.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I love the specificity of the work, whether you inhale or exhale, when you do.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Whether it's a deep inhaler, an exhale when you do it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You know, all these little variables tell different stories.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And that part is really, really exciting to explore in terms of how

Jeff A.R. Jones:

can we get the best storytelling and make sure we're telling the story

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that we want to tell really clearly the other thing about choreography is

Jeff A.R. Jones:

it keeps it, I always aim to keep a separation between the character and the.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I don't want for this kind of work, especially, I don't want the character

Jeff A.R. Jones:

or the actor so immersed in the character that they can't tell the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

difference, because then the actor is just experiencing whatever the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

character is experiencing, you know, and obviously if it's traumatic, that's bad.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If you're doing a scene, that's like a sexual assault, but also if it's

Jeff A.R. Jones:

good, that can be bad because if you immersed yourself so much in your

Jeff A.R. Jones:

character, that you think the person that you're kissing on stage, you're

Jeff A.R. Jones:

actually attracted to and you leave your significant other to be with that person.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then the show ends and you realize, oops, wait a minute.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I actually don't like this person at all.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It's that immersion and character, because you know, kissing feels good.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Hugging feels good.

Lormarev Jones:

And your body does not know the difference.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Your brain, like there's so many nerve endings in your lips.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

When we do kissing, we do a training session on it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

In advance, we notify like today's the day we're gonna actually touch

Jeff A.R. Jones:

lips and then we leave it alone.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And we only do it as much as the actors need to do it until we get to like

Jeff A.R. Jones:

dress rehearsal because your, your lips have like a direct line to your brain

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and your brain goes, this is nice.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and you can literally confuse your brain into believing things that are

Jeff A.R. Jones:

pretend because you're going through the physical actions of doing the things

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that you would do if it wasn't pretend.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that's another place where choreography really helps, because if I know that I'm

Jeff A.R. Jones:

gonna do a kiss and it's gonna be a three count with my head turned slightly to

Jeff A.R. Jones:

the side with my eyes open and one hand sliding down the back of the shoulder.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Well, that's a lot of information.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I gotta keep track.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So I'm not gonna be so fully immersed because I'm still going through

Jeff A.R. Jones:

the steps of the choreography.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So it provides a little layer of separation, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You can still connect to all that motion.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And the way I develop choreography, all of that is connected through impulse of what

Jeff A.R. Jones:

the character thinks they would do next.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But it is still a specific sequence that you're following so that you

Jeff A.R. Jones:

know, that you're not just like going for it right in the past.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

A lot of times directors would send two people off into a, a private

Jeff A.R. Jones:

space, terrible idea, and say, you two, go figure out how to do this.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Make out scene happen to make yep.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And they'd go off and they would figure out how to make out, which is weird.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then they come back in and then it's not driven by character or story

Jeff A.R. Jones:

it's to people, to people making out on stage, which is, you know, when

Jeff A.R. Jones:

you see it, it's like, this is weird.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

this is uncomfortable.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And like all of a sudden, I don't feel like we're in the show anymore.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So, you know, those are all benefits of choreography and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

also that it's accountable.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So if it does go awry, you can examine why it went awry.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If it went awry because someone's hand slipped and it was a genuine mistake.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Cool.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Well, we've checked in on it now and we're gonna not have that happen again.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If it continues to happen, something needs to change.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If it's a situation where, you know, the balance of the person is

Jeff A.R. Jones:

such that their hand is gonna slip because their balance is off, then

Jeff A.R. Jones:

we need to change the choreography.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If it's an issue where one actor really feels like that's what they should do.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

We can discuss changing the choreography, but we might even get as far as needing

Jeff A.R. Jones:

to change the actor, if they're not respecting the other actor's boundaries.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that's sort of a last resort, but is on the table.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You know, if you don't perform the choreography as written, if you go

Jeff A.R. Jones:

outside the choreography and you're doing things that are endangering

Jeff A.R. Jones:

your fellow actor, then you can be removed, which is another thing that'll

Jeff A.R. Jones:

give it that sheen of keeping you a little separate from your character.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that's choreography.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then the last one is closure.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Closure is sort of the end.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There's also a little bit at the beginning where you sort of go into the space.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And the idea is that you define when you are starting the work.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So right now we are gonna start working on this scene, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And now we're starting the work.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

We're not people who are friends who know each other and hanging

Jeff A.R. Jones:

out in the hall, sharing a coffee.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

We're now working on this scene.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It doesn't mean we can't be friends, but mm.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

We're in the work.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then when the work is done, we have closure to say, boom, that was the work.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

The work is over.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Now we can go back to whatever we were doing with our lives.

Lormarev Jones:

Right.

Lormarev Jones:

In other

Lormarev Jones:

words, identifying what the context is.

Lormarev Jones:

Absolutely.

Lormarev Jones:

Yeah.

Lormarev Jones:

Mm-hmm

Jeff A.R. Jones:

yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And maybe you were friends before, and so you, you know, you tap

Jeff A.R. Jones:

out of it and you go back to, you know, your friend relationship.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Maybe you barely know each other and you're doing a

Jeff A.R. Jones:

really intimate sensual scene.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then you tap out of it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You're like, okay, cool.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

See you tomorrow, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah, mm-hmm um, but it's that idea of creating a structure to

Jeff A.R. Jones:

be able to step away from the work and really compartmentalize and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

separate the work from your life so that you don't confuse your brain.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And there's sort of an immediate closure of, we are now stopping the work.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I always like to set up something that involves several factors, eye

Jeff A.R. Jones:

contact, an expression of gratitude.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So, you know, thank you for your work.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I even like to go so far as to have them say, thank you for your acting

Jeff A.R. Jones:

work to just reinforce that this was acting some kind of tactile element.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So you'll do like a high five, uh, and a breath element.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So like in my eye contact, you'll breathe together.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You'll thank each other for your work.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then you'll do like high five because it's also got that percussive element.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That's like, now we have.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There's a definitive moment that you can point to that's the end,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

as opposed to yeah, that was great.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That was really cool.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That was fun.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah, we should.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That was a good scene.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

All right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Like when did that end?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It does it didn't have a definitive, like period at the end of the sentence.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So giving it that really distinct now, sometimes you'll work on scenes

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that connect to you emotionally and you need more personal closure.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So we create closure practices that allow you to get back to connecting

Jeff A.R. Jones:

with your actual reality, as opposed to the make believe reality.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You've spent the last, however many hours in.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Especially if it connects to something in your life that is

Jeff A.R. Jones:

unpleasant or potentially traumatic.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So you wanna make sure that you're not, you're keeping that separate and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

not reliving the trauma things like spend time with a pet, a little furry

Jeff A.R. Jones:

ball of like empathy consent, right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You know, warm bubble baths.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I'm a big fan of things that remind you of reality and things

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that remind you of who you are.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I'll get people to pick a song that is a song that they really connect

Jeff A.R. Jones:

to and it can be, you know, it can be something that's inspirational for them.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It can be their like screw the world song that, you know, they

Jeff A.R. Jones:

like to sing angry loud in the car.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It can be the song that just makes 'em feel super happy, but it's something

Jeff A.R. Jones:

they've had as part of their life for a long time way before the show.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And when you go to leave, that's the first thing you play in the car and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

maybe you play it a few times, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But it reminds you of who you were before this process.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So you're connecting back to your reality versus this imagined reality.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There's a, there's a five senses.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

One where you, you take your five senses in any order, and then you pick five

Jeff A.R. Jones:

things to touch four things, to hear three things to see, and you take,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

you know, you touch five things and you do it with like real intention.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I'm at a table and I'm feeling the edge of the table and there's a little seam

Jeff A.R. Jones:

here and I can just barely make out the wood grain in the surface of the texture.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then I'd move on to another thing and I would feel it with

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that level of intentionality.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And you get about halfway through this process and you start going

Jeff A.R. Jones:

like, oh right, this is real.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I can literally touch this.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I can literally smell this.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

This is real.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

What I was doing before was not.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Getting that separation and getting back to who you are so

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that you can be in a safe place.

Lormarev Jones:

And I would just like to share, you know, closure also happens,

Lormarev Jones:

you know, can happen within performance.

Lormarev Jones:

You know, I worked on a show recently where as the intimacy director I needed to

Lormarev Jones:

help the actor, I ended up helping stage.

Lormarev Jones:

A panic attack that was occurring on stage.

Lormarev Jones:

So, you know, going back to intimacy has several definitions and you know, is, has

Lormarev Jones:

a huge umbrella under which things fall.

Lormarev Jones:

This actor was looking for strategies to not actually end up having a panic attack

Lormarev Jones:

as they had had one before in real life.

Lormarev Jones:

And then, you know, we had to sort of set up a structure.

Lormarev Jones:

and, you know, and then I said, I will return when you are on set so that

Lormarev Jones:

we can trace sort of your steps and where you have time to actually do a

Lormarev Jones:

closure practice within performance.

Lormarev Jones:

And that was a really.

Lormarev Jones:

Interesting process to go through with that actor because I, myself personally

Lormarev Jones:

Lormarev has, have also had panic attacks and, you know, once you're in one, I don't

Lormarev Jones:

wanna say there's no escape, but there's sort of a process to, to getting out of

Lormarev Jones:

one or getting through one, I should say mm-hmm and the idea that someone could

Lormarev Jones:

maybe have one on stage and then like have to be in one while continuing to perform.

Lormarev Jones:

It's just really terrifying and, and unsettling to be.

Lormarev Jones:

And so I definitely felt, I felt an extra personal investment in

Lormarev Jones:

making sure that this actor was not triggered in that process.

Lormarev Jones:

And so just wanted to say to listeners, you know, this closure

Lormarev Jones:

practice, it has a role in rehearsal and it can also have a very, very

Lormarev Jones:

important function in performance.

Lormarev Jones:

Which is wild.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Mm-hmm similarly I did a show that was, was a monologue and

Jeff A.R. Jones:

they called me in to, to be the industry director for the monologue.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I was like, huh, because everything that I'd done before, that was two

Jeff A.R. Jones:

people, you know, bodies touching bodies.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But they brought me in because it was a, like a nine page recounting of the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

character's sexual assault as a child.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and so it was really intense.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so we did the same thing.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

We choreographed like how she would like slide her hand up her

Jeff A.R. Jones:

arm and hook herself and rock.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And we even structured that, that show used a lot of music from a specific band.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So I went and I found music from that band that was in the show.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I was like, okay, at this point in it, we're gonna follow this

Jeff A.R. Jones:

tempo structure from this song.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So again, it was separating.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So it's like, oh, here's where I'm doing the part in the song where

Jeff A.R. Jones:

it goes like this in a rhythm.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So it wasn't, I'm delving so deep into my psyche of this that I'm

Jeff A.R. Jones:

just like spiraling downward.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then the same thing we got to the end of it, and the actor would sit

Jeff A.R. Jones:

at a table, run their hand across a book that was on the table that had

Jeff A.R. Jones:

a bumpy cover to get to a glass of water that usually had sweat on it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

By that point, pick up the water, take a sniff of it,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

drink it, let the taste of it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And the coolness of.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Hit their tongue set it back down.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And this theater had a really noisy air conditioning unit.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

They would set it back down and then they would listen for the air conditioner unit.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then they would let out a big exhale when they let out the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

big exhale lights would come up.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So they were able to have this little process to be able to

Jeff A.R. Jones:

engage with the rest of the show.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then when they got to their closure at the end of the show,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

they weren't still carrying all that energy from the middle of the show.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Mm-hmm so that end of show closure.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Became much easier.

Lormarev Jones:

And the actor had a closure practice on stage.

Lormarev Jones:

I think that even that is sort of a, it might be a foreign concept to some

Lormarev Jones:

people like, you know, in my example, the actor did get a moment off stage

Lormarev Jones:

before they had to come back on.

Lormarev Jones:

but in that in a monologue show, in a solo piece, there is no you're basically it.

Lormarev Jones:

And so, you know, you, you know, it could have been an option, like maybe

Lormarev Jones:

the actor will leave stage for a second, but in this case there wasn't.

Lormarev Jones:

So you had to build something that would keep the actor on stage and

Lormarev Jones:

yet still provide closure for them.

Lormarev Jones:

So, yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And closure is for everybody because we think we tend to focus on the actors.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Mm-hmm because they're the ones that are, that are acting it out.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

But when there's trauma, there's three groups of people who experience it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There's the, the person who, who causes it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There's the person who receives it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So if you wanna put that into like an attacker and victim counter category,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

but then there's also the witness.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You can be traumatized by seeing something, the stage management

Jeff A.R. Jones:

team in particular, the crew, the stage management team.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

They've gotta watch this scene every single night.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

They have to engage with it as much as the performers do, but without the ability

Jeff A.R. Jones:

to walk up and like tap out with them.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I check in a lot with specifically the stage management team, but

Jeff A.R. Jones:

anybody who's on crew as well.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I have had on that same show, I had somebody who was in the, the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

management team who said, like, I don't feel right at the end of this show

Jeff A.R. Jones:

cuz it connects to stuff from my past, but I have to drive home immediately

Jeff A.R. Jones:

after and I've got an hour drive.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

What can I do?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And that was, that was actually where I developed the music one because that,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that ASM had a real strong connection to music and I was like, great.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

What's a song that you.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You don't have to tell me the song, but what's a song that you really connect to.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so we created, we basically choreographed a closure practice

Jeff A.R. Jones:

that that person would do every night so that they could let go

Jeff A.R. Jones:

of what they had been part of.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So, yeah, when you're, when you're setting up closure practices, don't

Jeff A.R. Jones:

forget your team, your whole team.

Lormarev Jones:

This has been awesome.

Lormarev Jones:

What steps would you suggest artists take to bring consent focused

Lormarev Jones:

approaches into their communities?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I would start by reaching out to intimacy

Jeff A.R. Jones:

professionals, intimacy directors.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I, I know that I personally, and I can't speak for everyone.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I can only speak for myself.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I personally am very willing to have a conversation with people

Jeff A.R. Jones:

about what best practices look like.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

and sometimes even just knowing what a best practice looks like gives you

Jeff A.R. Jones:

a framework for a structure that you just might not have known about before.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Sure.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Um, you know, if you, if you have some time and you know, a little bit

Jeff A.R. Jones:

of money, see if there's a limited workshop that you can do with somebody,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

bring somebody in for a show or a session to explain how this works.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

There's a lot of, we take a lot of our, especially around consent practice.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

We take a lot of our ideas from consent practices around sexual health.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

We use the fries acronym that they use when they're teaching, you know, kids

Jeff A.R. Jones:

about what consent means in relationships.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Consent is consent.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It's sort of the same concept, whether it's, you know, within a relationship

Jeff A.R. Jones:

or within this acting relationship.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So you can look to some of that to understand how consent works.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then basically the way to bring it into a space is just before you

Jeff A.R. Jones:

engage, you check in, you know, and you, you allow the person an opportunity

Jeff A.R. Jones:

consent to what's gonna happen.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

With the understanding that no is a, a viable answer.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And if you get no, then we're gonna adjust one of the things that

Jeff A.R. Jones:

we've sort of battle against in, in theater, it sort of comes from improv.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

The first rule of improv is yes.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And yes, and, right, right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so that carries over to theater.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Well, you don't wanna say you gotta be.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yes.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And cause we gotta accept all ideas and move forward.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Well, in intimacy, the first rule is no, but so.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Can I do this?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

No, but you could do this.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

It allows the person to have agency and define how they're gonna be engaged with.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

While still keeping the process moving.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Because the concern is like, well, but if people say no in rehearsal all the

Jeff A.R. Jones:

time, it'll just be dead in the water.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Like, oh, can we do this?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

No.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And then you got nowhere to go.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So, you know, can I shake you violently by the shoulders?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

No, but you could grab my arm and pull it towards you and shake that.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Cuz maybe the person has a bad neck and shaking them violent by their shoulders

Jeff A.R. Jones:

would be literally painful right now.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You don't get to ask them why that's their own information.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

They may just not like.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Their reasons are their own, but they have the ability to offer

Jeff A.R. Jones:

an alternative solution, right?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That alternative solution does not have to be accepted.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Then you can make a counter offer either from, you know, from a standpoint of,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

well, your counter offer sort of violates my boundaries and my sense of safety.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So I'm gonna make another counter offer or your counter offer.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Doesn't tell the story that we're trying to sell.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So maybe we'll.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Have a counter offer that that goes back to a different story.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So, but that leads to conversation and development.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I always like to say, like my first idea is not usually my best idea.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So if my first idea is to grab somebody by the shoulder and they

Jeff A.R. Jones:

say no, but you could take my wrist.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Okay.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that's gonna mean a different dynamic.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So that's gonna evolve a different way than the most obvious

Jeff A.R. Jones:

choice of grabbing the shoulder.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And so you usually end up developing much better.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So for people who are worried that it stifles creativity, it actually

Jeff A.R. Jones:

engenders and enhances creativity.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And helps it blossom.

Lormarev Jones:

I find, and performers have agency over the decision making.

Lormarev Jones:

It always is, you know, when some of it, when I choreograph just regular dances

Lormarev Jones:

and the students are just goofing off and I'm like, oh, you like that dance?

Lormarev Jones:

Okay.

Lormarev Jones:

Let's put that in an eight count.

Lormarev Jones:

And then, you know, they feel that they have contributed that they

Lormarev Jones:

have contributed to the performance in a more meaningful way also.

Lormarev Jones:

So,

Jeff A.R. Jones:

absolutely.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Yeah.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And from a very practical choreographic standpoint, if I come in and I say

Jeff A.R. Jones:

like, okay, you're gonna do this.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You're gonna walk over here.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You're gonna draw your sword.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

You're gonna make these three cuts.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Cut, cut, cut.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Then you do a pair, then you're gonna do a right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I can do all that.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And they're gonna go like, huh?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Okay.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I'll do the choreography.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I don't know why I'm doing it, but I'm, I'll, I'll go through those motions.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And when you see it on stage, it will look like somebody is

Jeff A.R. Jones:

going through the choreography.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

If I get with them.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And I say, who do you think attacks first?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And where do you think you go?

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And the person says, I think I am enraged and I am just gonna start swinging wildly.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Well, that's their idea.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

They're gonna connect to that idea.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

They're not gonna forget that chore.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

right.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

And it'll be driven from a, a character point of view and a

Jeff A.R. Jones:

story point of view, better than if something is prescribed to them.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Back, back when I would sit down and write out all the choreography

Jeff A.R. Jones:

in advance and then go in and teach people the choreography, there

Jeff A.R. Jones:

would be times they would forget they'd go up on the choreography.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

They'd be like, I don't know what I do next because they hadn't embodied.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Didn't make sense to their bodies, why they would make that next move.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

So by having that conversation, by having that agency, you get better choreography.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

That's easier for the performers to perform and easier for them to remember

Jeff A.R. Jones:

in my book, that's all around better.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

I agree.

Lormarev Jones:

Well, Jeff, thank you so much for your time.

Lormarev Jones:

I really enjoyed this conversation.

Lormarev Jones:

It's always great to talk to you, cousin, so,

Lormarev Jones:

oh, love it.

Jeff A.R. Jones:

Thank you so much for having me

Tamara Kissane:established in:Tamara Kissane:

studio based in North Carolina.

Tamara Kissane:

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Artist Soapbox is a platform for original scripted audio fiction and an opportunity for artists to discuss their creative work in their own voices. We do this through our interview podcast, our blog, and original audio dramas.

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