Jesse Bonnell

Artist in Residence, 2016

Artist Statement

I make contemporary theater works that bend genre and provoke form; where deep emotional currents are contained within, farcical humor, absurdity, psychological tensions, spiritual conflicts, and group catharsis. Traditional at times, and categorically defiant at others, my work plays with psychosocial events that are intended to fly in the face of convention, testing the emotional limits of both artist and viewer. My work germinates within visual art vocabularies, cinema, subverted theatrical idioms, non-hierarchal collaboration, and lab-like experimentation with language and emotional embodiment.

While At Headlands

While at Headlands I will be finalizing the text for two new plays. Water and Wood is a solo performance work based on anonymous notes and highlighted sections of texts found within the pages of used books. Centered on a self-proclaimed iconoclast, the work mimics structures found within Dante’s, Devine Comedy and the interviews of Harry Smith. Group Therapy looks at the inner workings of L.A. based theater company Poor Dog Group’s members as they commit to receiving a year of real therapy with a licensed professional. Inspired by Yasujirō Ozu’s film, Floating Weeds, Poor Dog Group transforms this beautiful film about the company we keep, hardships, and anti-redemption into medicinal live art. The impact of four weeks at Headlands to refine and challenge the ideas within both these projects, will allow for a reactionary position towards my process.

Selected Works

Murder Ballad 1938, performed at REDCAT SPring Season, 2015. Poor Dog Group.

Five Small Fires, performed at the Bootleg Theater, 2014.