An Interview with Joy Donze
Hi Joy, so where ya from & where ya at, Geographically speaking?
I grew up in middle America in a small town called Perryville, located an hour and a half outside St. Louis. In other words, I’m from the heartland of America. The corn and the cows and the caves. 🙂 I’ve lived in New York City for the last 8 years.
When did you first find yourself getting into the dramatic arts?
I came out of the womb “hamming” it up. I started taking piano and dance when I was 6. Took my first acting class in middle school. I did drama and choir all through high school. I got my BFA from Avila University in Kansas City, and MFA from The New School for Drama in New York City.
What does Joy Donze like to do when she’s not being theatrical?
Wait, there is life outside of theatre? I like to produce. Something I’ve learned about myself is I love to watch things come together. I like introducing artists to one another and fostering community. I am, also, a professional karaoke host. I host parties in then Brooklyn NY nite life scene. I am, also, a teaching artist. I love working with kids. I mostly facilitate drama club, social awareness, mindfulness, and leadership.
Have you ever been to Edinburgh before whether visiting or performing?
Nope! I’ve always dreamed of going to this festival! I traveled around Europe a ton, but I have never been to Scotland!
You are bringing your ’13 & not Pregnant’ to Edinburgh this August. Can you tell us about the play?
“13 & Not Pregnant” is a one woman show that features verbatim journal entries from my 6th grade diary. I always knew I wanted to turn my diary into a theatrical piece, and began working on it in a solo performance class in 2015. I’ve performed it in New York and Chicago and both times it was well received. Not only by my friends who love to laugh at my ridiculousness, but also folks who have never met me. It’s enjoyable for anyone over the age of 13… Anyone whose been through puberty. Thankfully, I, also, wrote down popular song lyrics from my youth, and did some self deprecating poetry… So no fear – there will be dance breaks.
How have you found working with Director, Mia Capotorto Sommese?
Mia and I met in graduate school and worked together on an Ionesco piece called “The Lesson.” When I first read the play I thought…. What?! But Mia is so brilliant, and it ended up being one of my favorite theatrical experiences. It was a challenge, but she is a great storyteller and dramaturge. I knew she would let me approach my show the way I envisioned and give me freedom, while still helping me shape, stage, and specify the piece.
What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
Stories worth telling and a strong need to tell them. If the story isn’t important to you – why would it be important to anyone else. I am drawn to new narratives that need telling. I’ve been focusing my artistic endeavors towards social and political theatre that pushes the boundaries and steps outside tradition.
What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Joy Donze?
Hmmm, well…. I’m not sure at the moment. Let me get through August and I’ll get back to ya! 🙂
Joy will be bringing her play to Edinburgh this Fringe
Aug 4-26 : Greenside @ Infirmary (20.50)