Interview With The Women Of JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK

Playwriting/Literary intern Sean Patrick Nill sits down with the female cast of Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook!

Courtney Kendall (Lucille), Heidi Bjorndahl (Junie B. Jones), Meher Mistry (Grace)

Sean: So, how does it feel to be in Kindergarten again?

Meher: It’s a-mazing!

(All three ladies laugh)

Meher: Cause so much of acting requires losing one’s inhibitions and so we get to do that even more so because we’re playing five years old, and… we get to be loud, and nuts, and free, and it’s really fun to do.  I mean it’s been….a long time since I was five. And we get to re-live how fun that was.

Sean: Tiring?

Meher: Definitely, especially since we have a common love interest. One minute we’re fighting and the next minute we’re giggling and running offstage.

Sean: Is that a common thing with girls at this age? Fighting over a boy?

Courtney: Yes…

Heidi: Especially when you’re young, and you’re all in the same class, and it’s a small group of people. I feel that happens a lot when you’re younger, and its fun to explore that again.

Sean: How similar at the age of five were you to your characters?

Courtney: I was born to be a princess.

(All three ladies laugh)

Courtney: Lucille is perfect for me. It’s so perfect. And I’ve been around enough kids to know, that if a kid says something, they’re saying it for a reason. That understanding helps me tap into this character.

Heidi: I’m nothing like Junie B. I never got into trouble for talking in class. I’m usually quiet. So it’s a bit crazy to step into this character. She’s loud, she’s talkative, she’ll just stand on her desk which I could never imagine doing.

Meher: My sister is a lot like Grace. Grace is very competitive, she takes things very seriously. My sister’s may be coming to the show, and I think she’ll recognize herself in the performance. To this day, she’ll look at me and say, “I can beat you!” She doesn’t even care if there’s a reward, she just wants to win.

Sean: Did you all read the books when you were growing up?

Courtney: I did, but I didn’t actually remember until this last Tuesday when I saw the actual books…

Meher: I’m from India, so I’d never heard of them.

Heidi: I actually read them in first grade when I was learning to read…

Everyone: OOOOOOH!!!

Heidi: (Laughing) yeah, so that’s really cool.

Sean: Do you remember any games you played at the age of five?

Courtney: Hopscotch.

Meher: Any game that involved snacking was probably my favorite.

Heidi: I loved playing board games when I was growing up like Chutes & Ladders and Candyland.

Sean: What will each of your characters grow up to be?

Courtney: Rich!

Meher: In the play, Grace exclaims that she’ll be in the Olympics one day, so I’ll fulfill that premonition and say athlete. If not, then maybe a dental surgeon.

Heidi: I think Junie B. will be an entrepreneur, and the boss of her own company. She is very creative and great at problem-solving! And she is definitely self-assured and confident enough to take charge over everyone.

Sean: Why should kids experience live theatre?

Courtney: It’s important. It’s a great way to learn plus it expands their imagination.

Meher: Very little expands your imagination the way live theater does. It’s so important for kids…both to watch and to participate in.

Heidi: For kids to see live theatre-especially in this digital age-to take part in a creative, imaginative experience, it’s beyond important. Especially in this show, where there are moments when the characters in the play check in with the audience and pose questions. There is no hiding behind screens, or shying away from what’s happening. Being an audience member in a smaller theatre setting especially requires you to be an active participant or observer. In my biased opinion, I believe it to be a more impactful and memorable experience than something viewed on a device at home. 

 

JUNIE B. JONES OPENS APRIL 22, 2017

CALL BOX OFFICE AT (916)443-5300

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Interview with Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook adaptor Allison Gregory

Interview with Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook adaptor Allison Gregory:
Conducted by Playwriting/Literary Intern Sean Patrick Nill

Sean: This adaptation is a combination of two book in the Junie B. series (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren and Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook). What gave you the idea to combine these two stories? And why do they fit so well together?

Allison Gregory: The hardest part was deciding which two to adapt-they’re all so well-written and funny. I was looking for stories that had tangible conflict (i.e. Junie B finds a pen and keeps it, that feels great), as well as internal struggle (it doesn’t belong to her, so technically she’s stealing and doesn’t feel so good). For the second book, well, HANDSOME WARREN has always been one of my favorites. It took a while to figure out how to blend the stories into a seamless play in a way that made sense, but I think it came out really well.

Sean: When was the first time you heard about Junie B. Jones? What sparked the initiative to adapt the stories into plays?

Allison: I was approached by the artistic director of a theatre, asking me if I knew the books. I’d never heard of them, so I went right out to the book store and asked the salesman if he’d ever heard of a book series about a kid named Junie B. He didn’t say a word. He just pointed to something behind me. So I turned around and there was a life size cut-out of Junie B. Jones in living color, along with shelves and shelves of books with her name on them. That was my intro.

Sean: Why is it important for children to experience live professional theatre?

Allison: Theatre is NOW; it’s something that happens in real time as we’re actually watching it. That’s incredibly radical in this age of electronic everything. Theatre creates community by the very fact that we have to be there for it to happen; theatre needs witnesses; it requires an audience, it ask more of us than TV or film or videos. And it gives us more in terms of experience, empathy, and humanity.

Sean: Why is it important for children to experience live professional theatre?

Allison: Theatre is NOW; it’s something that happens in real time as we’re actually watching it. That’s incredibly radical in this age of electronic everything. Theatre creates community by the very fact that we have to be there for it to happen; theatre needs witnesses; it requires an audience, it ask more of us than TV or film or videos. And it gives us more in terms of experience, empathy, and humanity.

Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook runs April 22 – May 28
buy tickets today at bstreettheatre.org or 916-443-5300