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Updated: Jan 8

ABOVE: (Left to Right) Monnie Aleahmad, Clayton Stocker Myers, and Megan Rippy

I’ve known Jan-David Soutar for many years. Our first time collaborating with one another was back in 2006 as scene partners in a short film for a 48hr film festival in Maryland. Since then, we’ve worked on a handful of productions with one another (Heaven Burns, The Guide). In each of those instances, we were both actors. So I was excited to be called upon to be an actor in a production Jan was directing. More so, a Stage production for his class at CSUN!

In this instance, it would be a scene from Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi - in which I would play the role of King Louie. This experience could not have been more perfect as not only was I being directed by a past collaborator and friend, but my Marie would be played by another another close friend and Jan’s wife, Megan Rippy, and Joseph would be played by one of my closest friends and oftentimes collaborator, Monnie Aleahmad. “Dream Team” would be a biased declaration, but it’s the one I carry in my mind knowing what kind of production we pulled together based on the many scheduling and technical complications we faced. More so, knowing how wonderfully open Jan was as a director to our ideas and contributions. His willingness to entertain and encourage our explorations and experimentation, as well as reign us in so that whatever discoveries we made in that process would ultimately fit within his cohesive vision for the scene. 

ABOVE: Monnie Aleahamad as Joeseph

The scene was well received. I’m sure Jan was provided constructive criticisms from his professor and classmates, however the one particularly kind note he was sure to share with the rest of us was that the entire rest of his class was “impressed by the actors”. So, I’ll take it!

ABOVE: Megan Rippy / Marie & Monnie Aleahamad / Joseph

I always say that Theater finds me when the timing is right and though this was only one scene, I feel my mantra still applies. Jan, Megan and I had suffered a loss of a dear friend in leading up to our rehearsals and I do believe that working the piece together provided a healthy escape from our grief, as well as opportunity to be present with one another whilst we rode through our individual mourning processes. 

Now, with my thirst for theatre rekindled, I find myself excited for what may come next, though it will be hard to beat having such a wonderful team. 



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