Hey there! The name’s Jake, and I have the esteemed pleasure of creating Professor Henry Higgins’ of Pygmalion on the proud PST stage. As a guest artist, I jumped late into a team that had already bonded over weeks of exhausting yet invigorating theater work. Unlike these courageous artists, who have to juggle the entire PST season in their brains (4 MainStage productions, a children’s show, as well as workshop programming), my sole task was to put my every effort into bringing the eccentric, eclectic, neurotic, charming, alarming, sensitive and senseless Henry Higgins to life.
The mission was daunting, but luckily I knew I had the brilliant artists of the PST ensemble at my side and the passionate and sagacious mind of director R. N. (Bob) Sandberg leading the charge. Bob and I go way back—in fact, I have done more theater work with him than any other director I’ve known. From Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya to Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive to my one-man acting thesis Madman/Robertson, an actor-director collaboration was forged, for which I am supremely grateful. Bob and I discussed at length our ideas about who Higgins was in the context of his greater vision for the piece—he told me that in fact it was Higgins’ transformation that was the most fundamental throughout the course of the play. Our mission was to tackle this transformation by finding the moments of realism within Higgins’ story. He could be easily played as a caricature of the eccentric genius, but we decided that he was, rather, a socially awkward, often childish man, scared very much of his own feelings.
And so, our production—set as a memory play in which Higgins relives his past with Eliza—serves as the means by which this insecure and co-dependent momma’s boy-genius grows up and learns to confront his world and his self in a mature and responsible way.
Come see an unbelievable cast and crew bring a little heart to the inimitable mind of George Bernard Shaw!
All My Best,