This is the first in a series of interviews with the cast of Translations at The Masqueraders‘ production of Translation. Meet Jonson Henry.
Joel: Introduce yourself to our readers and tell them what other shows you have appeared in and some of the roles you have played.
Jonson: I’m a second year member of the Masqueraders. Last year I appeared in a minor role in The Importance of Being Earnest, but I have a fair amount of acting experience from before arriving at the Naval Academy. I’ve been an actor since I was in Elementary school and appeared as an extra in a local professional theater’s production of The King and I. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Why did you want to be in Translations produced by the United States Naval Academy Masqueraders?
I love the people involved in Masqueraders and the opportunity to be able to express myself creatively. Also, I love the feeling of performing.
What does this production of Translations say to your generation?
Translations is really a show about cultural awareness. It shows the importance of knowing about the world, especially as things become more tightly connected. This is particularly important as members of the military. It is really good to know how significant and important cultural identity is when we’re trying to help people. What we may think is helpful may be doing more harm than good.
Who do you play in Translations and how do you relate to your character?
I play Captain Lancey. Lancey epitomizes everything that one shouldn’t do, especially as a military officer. He is insensitive, arrogant, and a generally nasty person. It is a lot of fun to let out all the pent up nastiness.
What do you admire about your character and what do you not admire?
I admire absolutely nothing about my character. The fun of playing him is making him a thoroughly despicable person throughout the show.
What have been the challenges you have encountered while preparing for your role and how have you overcome these challenges? How did your director help you?
My director has been very supportive and I’ve gotten a lot of tips about people to emulate, movies to watch, and books to read. It has been challenging to keep my character somewhat relatable despite the nastiness of his nature. It’s sometimes tempting to make him ridiculously nasty, but that detracts somewhat from the goal of the show. It’s really hard to communicate the message of personal relevance if it seems like the character who emulates the problem is too far beyond the realm of possibility for the viewer.
What is your big highlight in the show and what do we learn about your character when you perform it?
My character only appears in two scenes, but these two scenes really show a lot about him. He is an intellectual who really only cares about rules, legalities, and regulations. He is also very strict and somewhat impulsive.
What have you learned about yourself during this whole process?
I’ve seen a lot of issues with military mentalities. I think this show has helped me to understand those and it has given my some ideas of how to keep myself from falling onto these mentalities. It has also increased my interest in my own cultural heritage.
What do you want audiences to take with them after watching you perform in Translations?
I hope audiences will gain the same things I have from this show. I also hope we can take them for the ride of a lifetime. There should be some great laughs, some brilliantly sad moments, and some moments that will keep the viewers on the edge of their seats. This show should be very rewarding visually, with a stunning set, and very impressive aurally, due to our live Irish band.
What roles would you like to play in the future?
I just want to continue my involvement. Frankly, I’ll be ready and excited about any role that comes my way. This is a great group and it’s always an honor to work with them!
Meet the Cast of ‘Translations’ at Masqueraders at the United States Naval Academy–Part 1: Jonson Henry.
Meet the Cast of ‘Translations’ at the Masqueraders at The United States Naval Academy–Part 2: Chris Hudson.
Meet the Cast of ‘Translations’ at the Masqueraders at The United States Naval Academy Part 3: Megan Rausch.