This is the seventh in a series of interviews with the cast of The Masqueraders’ production of Translations. Meet Jett Watson.
Joel: Introduce yourself to our readers and tell them what other shows you have appeared in and some of the roles you have played.
Jett: My name is Jett Utah Watson, I am from Lubbock, Texas, and I’m a junior here at the Academy. I’ve acted every year here; most notably I was Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest last year.
Why did you want to be in Translations produced by the United States Naval Academy’s Masqueraders?
I love the atmosphere of the theatre. I love producing something so tangible, yet utterly incomprehensible. Just a couple days after the show, there won’t be a single sign we were ever here, but hopefully we’ll leave a mark on some folks.
What does this production of Translations say to your generation?
That’s a tough one. Cultural sensitivity is important? Pay attention to the arts? Let your life be romantic, even if it’s risky? I’m not sure what it will say. The message is, and should be, different for everyone.
Who do you play in Translations and how do you relate to your character?
I’m Owen Hugh Mor. He left home, comes back completely different, maybe a little bit of a traitor, but remembers his roots in the end. Personally, I feel my transition between West Texas and the DC area, and every time I return home, matches Owen’s homecoming. I do hope that I am not a traitor, though. Owen is also described as a handsome, genial fellow, which I’d like to think is a typecasting on my part.
What do you admire about your character and what do you not admire?
Owen gets along with everyone; he’s very gregarious and curious and fun to be around. At the same time, he tends to trick himself into believing his own fibs and fables just to avoid facing difficult truths.
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?
Owen’s internal struggle between his roots and his choices in life – portraying that is difficult. It’s such a literary concept, the internal struggle. How can I show people that conflict? We’re still working through it at this point, but my director has shown me how external conflicts can reflect the internal quite well.
What is your big highlight in the show and what do we learn about your character when you perform it?
There’s a monologue I’ve got in Act II that’s fun and frightening all at the same time. After drinking and working on this map for hours and hours, I run about the stage, acting out some centuries-old story behind the name of a little crossroads. It’s the point of greatest conflict for Owen, externally and internally, and it happens right in the middle of the show. The audience can really see how Owen adores his home and its history, but his more pragmatic concerns have overridden this adoration throughout his life.
What have you learned about yourself during this whole process?
My lessons from shows tend to pop up later, after I’ve forgotten things. It’s hard for me to fully shed a character after closing night; I still find myself discussing society like Lady Bracknell at times. I’m a little worried that I’ll slip into Owen’s accent when I’m speaking to someone important, but maybe that would just make the conversation more interesting.
What do you want audiences to take with them after watching you perform in Translations?
I’d really like them to think, “Wow, those Masqueraders sure can put on a professional performance!” We’re the oldest extracurricular activity at this school. That’s a long tradition of performance that I’d like to pop into peoples’ heads when they think of the Naval Academy just as much as “Football” or “Engineering.”
What roles would you like to play in the future?
I’m up for anything, really. I like theatre that makes people uncomfortable. When you feel it in your gut that something is wrong or right or good or bad, that is exactly when theatre is doing its job of transferring knowledge.
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.
Meet the Cast of The Masqueraders’ ‘Translations’ at The United States Naval Academy–Part 4: Portia Norkaitis.
Meet the Cast of The Masqueraders’ ‘Translations’ at The United States Naval Academy–Part 5: Ward Ellis Scott, III.
Meet the Cast of The Masqueraders’ ‘Translations’ at The United States Naval Academy–Part 6: Leith Daghistani.
Meet the Cast of The Masqueraders’ ‘Translations’ at The United States Naval Academy–Part 7: Jett Watson.