In Part 5 of a series of interviews with the cast of Boeing, Boeing at Montgomery Playhouse, meet Jason Damaso.
Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you in the past year on local stages?
I have been performing my whole life, but I am actually relatively new to theatre. I did a few plays in school as a kid, but I was primarily a musician for much of my life. After college, I moved to New York and did stand-up comedy for a few years before moving to the DC area. I discovered theatre about five years ago and was immediately hooked! Because of my music background, I tend to do a lot of musicals. Most recently, people may have seen me as Prince Herbert in Zemfira’s summer production of Spamalot or as Duke in RMT’s production of The Great American Trailer Park Musical here at the Arts Barn. Arts Barn regulars may have also seen me in Damascus Theatre Company’s productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels or the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Why did you want to be part of Montgomery Playhouse’s production of Boeing, Boeing?
I love doing comedy. Before I started doing theatre, I was a stand-up comic, so I love hearing an audience laugh. I’d never had a chance to do a real farce like Boeing Boeing though, so when I heard about the auditions, I jumped at it!
What did you perform at your audition and where were you when you got the call that you had the role?
We did cold readings from the script. I was not at all familiar with the script before the auditions, so it truly was a cold reading for me. It was a fun audition. There were so many talented people there – all doing different accents. I was thrilled when Lisa called me at home the next night to offer me the role of Bernard.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to your character?
I play Bernard, a swinging British bachelor living in Paris in the 1960’s. He’s engaged to three different air hostesses from three different countries who fly in and out of his life each week on a very precise schedule. He’s confident, loves his life, and believes that nothing can ever go wrong… until it does. That’s what I like best about him. He doesn’t spend a lot of time or energy worrying about what might go wrong. He just takes things as they come and figures it out as he goes. I often wish I could be more like that, so it was fun to play a character who is willing to just throw caution to the wind.
What advice and suggestions did Director Lisa Holland give you that helped you prepare for your role? Have you worked with Lisa before? And how would you describe her style of directing?
This is my first time working with Lisa and I’m really enjoying it. She really encouraged us to think about who our characters are beyond what is obvious in the script and to incorporate it into what we are doing onstage, always pushing us to experiment and try new things. I like that she’s open to hearing our ideas and incorporating them into the story.
Have you appeared in or seen other productions of Boeing Boeing before and who did you play and how is this production different and unique?
No. This has been my first exposure to Boeing Boeing.
What is your favorite scene in the show that you are not in and what is your favorite scene that you are in?
I love the beginning of the second scene in Act 1 between Bertha and Robert. The dialogue in that scene is just so funny. They have a really fun chemistry together. The delivery of the lines is just priceless. As for scenes that I’m in, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think the end of Act 2 when everything is falling apart is the most fun scene to play. Rehearsals for that scene have been a blast. It’s hard to keep from laughing myself.
Which character in the show is most like you and why?
That’s an interesting question. In real life, I think I’m more like Robert than anyone else. I really relate to the way he bumbles through life, never quite sure of what to do next. I think we all feel like that sometimes when we are in an unfamiliar situation. And I love Bertha. Her attitude and the verbal zingers she throws out.
What do you admire most about your fellow castmates’ performances?
I love how everyone has succeeded in developing their characters into real people. These characters could easily come across as one-dimensional, but they don’t. They are all complex interesting people. The audience is never really sure how they are going to react to the various situations and that really adds to the comedic value of the show.
How did you prepare for your role and what were the biggest challenges you faced and how did you resolve them?
The biggest challenge for me was that on the surface, Bernard and I have absolutely nothing in common. I had to really explore all the more subtle elements of his character to find the things about him that I could relate to in order to make him into a believable character.
Why should audience goers bring their families to see Boeing Boeing?
I wouldn’t recommend this show for young children. Teenagers and adults should come prepared to laugh out loud and have a great time!
Boeing Boeing plays from February 13-March 1, 2015 at The Montgomery Playhouse performing at The Gaithersburg Arts Barn-311 Kent Square Road, in Gaithersburg, MD. For tickets,call (301) 258-6394, or purchase them online.
Meet the Cast of ‘Boeing, Boeing’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 1: Renetta Morelli.
Meet the Cast of ‘Boeing, Boeing’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 2: Jim Breen.
Meet the Cast of ‘Boeing, Boeing’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 3: Anne Vandercook
Meet the Cast of ‘Boeing, Boeing’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 4: Christina Fox.