Written by 12:28 am interview, News, Press Releases, Theater, Uncategorized

Erica Jackson or (no limit) – Actor Erica Jackson

Written by Patrick Chavis

If you’ve had any longevity in the Fullerton Theater scene during the last decade, especially at STAGEtheatre, formerly in Fullerton, before its closing in 2020, STAGEStheatre confirms they will be closing their doors because of the Pandemic. Then you’ve most likely seen Erica Jackson, an actor and artist who has played a myriad of different characters throughout the county. Winning a Best Young Actor Award from O.C.R. in 2016 for Dog See God at STAGEtheatre, O.C.R. reviewer Scotty Keister said this about Jackson’s acting in 2016.

Dog Sees God @ STAGEStheatre (2016) P.C.:STAGESTheatre

“In two shows at Stages Theater this year, Dog Sees God and Absolute Turkey, Erica Jackson showed impeccable comedic ability and a natural acting gift that promised great things to come. With a head of wild hair and a face that brings to mind Helena Bonham Carter, and with the comic timing of Tina Fey, in one scene Erica stole the show in Dog Sees God. Then, in Absolute Turkey, she got the chance to show off her physical comedy skills. Erica has a genuine quality that never appears forced or acted.”

Crimes of the Heart (2018) STAGEStheatre P.C.:STAGESTheatre Jeremy Krasovic, Erica Jackson

Keister’s thoughts in 2016 about Jackson’s talent continue to hold up. While I never saw those specific productions, I did see Beth Henly’s play Crimes of the Heart at STAGEStheatre, and Jackson played a fantastic Meg in that production. Most recently, I watched Jackson play a young boy named Zealand in the production of Weirdo or (make nice) at the Larking House. In short, it was a tremendously touching story about the relationship between two young cousins growing up, with a lot of the joy and the pain that comes with it. It was one of my favorite plays of 2023 in the Orange County area, so much so that it won the O.C.R. Best Writing Award in 2023 for Playwright Simon Jo Martin.

As much as I loved the new, original script, Jackson’s performance was a stand-out. When you watch as many shows as I do, you tend to forget a lot, but I never forget the great ones. This was one of them. Jackson captured childish wonder and anguish in their performance and laid it out for the audience. Also, Jackson could play the character honestly without making it a joke, which is challenging when you are obviously not the age of the character you’re playing. Zealand is a young boy in Elementary school while Jackson was in their mid-20s, when they performed the role. As I mentioned in my review,  “They made it work right in front of your eyes. No tricks, just good acting.”

“I think the role that I enjoyed the most and identified with the most was Zealand in Weirdo or (make nice), Jackson said after asking them about their favorite role so far in Orange County Theatre.

weirdo or (make nice) Larking House (2023) Erica Jackson,Sibohan Aida Photo credit: Lizzy McCabe

Jackson elaborated on this show/performance and much more from their Fullerton Apartment via Zoom chat.

“I think after my first read-through of the entire script, I had an idea when I did my audition when I read just a monologue. But then, once I read through the entire script, it absolutely blew my mind. Writer-director Simon J. Martin reached in and grabbed my heart,” Jackson recalled.

Jackson discussed their character almost like an old friend they hadn’t seen in a while.

weirdo or (make nice) Larking House (2023) Sibohan Aida, Erica Jackson Photo credit: Lizzy McCabe

“I didn’t realize how special it was going to be to meet as a person. Getting to play Zealand was an absolute joy. That’s the most fun I’ve had in a role in a long time. Probably since high school,” said Jackson.

“It helped me tap into that joy that I think so many adults lose becoming adults. It came at the right time.” said Jackson.

Jackson described their time on this show as a special experience getting to work on the first fully staged production of the play, and their access to the playwright was a plus.

“I think it only informed my performance more. I could pick Simon’s brain about the character that they wrote. And Simon and I worked really well together.” “It was so cool, because it was so personal to them.”

LACK @ Wayward Artist (2023)

Zealand was the first time in a while that Jackson could dig deep and use their character acting chops since their role as the Cat in Cat in the Hat in high school.

 “I loved playing a little neurodivergent boy. it was perfect because that’s who I am at my core.”

When Jackson isn’t acting on the stage, they are also involved behind the scenes with scenic painting & design.

“I got into scenic design and scenic painting at Fullerton College. Go Hornets! I was a crap student my first two years. I was in there getting my BA in performing arts, and I never made it past Acting B.”

“So rather than fail out, Kevin Clowes, the technical director, came to me, and he said, ‘Hey, I see you, and I’m not gonna let you do this.'”

Clowes was pivotal in Jackson’s development as a scenic designer and painter and encouraged them to pursue a scenic art and painter certification program.

Scenic painter & Set Dressing: Erica Jackson Erica Jackson, Genevive Kauper, Spike Pulice A Streetcar Named Desire @ Santa Ana College (2023) photo credit: Matthew M. Hayashi

“I took a bunch of painting classes, design classes, scenic design classes, obviously scenic painting classes, and all that time I was under the tutelage of Kevin Clowes who is just an incredible person.”

Jackson worked on sets for the college as a student. When they graduated with their certificate, Clowes hired Jackson, and they worked as a faculty member at F.C.C. for a few years.

As a scenic designer and painter, Jackson has worked with several SoCal Theatres, The Long Beach Playhouse, Chance Theater, Curtis Theatre, and The Larking House.

Twilight Time (2024) | Horror Short Film (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIaEyeqyL68)

As a queer actor, Jackson was very passionate when talking about their desire to see more LGBTQ Stories told on the stage.

“I think something that we always need more of, and we especially need more of right now, is queer [LGBTQ theater].”

“The conversations are starting to be had, and there are shows out there, you know, for queer LGBTQ. characters by LGBTQ people,” Jackson explained when asked about what’s being done about getting these stories told in Orange County.

“I think that the scales are a little imbalanced at this point,” Jackson explained.  As a non-binary actor, one day, they would like to play a non-binary character in front of an audience.

Clybourne Park 2015 (F.J.C.)

Twelfth Night 2015 (F.J.C.)

Dog Sees God 2016 (STAGES)

An Absolute Turkey 2016 (STAGES)

W.A.S.P. 2017 (F.J.C.)

The Tempest 2018 (Alchemy)

Crimes of the Heart 2018 (STAGES)

The Twilight Zone 2019 (STAGES)

LACK 2022 (Wayward Artist)

Weirdo (or, Make Nice) 2023 (Larking House)

A Streetcar Named Desire 2023 (S.A.C.)

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