20% Theatre Company is thrilled to present Rapture, Blister, Burn by Gina Gionfriddo at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage April 26 – May 10, 2014. Learn a little bit about the artists involved in this production. In this interview, meet Jenna Rose Graupmann!
Can you tell us a little but about yourself and your background? How/when/why did you get into theatre?
My name is Jenna Rose Graupmann. I graduated last May from the University of Northern Iowa with an undergraduate degree in Theatrical Design and Production, as well as minors in Art History and French Language. Ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon, I’ve considered myself a visual artist, however, I’ve always been intrigued by theatre as visual spectacle meets storytelling. I became limitedly involved with theatre in high school, but it wasn’t until entering UNI that I discovered how well my artistic talent could accent the collaborative creativity of theatre.
Tell us how you originally got involved with 20% Theatre Company?
Rapture, Blister, Burn is my debut with 20% Theatre Company. While participating in summer stock in Utah in 2012, I heard about 20% Theatre and the thought-provoking plays that are produced there. After researching more about the company and others in the Twin Cities, I realized that I wanted to design shows that were not only entertaining, but which also shed light on contemporary societal issues. This knowledge also prompted me to move here after graduating from UNI to pursue a freelance career in costume design.
What are you designing in this show? As a designer, what do you find most exciting about working with this script/production?
I’m designing costumes for Rapture and am so thrilled to be working on this production with the company that first inspired me to move to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I’ve always considered myself a feminist, and so it was easy to fall in love with Gianfriddo’s script and the questions posed therein.
What is your favorite genre or type of theater to design? What are some plays on your design “dream list”?
My favorite shows to design are shows that raise thought-provoking issues with complex characters. Equally, however, I also love to design period shows with intricate costume needs. I would love to design a classic comedy like The Importance of Being Earnest, My Fair Lady, or Tartuffe.
Rapture, Blister, Burn is often called “a feminist play”. How would you describe the play? How do you feel about feminism and what it signifies today?
Feminism has always been a constantly evolving movement, serving every generation of complex women and their societal needs. The women of Rapture, Blister, Burn try to identify how feminist ideals have impacted their lives, only to discover that there are numerous, oftentimes contradictory, ways to exemplify feminism in everyday life. Today, many think that the “feminist fight” is over. This notion is completely absurd. The media still bombards our culture with patriarchal views: Katie Couric’s journalism is secondary to her wardrobe choices, action movie heroines are valued only for their sex appeal, domestic abuse and rape are the subject of jokes, and women still earn only 77 cents to every man’s dollar. Feminism has made a lot of progress if the women in Rapture can find fulfillment as stay-at-home mothers, activists, and students, but obviously not all of the questions posed by Rapture have been answered.
How do you personally balance the expectations of being female in our society with the concepts of feminism in your daily life?
I think that by supporting myself financially, graduating from a university, and avoiding the media’s bombardment in television and popular magazines, I’ve upheld many expectations of what feminism means today. Granted, I probably still spend too much money on lingerie, clothing, and cosmetic products, and I quite enjoy when my boyfriend treats me to dinner, but I like to think that my priorities in balancing my agenda as a career woman and that of a silly 20-something girl are well placed!
What else do you do in the world, outside of theatre and/or working on this production?
In the world outside of the costume shop, I like to paint, visit art museums, ride my bike, and explore my new Twin Cities home.
Favorite guilty pleasure snack?
My favorite guilty pleasure snack is a Tim-Tam slam. If you aren’t familiar with this Australian cookie-meets-hot-cocoa phenomenon, it’s high time you googled it!
How did you get to Minneapolis? (Where did you grow up? Where are you from?)
I’m originally from the Quad Cities and have visited family in Minnesota often. The vibrant theatre community prompted me to move to St. Paul post-graduation (see second question), and since then I have been delighted to call the Twin Cities my home.