The music for our upcoming world premiere musical, Folk Wandering, was composed collaboratively by nine emerging singer songwriters. In advance of our first performance on February 23, we’ll be sharing interviews with each of these composers, as well as with many of the key artists involved in the production. These conversations will bring you inside this show’s very unique process of creation, and bring you a bit closer to this brilliant and wild group of emerging artists. Today, we are pleased to bring you a spotlight on composer Jo Lampert.
Read the full interview below and get your tickets to performances February 23 – March 18 today!
Pipeline Theatre Company: How do you identify as an artist?
Jo Lampert: I identify as a performer. I feel closest to this term because it can encompass a multitude of interests — acting, singing, playing accordion, dj’ing, moving/dancing — and so it feels limitless in its potential energy and possibilities! The baseline to my creative drive and passion, though, has always been, and remains to be, music.
PTC: How did you come to work on Folk Wandering?
JL: Wow the inception of this project was a long time ago now, so I am not sure I remember my exact entrance into it. But I believe I was connected to it via a direct ask from Andrew Neisler and Jaclyn Backhaus (who I went to Playwrights Horizons Theatre School with at Tisch). I remember being so excited because I knew it would be a collaborative, devised style of creation (jumping off from an incredible script Jaclyn had already drafted) and I knew most of the folks in the first iteration of the process from school. We did our first workshop of it in the very building where many of us met. What a thrill!
PTC: What has been exciting to you about working with so many collaborators?
JL: There are distinct harmonies (both literal and figurative) that come from bringing together so many unique voices into one creative space. The particular excitement for me in this process has been in watching so many perspectives taking shape along the three different storylines and time periods in this piece. I have learned so much from each of these collaborators, and was freed in this space from the internal fear I usually have about improvising or calling myself a “writer” or… you know… et cetera et cetera. By working with so many collaborators, there is never a shortage of experimentation, and no idea is good or bad because there isn’t time to evaluate on such a binary, instead grey and/or rainbow is where the most epic creation lives. Those moments occur where suddenly story and musical paths align, or harmonic and visual dissonance is created with intention, and a large group of voices suddenly becomes one unison voice, and it is so riveting — especially because you know that in mere moments, the voices will fan and span out again and become multitudes… it’s a beautiful cycle.
PTC: What big dreams have you been chasing recently?
JL: I decided to enter 2018 with the word EXPANSIVE in mind. How it’s taking shape? It’s felt like a direct leap into the unknown — making space, creating room for new doors and windows to open, which can be scary because one never knows if tangible opportunities will come or if something kinetic will fill that new potential-energized space. But the dream I am chasing is to give over in some way to the universe and see what exists, even in an intangible sense — chasing a kind of calm exploration and driven self-motivation to keep momentum even in the quiet of free time. and to dream of opportunities that will be challenging and that carve out new terrain, whether that’s on screen, on stage, or in the comfort of a coffee shop on my block where I might try to free-write and see what comes as I try to enliven and increase my own imagination.
PTC: What aspect of the Folk Wandering story do you most relate to?
JL: I think many of us relate to feeling misplaced, out of place and/or displaced. And these themes within the Folk Wandering story — the want to hide and run in combination with the deep want to be seen and understood, to find home or always be searching for one — are what i connect most with.
I also identify with the craving for a sense of community, and the importance of a found family as much as those tied to us by blood. It’s amazing because this story was built and created alongside a a found family of collaborators, and that’s reflected in many aspects within the theatrical story itself!