Although Jessica Haring earned a degree in cultural and linguistic anthropology at Loyola University in 2012, it’s theater that’s capturing her heart these days.
“I did my first play at the Adobe Rose Theatre when I starred as Cherie in “Bus Stop” a year ago,” says Haring, who has lived in Santa Fe for the past four years. “While I was working on the play, I heard about “H2O” by Jane Martin. I was looking for a future creative challenge and decided to start Vixenlocks Production company and have “H2O” be the first play.”
“H2O” is presented May 3-5 at the Zephyr Community Art Center and stars Haring as Deborah Elling and Julian Fontaine Fox as Jake Abadjian.
It’s a dark comedy about a young man (Jake) who arrives in Los Angeles and becomes a star in Hollywood’s sleazy celebrity culture. When he is offered the opportunity to appear on Broadway in “Hamlet,” he seeks out his Ophelia and encounters his muse and match in a young evangelical Christian woman (Deborah) determined to get the role and save his life.
“The role of Deborah hits pretty close to home,” explains Haring, who grew up in a conservative evangelical family in Ohio and recently faced the difficult task of coming out to her family members. “It’s a role I needed to do. It’s been a deeply cathartic experience for me since my role as an actor is to advocate for my character. I’ve had to put myself in the place of someone who reminds me so much of very conservative members of my Ohio community who have not accepted me.”
Haring met her co-star through her director Paris Mancini, who studied filmmaking at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and is also a hairdresser. “Paris cut my hair in her apartment where I met Julian, her partner,” Haring adds. “Julian has lots of theater experience, which has really helped me a lot. He knows how to be on stage.”
While “H2O” tackles difficult topics, such as sexual assault and rape, and has a tragic ending, Haring assures audience members that there are surprising moments of humor and clever jokes throughout the script that lighten the production.