(An Appreciation of Jon Farris
The Psychiatrist in Patient #1)
Special Thanks to Marilyn Sundinhttp://
Jon Farris has spent an illustrious career acting, directing and teaching theater. From 1981 until 2002 he chaired the Theater department of Denison University where he admirably performed each of these separate disciplines. He is famed not only for Lear at Ohio State University and the Macbeth he directed at Denison, but also for his turns in drag as Wilde's Lady Bracknell and a variety of "lovelies" featured in A Tuna Christmas. He is also well noted for taking roles on the fly. When Richard Oblerlin bowed out of the Cleveland Play House's production of Orphans, Farris received a call on a Tuesday casting him for a major role for that week's Thursday matinee. Adding to the mix were final exam acting projects scheduled for his review on that Wednesday. That pretty much left Thursday morning on the plane to Cleveland to nail the part. For that tour de force alone the gods should have given him the film role instead of Finney.
The pages that follow will list most of his illustrious credits. What concerns this short note is a rather odd alignment of talent that falls within its purview. This concerns Mr. Farris and a pair dramatists, also celebrated by Another America. That pair is Donald Freed and Ronald Harwood.
Donald Freed wrote Secret Honor in the early 1980s. It was filmed by Robert Altman in 1984 and starred Phillip Baker Hall as Richard Nixon. Farris began playing the role in 1985 and has toured the country in the role for the last two decades. Ronald Harwood wrote Taking Sides in the mid 1990s. Farris landed the role of Furtwangler for CATCO'S production in the summer of 1997. Farris received best acting awards for both Freed's Nixon and Harwood's Furtwangler. Now here is the odd alignment: Freed and Harwood are both world class dramatists and have, as well, been close friends for decades but neither had ever met Farris.* Freed is the inspiration behind Another America.org, the Another America Press, the Another America Journal and the Donald Freed Symposium. The web designers who bring you these pages selected Freed as the first artist to celebrate, herewithin. Shortly before wining the Academy Award for The Pianist, Harwood had visited the Freed Symposium in Los Angeles. He, thereafter, was selected to be the 2nd artist "saluted" by Another America.org. Now after Donald Freed's World Premiere of The Death of Ivan Ilych, starring Jon Farris as Ivan, Mr. Farris becomes the third person accorded the distinction and the triad is complete --
who would have 'thunk" it?
*I'm not completely certain of this, in the case of Harwood--but I am always reluctant to let the truth spoil the impact of a good story.
Now Mr. Farris has crossed the pond to concoct a cure for an otherwise moribund George W. Bush--we wish him God's speed and good hunting--it is a cure that the world, as well, is much in need of...
A Life of Theatre
Profiles in Nixon--Secret Honor and Nixon's Nixon
It's a Drag: Farris as Wilde's Lady Bracknell
& Farris as "other" beauties from A Tuna Christmas
A Lovely Miscellany:
Taking Sides, Sleuth, Clarence Darrow, The Miser, Purgatory, and King Lear
Jonathan R. Reynolds' Stonewall Jackson's House