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Jenna Horton And The Birth Of Etna

Posted April 23rd, 2013

“I never thought I’d be doing solo-performance. I have a love/hate relationship working alone.”

Hello Etna Mounting!

Hello Etna Mounting!

Jenna Horton, a Philadelphia-based performing artist, brings her one-person performance work Mounting, Etna, May 13 and 14 to Jumpstart, the annual FringeArts showcase designed to identify new and emerging talent in the field of live performance. 2013’s Jumpstart features six artists/companies performing short works, and we here at FringeArts Blog thought we’d catch up with them. Today’s artist—Jenna!

Since attending the Headlong Performance Institute in 2009, Jenna Horton has worked with a number of local companies, including Inis Nua, The Berserker Residents, Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, The Bearded Ladies, Applied Mechanics, and Shakespeare in Clark Park.  She is currently a resident artist at Plays and Players Theater and holds a B.A. in performance studies from Brown University. Check out her website: jennabethhorton.apostrophenow.com, if you’re into that sort of thing (checking out websites, that is).

FringeArts: Why is your show title Mounting, Etna? What inspired its creation?

Jenna Horton: The title is intentionally multivalent, as is a lot of the poetry in the show. For starters, there’s the physical action of mounting, as in mounting Etna as if she were a horse—your horse—or a person—your person [as in belonging to you]. Or you could be mounting her on your wall like you would a painting. Or maybe she’s doing that to you. Mind you, I’m also mounting the show of Etna. Not to mention, there’s a volcano on the east coast of Sicily named Mount Etna that’s very active and provides for the fertile soils surrounding the area. My parents also live in Etna, New Hampshire; but that’s more of a coincidence.

The birth of Etna came from the crashing of two things. I started a notebook a while back and labeled it “bad poetry” and have been putting stuff in it since. When I looked back over it, I realized many of the poems were cut from a similar cloth and could be interesting in a grouping. I started to get an idea for a woman that might host a cooking show, but she wouldn’t be in a kitchen. She’d be in a library and would pull out whisks from desks and smash eggs in books. The piece didn’t quite end up that way, but that was the initial impulse, which eventually combined with Carl Cork, another character of mine. He’s an older man who’s a hermit and deathly afraid of the world, so runs a radio show out of his basement to reach out to people. Anyway, I was working on him a lot, and getting tired of playing this guy who was SO sensitive and SO sad and SO scared and just SO, SO stuck. Instead, I kept wanting to be a WOMAN and a HUNGRY woman at that, who wasn’t as scared of the world but wanted to eat it and kill it even.

FringeArts: Where did you grow up?

Jenna Horton: I grew up in Denver, Colorado. Denver is beautiful, the weather is amazing, and the people are kind. And you can’t beat the close access to the Rockies or the amount of BIG SKY out there. Too many malls though. And everything is spread out and lots of new development, which I like less.  Lots of health nuts that wear their outdoor gear and bike or run. When I was a kid, there were a lot of prairie dogs there too.

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