Who: Jenny Latimer, conservatory actor.
Latimer began the summer as Dora in An Octoroon and returns to Bratton Theater’s stage as June Bennett in Into the Breeches!. The actor describes her latest character as a “go-getter” who fully invests herself in a female-led production of Shakespeare’s Henriad.
Where she’s from: From Orem, Utah, Latimer is the oldest of eight siblings and has 11 nieces and nephews with another on the way.
“The Latimers are going to be around for a while,” she said. “We’re not going anywhere.”
First theatrical memory: In her fourth-grade musical, Latimer played Cinderella.
“I had every line in that show memorized,” she said. “My mom said I could read the entire script from start to finish.”
She has since played the princess in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Into the Woods and The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf.
Proudest theatrical moment: Latimer said she was recently challenged in a production of The Cake at PlayMakers Repertory Company, where she played a lesbian woman torn between her family’s religious beliefs and her wedding fantasies. Latimer said the character’s struggle echoed her own departure from her family members’ beliefs.
“I still have love and adoration for the people behind me and the play is very loving, I would say, to the conservative right, which we do not often see because I think theater is definitely a liberal art, figuratively and literally,” Latimer said.
What she’s reading: Off the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle 2018 book list, Latimer read The Changeling by Victor LaValle.
What she’s watching: “Better Call Saul” and “Killing Eve.”
What she’s listening to: Latimer’s favorite podcast is “RadioLab.”
Favorite color: Any shade of blue — except for baby blue.
Favorite way to relax: Latimer loves playing board and card games, from poker to Settlers of Catan.
What’s next: Latimer will direct Romeo and Juliet later this year at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She previously made her directing debut with The Kritik, a play that examines the role of art critics in small towns.
“It’s a great piece for undergrads because there are 10 roles, and they are all pretty much equal in length and arc,” Latimer said.
Why Chautauqua: Latimer was recruited to join the conservatory last summer, but was unable to live on the grounds due to her involvement with The Cake. Latimer said she auditioned again this summer to study her craft while being intellectually stimulated by Chautauqua’s programming.
“I know that the actors have been given more free time than in years past, and I think that’s been of great importance because I’ve been able to see John Irving’s lecture and to go to the opera and to the ballet, and I’ve felt it’s been a much more holistic experience,” Latimer said. “It’s hard as actors because sometimes we get so myopic about acting that we’re not enriching our lives to make us better actors, to make us more interesting humans.”
“Her husband enlisted after Pearl Harbor, and she’s gung-ho about everything she can do to help the cause,” Latimer said. “I think she wants to remain busy because this person, her love, is gone overseas.”