We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff Lowe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeff, what inspires you?
I am inspired by the kindness and determination of community theatres. As a theatre owner without a home, Alchemy is dependent on other theatres opening their hearts and doors to us. Many theatres have done this with such grace and generosity that it inspires me to do the same for others. They let us in, they never try to mark up the price, they are stepping aside to let others create in their own houses, and for that I am eternally grateful. Alchemy is both a creation and living embodiment of the kindness in our theatre community, and it is that kindness that allows us to live and thrive. When we have our own space, it is that inspiration of kindness that will ensure we pay it forward. The determination comes from the term community theatre itself. Nearly every person I have ever met in my life of theatre is not just working a theatre job; they are working a day job, sometimes a day job, night job, and weekend job when they do not have shows. They are teachers, paralegals, nurses, working full days and then coming to the theatre to work again. Community theatre creatives, actors, directors, stage managers, designers, front of house, are working double time to create, and quite often, are producing even more engaging pieces of art than their full-time counterparts. It is that dedication that inspires me to carry on and continue telling tales.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I come into this with a lot of different perspectives as I am a theatre owner, director, producer, writer, teacher, and actor. I suppose that sets me apart in that I often times have had to wear many hats and as a result I have had the opportunity to relate to many different disciplines in theatre. Nothing in theatre is easy though and a lot of it is trial and error; failure is perhaps the best teacher. Nothing worthwhile happens overnight and if you’re good, you likely failed a lot at first. However, it is the passion for art that convinces you to throw yourself at the wall of creation again, and determination is what finally pushes you over the finish line. Then there is another finish line. What I have learned from the need to be versed in multiple disciplines is that no one part of theatre is enough. Not even a one-man show is just a one-man show. There might only be one man on stage, but that stage is full of creations by countless others. Nothing in theatre exists in a vacuum. That is where the ideology of Alchemy comes from. I say it before each show as well: Alchemy is a process of transforming, creating, or combining individual items through effort, passion, and dedication, into a finished product that, to others, would seem magical. That is what Alchemy is, and that is what we believe in; that it takes all elements: lighting, actors, sets, our audience, and more, to make the magic of theatre a reality.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am a socially anxious person by nature, so I find that the places where the least amount of pressure exist are best. Additionally, having been in quarantine for nearly a year makes me wonder what I could even enjoy in public anymore! Prior though, I would have to say a taste of everything is key over a week. I have a sushi place, Wafu of Japan, that is one of my favorites and can make a convert out of just about anyone. It also leaves plenty of time to talk between bites. I enjoy going on a wine tour in Temecula, taking in the sights and sunsets. I would encourage them to also get up to Big Bear as the sense of the woods is wonderful in juxtaposition to the city. Then of course a smorgasbord of theatre; a community theatre production of something thought provoking, outdoor Shakespeare at the Old Globe, dinner show party atmosphere like the Rockwell (was still operating at time of this interview, a great loss), and something big and full of spectacle at the Pantages. The key for me is to choose things that encourage topics of conversation without leaving too much room for awkward pauses.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I certainly want to give a shout out to the other original members of Alchemy who helped start this journey, but the great constant in my life has been my parents. They have always supported me in every endeavor and with Alchemy they are even more supportive. I don’t know where I would be without their guidance.
Amy Lauren Gettys, Alchemy Theatre Company, Brea Curtis, and Chance Theatre