Patrick Jackson: sophomore star on stage


Moises Dominguez

THERE’S SOMETHING THERE: Patrick Jackson (10) as the Beast and Ellie Banke (12) have a heart to heart

Audrey Dwyer, In-Depth Editor

When sophomore Patrick Jackson went to go see Addams Family with his parents in the eighth grade, he thought that there was no way he could be involved with something so complex.  But in the past year, Jackson has scored a number of lead roles in multiple DGN productions, including the role of the Beast in this spring’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.”


For Jackson, the transition from performing in Herrick Middle School’s yearly musicals to being a part of DGN’s shows was daunting. The first show he performed in was “Rhinoceros.”  During this time, he learned the ins and outs of theater and got to know DGN’s theater community. Since then, Jackson has acted in every DGN production, including this year’s varsity show– a show that is produced over the summer– “Over the Tavern.”  This was Jackson’s favorite show.


“[The cast members] knew each other already but we got to know each other so much more.  And the show itself is so heartwarming that it brought us together through the characters, through inside jokes and a bunch of other things,” Jackson said.


“Over the Tavern” was also the first show that Jackson had a lead role in. He played the role of Georgie, a mentally challenged child.  Then he played Montgomery, a “sort of” doctor in “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” Marcus, a nervous bank robber who’s just trying to do his best in the one-act “Bank Withdrawal Symptoms,” and now the Beast. This is a huge jump from his humble role as a bartender in “Rhinoceros.”


While casting for “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” director Stephanie Beck was impressed by Jackson’s fearlessness and ability to share the stage.  These qualities are the reason Jackson scored the lead role of Montgomery.


“When he was reading for different characters, he made distinctly different choices or each of those characters, which showed commitment first and foremost and variety of choice,” Beck said.  “And I was also looking to see during auditions, how he interacts with his peers. If he’s sharing the stage with somebody, are they sharing space? Are they making eye contact? Is there energy flowing between them?  Or are they just focusing on the [script] in their hand?”


DGN theater has helped Jackson mature as an actor.  Previously, Jackson had been eager to change parts of a character or a show or to give his character an eccentric background story.  But now, he’s learned to see where a role will take him.


“You should have fun in acting but at the same time, you should realize that you have a role to play and you shouldn’t change it up too much,” Jackson said.


At the same time, Jackson has also learned to add depth to his character, the Beast.  He’s trying to balance being a cartoon character without being too static.


“Going in depth with such a complex character like the Beast is something I’ll have to go back to my roots for and start doing for this show.  And I have been. I’ve been trying to dig deep, but at the same time I’m trying to remember that this is just a Disney show and I don’t need to be gritty and grimy for this one.”


Jackson also looks to other performers for inspiration.  In order to prepare for his role of Georgie in “Over the Tavern” Jackson watched films such as “Rain Man” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”  Now, Jackson looks to Dan Stevens’s performance in “Beauty and the Beast” (2017) to understand how to portray the emotional balance between melancholy and anger.