Blog Post by T.J. Elliott
When Joe Queenan and I first created the character of famous lawyer Hamilton Hunt in Genealogy, our problem comedy in which “a shocking ancestral connection revealed during the taping of a reality podcast incites a series of surprising negotiations and unanticipated antics among its participants”, we drew for that figure upon attorneys we knew personally as well as famous attorneys whom many of us have viewed on television over the last few decades. While we didn’t seek to imitate any of those individuals, they served as useful reference points while we wrote and rewrote and rethought and revised and finally reached the finish line for the text, which is our third work to receive a production. In a Zoom table reading last April, I got to meet Donavon Armbruster and he did what good actors do: he brought the character of Hamilton Hunt alive in ways that neither Joe nor I had imagined but that make the story unfolding in our play compelling, comedic, and true. The last part is the most difficult and this cast including Donavon together with our director Dana Pellebon, assistant director, Martha E. White, and stage manager Karl Reinhardt astonished me in the two rehearsals I was able to see as they immediately made the story real in a way I could only hope would happen.
Donavon enjoys great familiarity with the process of taking a playwright’s text and making it real. He has been acting for over 45 years, both professionally and non-professionally, appearing in well over 100 productions When he starred in the film, The Evangelist, he talked in this interview about his 45 years of acting work. It’s well worth the read and I will let him speak for himself through that piece. Speaking for myself, I feel that luck mentioned in an earlier blog post as I get to enjoy having Donavon play this famous lawyer who ends up in a podcast not realizing how his life is about to get turned upside down.
We are grateful that he is playing Ham Hunt in Genealogy either live November 5, 6, 11-13, 18-20 or via our streaming performance on that final weekend. For those of you who can travel to Madison, you can purchase tickets at this link. We should have more details on our live streamed format soon; it will air on the last weekend of our run at Broom Street. Stay tuned for Donavon Armbruster as Hamilton Hunt in Genealogy!