In the Spotlife: Jim Hunt of 'The Zeus Problem'

by John Moore | Feb 10, 2017

Jim Hunt as Zeus in Buntport Theater's 'The Zeus Problem.' Photo courtesy of Buntport Theater.

(The DCPA NewsCenter regularly profiles actors performing in theatre productions throughout the state of Colorado.)

MEET JIM HUNT

Zeus in Buntport Theater's 'The Zeus Problem, through Feb. 25. 

  • Hometown: Fort Morgan
  • Home now: Denver
  • High School: Westminster High School
  • College: BA and masters degree from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley
  • What have you done for us lately? I played Scrooge in Miners Alley Playhouse's five-actor version of A Christmas Carol
  • What's next? I will be playing Doyle in Benchmark Theatre's Debut production, The Nether, from March 31-April 22 at Buntport Theater
  • Jim HuntWhat is The Zeus Problem all about? Well, you pretty much have an entitled god (he calls himself “The Supreme”) who may be the original malignant narcissist. Emotionally, he’s about 8 years old. He’s hoping to revisit the Prometheus story and “improve upon the original.” Prometheus was the creator of mankind who faced eternal punishment from Zeus for stealing fire from Mount Olympus and giving it to man. Summoned to his long table in our play are a maiden Zeus has seduced and turned into a cow to hide her from his jealous wife; Prometheus, whom he’s chained to a rock; Eagle, his symbolic Girl Friday who’s tasked with the daily ripping out of Prometheus’ liver with her beak; and Henry David Thoreau. Yes, that Thoreau, who actually, in his lifetime, completed a translation of AeschylusPrometheus Bound. Any similarity to our current political cesspool is purely coincidental.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing Zeus: When the geniuses at Buntport Theater ask you to be in a full-length original piece of theirs, and they offer you a role they’ve written with you in mind, and you’ll be playing the titular character - that gets your attention. Big Time. When I confessed that I can’t bear to watch President Dumpster on TV, and asked if I should be watching clips of the debates and the coronation, they adamantly said no - which was a huge relief for me. They did not want an impersonation. I may be channeling the wayward brat who’s occupying the Oval Office in the White House, but I was not asked to do what Alec Baldwin does so brilliantly on Saturday Night Live. (OK, I’ve just confessed that, although I can’t bear to look at the thing itself, I enjoy watching the parody.)
  • What do you love most about Buntport Theater? I have been a Buntport fan for most of their 16 years. Once I discovered them, I couldn’t stop coming. I think they are the bravest, most humble, most fragile half-dozen people I know. Their genius is truly collective, and so it is impossible to say who the pilot light is. The minute I’m sure it’s Erin Rollman, I suddenly shift and decide it’s Brian Colonna. And then there’s Samantha Schmitz, who doesn’t act but who does so much more. But maybe it’s Hannah Duggan. Of course, it’s Hannah. Then there’s Erik Edborg. Wait, what if it’s Evan Weissman, who’s on sabbatical? He came to watch a run-through before we opened and offered a helpful idea that we implemented on the spot. Is he the pilot light? Holy wah!
  • The Zeus ProblemHow did this play come about? We were originally going to do a play about the killers Leopold and Loeb, and I was going to play Clarence Darrow, their lawyer. That would have been a trip down memory lane for me, having played Darrow in Nick Sugar’s 2001 production of Never the Sinner at the gone but never forgotten Theatre on Broadway. But when the White House was forced to welcome an irascible child into the Oval Office, the Buntporters knew it was their artistic mandate to shift gears, and The Zeus Problem was created. What I love about the piece is that we don’t solve anything, but we don’t pretend that what's going on isn’t going on. Still, it’s a challenge to play a character who will remind people of the person I loathe the most of any human being I’ve been confronted with in the 73 years of my existence. I can’t pretend to, nor would I want to, understand him. But I do have a lot of experience with malignant narcissism, so I can cavort as if I understand.
  • What's one thing most people don't know about you? My master’s degree is in American and British literature, and I thank whatever gods may be that my professors at the University of Northern Colorado (then called Colorado State College) gave me the gift of poetry. My beloved professor George Gates introduced me to Robinson Jeffers, and the prickly Jeffers gave me one of the most sustaining lines of my life: To “find the honey of peace in old poems.” Let’s overwhelm our injured planet with poetry. 
  • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? We live in an amazing town where there is so much vibrant theatre that I almost can’t stand it. And I know what I’m talking about. I see a lot of stuff.
  •  

    Jim Hunt. Buntport Theater. The Zeus Problem.
    Jim Hunt as Zeus in Buntport Theater's 'The Zeus Problem' with, from left, Erin Rollman, Erik Edborg and Hannah Duggan. Photo courtesy of Buntport Theater.

    The Zeus Problem: Ticket information

    • Written and directed by the Buntport ensemble
    • Through Feb. 25 at Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St. 
    • Performances: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays, plus pay-what-you-can at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13 
    • Tickets $15-$20
    • Info: Call 720-946-1388 or online at buntport.com

    Cast list:

    • Brian Colonna
    • Hannah Duggan
    • Erik Edborg
    • Jim Hunt
    • Samantha Schmitz (off-stage)

    More 'In the Spotlife' profiles:
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West's theMumblings
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too's Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks' Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse's God of Carnage
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center's Tartuffe
    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre's Hand to God
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre'sThe Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage's Mid-Life 2
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center's The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre's The Firestorm
    Meet Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro's El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages' Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Cory Sapienza of Miners Alley Playhouse's Hir
    Meet Jane Shirley of Santa's Big Red Sack
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver's Johnny Got His Gun
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center's Sister Act
    Meet Sharon Kay White of the Arvada Center's I'll Be Home for Christmas

     

    More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

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    ABOUT THE EDITOR
    John Moore
    John Moore
    Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

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