Meet The Playwright, Jesse Cramer

WE "SAT DOWN" WITH Jesse Cramer AND GOT real about starting a conversation, EMPATHY, and starting every day with peanut butter pretzels.

Join us for the L.A. premier of Jesse's play CROSS. Get your tickets here

LG: Share with us who you are these days.

JC: These days have me a bit concerned. This feeling comes mainly from the dangerous rhetoric we are hearing in this election cycle. Also, I’m at a place right now where I feel between things, which can be both exciting and terrifying, so I’ve opted for the middle ground of “concerned.” 

LG: Tell us about a project of any kind that another person is working on with you.

JC: Samantha Curley and I are working hard to bring a project to Level Ground! On September 16th and 17th at 8pm, Level Ground will host performances of my play CROSS. The show is a two-person drama that follows a church leader and his former student who meet years after they went to a camp together. The show explores issues of spirituality and sexuality, so it is right up Level Ground’s alley! 

LG: Why and how did you get connected to Level Ground?

JC: I met Samantha through my brother Mark. who vouched for the organization and the amazing conversations it starts. At that time, I was writing a blog called God Doesn't Change where I read and discussed the Bible every day for a year from a queer perspective. Samantha was supportive and invited me to be a part of the Level Ground community by joining the Art & Empathy panel at the 2016 Pasadena Festival! 

Jesse (Left) and his brother Mark cramer (right). mark helped produce the level ground launch party in 2013!

Jesse (Left) and his brother Mark cramer (right). mark helped produce the level ground launch party in 2013!

LG: What was the first thing you ate today?

Today - like most days - began with peanut butter pretzels. A proper breakfast, if you ask me. 

LG: What does it mean to be in dialogue with someone and how has that been a part of your life?

JC: It begins and ends with empathy for me. I find that I cannot listen to another person without first truly empathizing with him or her. I always try to start there when meeting someone else (even though I am better at it some times than others). 

LG: What is the last book that you read and how would you pitch it to a stranger if you had written it?

JC: I actually just started reading 1984 for the first time. I’m not sure how I ever got through middle/high school without reading it. I think everyone probably knows the plotline - futuristic, dystopian, sci-fi, yada-yada. 

LG: Tell us about your profile picture on your favorite social media platform or on your email account.

My profile picture on my Facebook is of me on the swings ride at Six Flags. I absolutely love theme parks and roller coasters and used to travel around the eastern seaboard with my Dad just to go on rides. 

LG: What is concerning to you about the future, whether personally or more broadly?

JC: I’m taking my life day-to-day right now and trying not to plant my thoughts too far in the future. I tend to get anxious when thinking too far ahead, and the name of the game for me right now is staying in the moment. 

LG: What brings you hope about the future, whether personally or more broadly?

JC: Organizations like Level Ground give me hope, honestly. I love anything that starts a conversation, and as I said above, it all begins and ends with empathy. I’m happy to be a part of that in any form! 

Level Ground