posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 03:07 AM
Greetings to all the members of Above Top Secret:
Please allow me to finally introduce myself. I am just an average Joe who one day stumbled upon ATS and liked what I saw so I joined and posted
immediately. I didn't think to introduce myself then and even when I saw others introduce them self I still didn't think to make an introduction
because I...well, quite honestly, I had no idea what to say. However, I have been in this site now for a little over a month and a half and in that
time, I have experienced other members calling me Jean, Jean Paul, JPZ and some one even called me Sarte/Camus. It is strange to me, to be called by
a name I invented but now becomes even more real now, than he ever was before.
My name is not really Jean Paul Zodeaux, and I don't suppose many people here thought it was, as we all have tended towards creating a user name
being different than that name we go by in "real life". Many of the user names of other members in this site, indeed in many sites across the
world wide web, are intriguing and very clever. Compared to many there is nothing special or clever about Jean Paul Zodeaux at all. So, why him?
Why choose such a name? Just who the hell is this Jean Paul Zodeaux?
The story of Jean Paul goes back to my days at the university where I double majored in theater and philosophy. I started with just a major in
theater, but every time someone asked me what my major was and I told them, the response was invariably; "Theater? You should pick a second major
to have something to fall back on." My freshman year I would do my best not to roll my eyes and be as polite as possible in response but by my
sophomore year this unsolicited advice was becoming rather annoying. So, mid semester of my sophomore year I declared a second major and chose
philosophy. I chose it because I was certain that no one would ever hire a philosopher and I could continue happily with my dreams of pursuing a life
in the theater.
I was wrong about that and by my junior year began getting offers for interviews from several corporations because of my philosophy major for their
think tanks, but not a single offer for any work in the theater. (Sigh). Undaunted, I would accept those interviews that included a free lunch and
politely listen to these corporations offers while knowing in my heart that I was Broadway bound. It was not my experiences, however, in the
philosophy department that led to the creation of Jean Paul Zodeaux, it was my experiences in the theater department that led to his birth.
While studying under the tutelage of these academic theater types I was taught much about the art of acting, the art of stagecraft, sound design,
makeup and even stage management. What intrigued me the most were my classes in playwrighting. I learned much about structure, plot and character
and how to create various forms of dialogue. I learned how the greats crafted well made play's, absurdist plays, surrealistic plays and even
Elizabethan plays. While taking these numerous classes I befriended another writer/director who was taking many of these classes along with me. He
was just an average Joe also and we got along well.
We would work together, often collaborating, using the techniques we had learned and feeling quite proud of ourselves for realizing how useful these
techniques were and how good we were at using them. Even so, there was never a time when anyone of our professors would agree that we had learned the
techniques effectively let alone mastered them. This phenomenon went beyond playwrighting and even in our acting and directing classes we
experienced, all of us, not just my friend and I, a strange insistence that we were never, none of us, reaching our "full potential". While I made
many A's in philosophy and classes outside my major of theater, in theater I was perennially making B's as were most students. After three years
of this nonsense, my friend I became suspicious of this phenomenon and decided to put it to a test.
Together we decided to invent an author of whom we would present to our theater of the absurd class as a lost playwright who wrote in the early
1950's in France and was fairly undiscovered only experiencing a brief moment of astonishing success before suddenly disappearing and "committing
suicide of the heart and soul" never to write another word again, only to resurface upon his deathbed, broken and destitute years later. That
suicide of the heart and soul line we stole straight out of Eddie and the Cruisers as we wanted to be fairly obvious in our deceit, sort of hiding in
plain sight. To make it even more obvious that Jean Paul Zodeaux was in fact us, we named him Zodeaux because the both of us, being young Turks with
a fair amount of arrogance, had spent the last year or so constantly responding to our friends and even teachers more obvious remarks with the
childish phrase: "So Duh!"
My friend and I began furiously working on our Jean Paul Zodeaux plays and I had a friend who was the editor for the school paper, so I asked him if
he could print our Zodeaux plays out as if they had been printed in The Evergreen Review a literary magazine founded in 1957 but was no longer
in print when we were in college, but has been relaunched since. We chose this magazine for several reasons. First, for the prestige factor as we
wanted to ensure that Mr. Zodeaux was given the due respect he deserved. Secondly, the magazine being out of print assured us that anyone who might
decide to investigate the matter would have a difficult time doing so. On the one hand we created as many clues as we could think of, particularly
in the plays themselves, that would reveal the true authors, but on the other hand we wanted a certain authenticity to this out right fraud.
Once the plays were printed up, appearing to be Zeroxed from the Evergreen Review, we found some actors and staged these plays to be presented in our
theater of the absurd class. The professor who taught that class also taught several of our playwrighting classes and was one of the guiltiest for
declaring an inability to reach our full potential. We carefully informed our professor and classmates of the tragic history of this brilliant
writer, (we must have used the world brilliant to describe his writing a gazillion times), and then solemnly presented the work.