McKenna Kelly-Eiding moved to Minnesota six years ago and is acting in the Twin Cities. She is currently on stage at the Twin Cities Horror Festival in Dangerous Productions' Epidemic.
She plays the role of Sarah, one of nine researchers of infectious diseases that are locked down in their housing unit after a deadly disease is released by one of the other researchers. McKenna shares an inside look into rehearsing with the ensemble, the sustained engagement to pull off such an intense theater piece, and how scary Epidemic is . . . and spoiler alert: it's "super scary."
McKenna: Challenging. Relentless. Bloody.
What drew you to be involved in this production?
McKenna: I've seen a number of Dangerous Productions' projects in the past and have worked with many of the company members before. They are all really incredible artists and individuals and I was excited to have the opportunity to work with them in such a rigorous, playful, and collaborative environment.
McKenna: "You're way braver than I could ever be. All day long you're dealing with stuff that would give most people nightmares."
McKenna: The process began quite a while before our actual rehearsals started, with physical training over the summer. Our director/writer and the head of Dangerous Productions, Tyler Olsen, saw the piece from the very beginning living in an extremely physical world. This training continued into the rehearsal process, with a strong basis in ensemble building- working to maintain a connection or thread to our fellow cast mates while running, often backwards or with our eyes closed, carrying each other, exploring what the "itch" meant, and trying a new script almost every rehearsal early on.
We often used the script as a jumping-off point for improvisations that helped shape the next script and so on. I've been constantly inspired by the ensemble's willingness to dive in and explore new ideas and directions that this thing could go.
I felt and still feel challenged physically, emotionally, mentally; there's never a dull moment in the show. I have a habit of wanting to go inwards and dwell in an inactive way, and that's not an option in this piece. You have to be engaged the whole time or you'll drop the ball.
How scary is Epidemic? Who do you think will appreciate this play?
McKenna: I think it's super scary! Horror films/shows are not my usual jam, so it's been really great working from the other side. Much of the horror lies in the fact that the lights are set at a normal level and you're forced to watch what this virus does to each individual. And it's scary to think about those who have the power to control your fate from a distance.
It's also interesting to explore the idea of what is real and what is not when it comes to a virus. At the end of the day, a sample could show up negative on all fronts, but it's what those who are affected believe to be real that is the truth, and ends up being really dire in our case.
I think people who appreciate an intriguing story about the power of the human imagination, paired with skilled performers and excellent blood effects will love the show. Or if you just love being spooked, it's definitely the show for you.
Ticket Information: Epidemic (Part of the Twin Cities Horror Festival)
October 22-31, 2015
Eleven people are locked in with a killer disease that eats you alive. Terrifying, bloody, and visceral, the newest horror offering from Dangerous Productions explores crowd violence and psychology, and asks the question: “How would you like to die?”
Thu, Oct. 22 @ 11:30pm
Sat, Oct. 24 @ 8:30pm
Mon, Oct. 26 @ 11:30pm
Thu, Oct. 29 @ 11:30pm
Sat, Oct. 31 @ 10pm
$15 Regular Ticket
$14 Ticket with Minnesota Fringe Festival Button
Passes to the Twin Cities Horror Festival are available.
Suggested Age: 16+
The Southern Theater
1420 S Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55454