Posts Tagged McKenna Kelly-Eiding

PARK SQUARE’S FIRST TAKE ON JANE AUSTEN IS A FROLICSOME GAME OF GENDER POLITICS

BUT TRUE LOVE DOES WIN IN THE END

Neal Beckman, Sara Richardson, China Brickey and Kiara Jackson in Pride and Prejudice. Photo by Richard Fleischman.

Park Square Theatre rings in the winter holidays with its first ever production of a Jane Austen novel with the regional premiere of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Nov 15 – Dec 22, 2019) adapted from the classic by Kate Hamill (SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, LITTLE WOMEN) and directed by Lisa Channer in her Park Square debut. This clever comedy offers a decidedly progressive take on the trials of Lizzy, Mr. Darcy, and the whole Bennet clan, with a few dance breaks thrown in for good measure.

“I love it because of the emphasis on the actor and the emphasis on theatricality,” says Park Square Theatre Artistic Director, Flordelino Lagundino. “Many of the actors play multiple roles and there is a sense of joy and abandon. Like the original Austen, it also gets to the depths of what it means to really fight for love and family.”

Many consider Austen to be one of the early feminist writers. To fully mine the gender politics of Austen’s most famous story, Hamill has constructed the role doubling in such a way that some characters have to be played by an actor of the opposite gender. Neal Beckman, for example, plays both Mr. Bingley and Bennet sister Mary, while McKenna Kelly-Eiding, who delighted audiences as Sherlock Holmes in KEN LUDWIG’S BASKERVILLE, plays the bumbling Mr. Collins and the dastardly Wickham.

Hamill also plays on the idea of the “perfect match,” by constructing the action like a game and or military strategy. “As I was writing, I started thinking about when you meet someone and you fall in love or something happens that changes your life beyond your control, and I wanted a way to make that more tangible. So, I thought bells are things you can’t ignore—church bells, wedding bells, alarm bells, door bells—they let us know something has changed, and I wanted to incorporate those in the script. So, every time something happens beyond the character’s control, something happens with a bell.”

Channer sets this decidedly frolicsome world as a play within a play. The entire proscenium stage will be open to the back wall with no side curtains, allowing the audience to see the actors preparing “offstage” for their next time in the “ring” which serves as the playing space.

The cast includes Sara Richardson* (Jane, Miss De Bourgh), China Brickey* (Lizzy), Kiara Jackson* (Lydia), Paul Rutledge (Mr. Darcy), McKenna Kelly-Eiding (Mr. Collins, Wickham), Neal Beckman (Mr. Bingley, Mary), Alex Galick* (Charlotte, Mr. Bennet), George Keller* (Mrs. Bennet).

The Production team includes:  Ruth Coughlin Lencowski (Vocal Coach), Annie Katsura Rollins (Scenic Designer), Sonya Berlovitz (Costume Design), Dan Dukich (Sound Designer), Karin Olsen (Lighting Designer), Josephine Everett (Properties Designer), Scott Stafford (Choreographer) Tim Komatsu (Park Square Theatre Dramaturgy Fellow), Rachael Rhoades (Advance Stage Manager), Megan Fae Dougherty (Production Stage Manager) Jaya Robillard (Assistant Stage Manager), Rane Oganowski (Wardrobe) Charlotte Deranek (Sound Board Operator)  *Member, Actors Equity Association

Ticket prices: Previews: $27-$37. Regular Run: $40-$60. Discounts are available for students, seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square Ticket Office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.   #PSTAusten   SEASON TICKETS are on sale now.  Subscription package prices begin at $66.

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Previews: Nov 15 – 21, 2019

Opening Night: Nov 22, 2019

Regular Run: Nov 22 – Dec 22, 2019

Tickets: Previews: $20-$37; Regular Run: $25-$65

PARK SQUARE THEATRE, 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul

Ticket office: 651.291.7005 or parksquaretheatre.org

 

New Video: The Women of BASKERVILLE

New Video: The Women of BASKERVILLE

Women have been winning over Holmes fans in recent years, and in our current production Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Park Square is continuing the conversation with women playing both Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

Here is a sneak peak of this perfectly contrasting pair. As Lisa Brock in the Star Tribune writes, “McKenna kelly -Eiding perfectly embodies Holmes’ authoritative manner and sly condescension while Sara Richardson, one of the Twin Cities’ finest clowns, delivers a delightfully wide-eyed Dr. Watson.” Director Theo Langason shares what changes it took (or didn’t) to adapt the play for these two fine actors!

The game is afoot, hilariously! Get your tickets now to see these two in action for yourself!

Tickets and Information Here.

The Game’s Afoot with McKenna Kelly-Eiding!

When you take your seats at Park Square this summer, prepare to be delighted to a new mystery featuring the one and only Sherlock Holmes. Be sure to expect the unexpected, however, as this isn’t just any Holmes but one brought hilariously to life by local actor, McKenna Kelly-Eiding, as she uncovers the mystery on the moors with her trusty friend, Watson (Sara Richardson). Along the way, they will encounter dozens of allies and enemies in a madcap romp of adventure, suspense and humor!

Leading the pack, of course, is Kelly-Eiding who is making her Park Square Theatre debut with Baskerville. While originally from warm Los Angeles, her roots run cold as her parents met in Minneapolis and she grew up to attend the University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA program, where she graduated in 2013. In fact, her parents are theatre vets themselves, having worked at such theaters as Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Brave New Workshop and Theatre in the Round (where they happened to meet!).

As for Kelly-Eiding, she was just seen in the very successful production of The Wolves over at the Jungle Theater. When not performing on local stages, she can be find making ends meet with a variety of different jobs. Now, however, the games afoot with Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville, which fell onto her plate after auditioning and speaking with director, Theo Langason.

So what is it like playing the world’s most famous detective? Kelly-Eiding states:

Sherlock is fascinating to me- I remember first being introduced to the genre through ‘The Great Mouse Detective’. I also love the Benedict Cumberbatch series. Ken Ludwig compares Sherlock and Watson to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza which I love- their relationship is one of my favorite elements of the entire mythology. The way they balance and challenge and learn from each other is really inspiring and often so, so funny.

That humor, ultimately, is what she wishes audiences go home with. Inspiring others to laugh is one of her favorite parts of being an actor, as well as sharing the joyful experience of theatre.

Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery runs June 15 – August 5, closing the 2017-2018 season at Park Square Theatre. You can buy those tickets online here, and considering just how much joy there’s bound to be, I’d recommend doing so sooner than later!

A female duo of Holmes and Watson are on the case!

The premiere of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville is witty and fast-paced – with women playing the famous sleuthing duo! Park Square Theatre cherishes its summertime tradition of cozying up audiences with a good mystery. This year’s edition for the company’s 43rd season – Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: a Sherlock Holmes Mystery – offers a fresh take for Holmes devotees AND a special invitation for those who’ve never spent an evening with the iconic sleuth. McKenna Kelly-Eiding (closing a spectacular run in The Wolves at The Jungle) stars as Sherlock Holmes and Sara Richardson* (last seen at Park Square in The Liar) as Dr. Watson. The remaining 40 characters in this smart send-up of The Hound of the Baskervilles are played by just three actors: Eric “Pogi” Sumangil*; Ricardo Beaird; and Marika Proctor*. Cue the lightning-fast costume changes as wealthy Henry Baskerville is threatened by the fable of a bloodthirsty hound on the moors and the dynamic duo sniff out the culprit.

From Left: Sara Richardson (Dr. Watson) and McKenna Kelly-Eiding (Sherlock Holmes).

Women have been winning over Holmes fans in recent years, from Lucy Liu as Watson in the CBS series Elementary, to Christopher Walsh’s new play Miss Holmes, to Carole Nelson Douglas’ eight acclaimed Irene Adler suspense novels – the first to reinvent a woman from the Holmes “canon” as the protagonist. Director Theo Langason, in his Park Square directing debut, admits that “some Sherlockians will be skeptical of a woman in the role. But, all the things we love about the character – intuition, ingenuity, intelligence – aren’t tied to gender. And when I saw McKenna’s audition, her performance was so grounded – which this script needs since the other actors jump from character to character.”

In many ways, Watson takes center stage as the cataloger and helpmate. Like the character of Archie Goodwin in the two Nero Wolfe mysteries Park Square has commissioned, Watson serves as the “investigator on the ground” while the great detective muses in solitude. “Sara Richardson is so wonderful,” says Langason, “and I’m glad we get to spend so much time with her as Watson in this play.”

Langason relishes the challenges of tweaking audience expectations while staying true to the core of the Holmes story that keeps winning fans generation after generation. “Sherlock is a fascinating character,” he says. “He deserves a role in the pantheon of super heroes. I mean, without Sherlock Holmes, is it possible to have Batman? This show clips along with a very atmospheric, cinematic quality that I think will be really satisfying to both the artists and the audience. Peter Morrow (the sound designer) and I are working hard on where the sound comes from in the auditorium, trying to achieve the sensation you get in a surround-sound movie theatre. I want those ‘howls off the moors’ to give us all the heebee jeebees!”

***

The creative team for the production includes Ashawnti Ford (Assistant Director), Eli Sherlock Schlatter (Set Designer), Mandi Johnson (Costume Designer), Peter Morrow (Sound Designer), Michael Kittel (Light Designer), Sadie Ward, Properties Designer, Annie Enneking (Fight Choreographer), and Keely Wolter (Dialect Coach). Laura Topham* will serve as Stage Manager and Sam Diekman* is the Assistant Stage Manager.

Previews begin Friday, June 15, and continue through Thursday, June 20. June 21 is Opening Night, and the run continues through August 5. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. except for Saturday and Sunday matinees, which begin at 2 p.m. All performances are on the company’s Proscenium Stage in Saint Paul’s historic Hamm Building, 20 W. Seventh Place.

Ticket prices: Previews: $20/$27/$37. Regular Run: $25/$40/$60. Discounts are available for seniors 62+, members of the military, those age 30 and under, groups, and ASL/AD patrons. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square ticket box office, 20 W. Seventh Place, and by phone, 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.

*Member, Actors Equity Association

Photo by Petronella J Ytsma.