Chelsea Mayo was last seen at QTC in this summer’s The Lady with the Little Dog as Anna Sergeyevna. In The Night Alive, she plays Aimee.
How is your role in The Night Alive different from your role in McPherson’s The Veil?
In The Veil, set in 1820s Ireland, I played Hannah, a teenaged girl who is about to be married off to a wealthy Englishman in order to settle her family’s affairs. All of McPherson’s characters are haunted in one way or another; Hannah sees ghosts, hears voices, and actually acts as a medium in a seance. Aimee’s demons aren’t as visible, but she’s haunted by decisions she’s made or been forced to make.
There’s also a difference of nearly 200 years between the two plays. Aimee is the only woman in The Night Alive, which is common for McPherson’s plays, if they have female characters at all. The Veil is an exception with five wonderful roles for women ranging from late teens to seventies. In The Night Alive, Aimee is an outsider, stumbling into Tommy’s life and changing it forever. In The Veil, Hannah is the one who has strangers appear in her world to shake things up.
What was your process in developing your character? Was there a key physical characteristic that helped you to define your character? Aimee is the youngest character, only in her late twenties, but life has already dealt her some hard blows. We see the physical effects of that violence at the top of the show, and McPherson hints at her past over the course of the play. Thinking about weight and resistance helped me to shape her movement, exploring when she feels the heaviness of that burden and when she’s able to let it go for a while. I think the beauty of this play is in the surprising contrast between the dark and light moments, and I hope audiences will enjoy being as bewildered by the sudden shifts between the two as the characters are.