We’re a little over a week out from the World Premiere opening of Motel 666, and we want to help you get in the mood by getting to know some of the talented artists working to breathe life into this haunting production.
Our first volunteer is Katie McLean Hainsworth – no stranger to horror on and off-stage, Katie is a long time fan of monster movies and Stephen King. Today she tells us about her first forays into the genre, and shares some of her darkest fears.
Do you consider yourself a horror fan? What is your favorite genre of horror?
Most. Definitely. I have a brother seven years older than me that inducted me into horror-fandom at far too young an age with Dracula and other monster movies on cable (we were the first family on our block to have cable by about a year). I have no particular favorite sub-genre, but I am a stickler about Rules in Zombie Movies and Such.
What was the first time you encountered horror in entertainment? Was it a book, a movie, a play or something else?
See #1 for my brother introducing me to scary movies, but where I became a real fan was reading Stephen King novels. I also remembering seeing a pretty terrifying stage adaptation of The Hobbit as part of a school trip (I still remember the glowing strands of spider webs drawing with agonizing slowness around the stage…). Another thing that scared/thrilled me as a young ‘un was Mummenschanz. It’s not supposed to be scary. But check it out. ‘Cuz it’s terrifying.
Does acting in a horror piece present any unique challenges or opportunities? Have you done any horror theatre before, or is this your first time? What is your favorite part about being in a horror piece (no spoilers!)
My very first play in Chicago was a campy stage adaptation of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. I played “Barbra” of “they’re coming to get you” fame. That show was a blast. A year later that same group and I did an original horror show called Demon Diner, which we then remounted a year later. All of these were horror-comedies, so technically, Motel 666 is my true horror stage premiere. My favorite thing about The Fourth Wall is that one could strip all the supernatural elements out of it and you’d still have a very compelling slice of a marriage in trouble and a woman dealing with the trauma of coming out of denial after many many years of building a life around it.
How have motels played a role in your life?
Other than watching Psycho when I was very young and being scarred by the death of Janet Leigh so early on, I can’t say motels have played a role in my life at all. However, I appreciate that even without having spent time in them, they are recognizable piece of Americana.
If you could take on any role in any horror tale what would it be and why?
One of my favorite performances in a horror movie is Nicole Kidman in The Others. But I wouldn’t want to try to do what she did there. I’ve wanted to adapt Stephen King to the stage for a long time and would love to take a crack at Delores Claiborne — but there’s actually very little “horror” in that particular story. So not a great answer, I suppose — sorry!
What is the one thing that scares you the most?
Irrevocable change. The remake of The Fly has always resonated with me — the idea that you can be You one moment, and Not-You the next, never to be You again — that terrifies me. I’m sure that’s rooted in the ultimate fear: the fear of death and dying and being gone forever. Not existing. So yeah. I think zombie stories scare us because their particular brand of apocalypse means that you can never again have freedom. Your life has been irrevocably changed by circumstance into one where you can only ever focus on survival. Where you have to trust other people to help you stay alive. Shudder.
Oh and snakes. Definitely snakes.
Motel 666 opens June 5 – get tickets here!