Michaela Petro is a powerhouse of talent, and she brings it all in for Motel 666. Her play Sirens is the second piece in Motel 666, and she can be seen acting in The Hunters, The Bridal Suite and Coulrophobe. She also stars in the trailer for Motel 666, along with company member Josh Zagoren. Michaela is a longtime WildClaw member that you may recognize from her portrayal of the title character in Carmilla, a WildClaw premiere at the DCASE Storefront in 2011.
How have motels played a role in your life?
Bahahaha! It’s trite, but motels have played inebriated-shady-all-nighter-party-times in my life. Awaking to the smell of bleachy sheets and stale smoke recognizing that some mistakes were made, but mostly good times were had.
Do you consider yourself a horror fan? What is your favorite genre of horror?
Most definitely. Favorite genre… That’s tough. While I love to be thrilled and psychologically jammed by the supernatural and other-worldy energies, I love me some monster gore. For I heart zombies. So, somewhere between ghosty shadowy bumps in the night & throat ripping survival tales.
What was the first time you encountered horror in entertainment? Was it a book, a movie, a play or something else?
First horror in entertainment was a recommendation from my mother when I was in 6th grade. Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit. I was having a talk with her about death and the afterlife and the fear of it, the unknown, the pain that most assuredly awaited me because according to my CCD classes at the Immaculate Conception, my masturbating was not cool and punishable in the afterlife. I don’t know that I shared the latter part of my fear spectrum with my momma but… All the same she smiled and handed over No Exit. After reading it, we discussed it and she said, “I don’t believe Hell is fire, brimstone & eternal suffering. I believe Sartre has it right. If there is a Hell, it’s other people.” Then my mind exploded.
Does acting in a horror piece present any unique challenges or opportunities? What is your favorite part about being in a horror piece?
This is not my first rodeo and I’m thankful to keep mounting the hell beast. My favorite aspect of acting in WC shows is delivering the reality of your given situation, so when you shatter it, the whole world goes sideways. Ideally, you’ve done your job & the audience goes sideways with you. It’s a laser sharp focus you must hone to deliver that reality, knowing in the back of your brain pan that you are going to break it to pieces.
What is the main challenge to creating short form horror stories?
The main challenge for me was creating an interesting pace. I have written a decent amount of comedy, and found that with horror, like comedy, your timing is everything. You can’t give too much too soon, and if you wait too long you’re boring everyone. Finding the bathwater temp for your audience to luxuriate in before they notice faucet starts churning out blood is tricky. I have written some solo pieces privately, but this is the first time my horror work is being produced.
Why sirens? Does Greek Mythology in general interest you or just this particular tale?
Sirens are my favorite, though my interest in mythology is wide-spread. Sirens are brutal, soft, sensual creatures who lure, tempt & destroy. They are dauntless really. I strive for that myself, so I find them rather inspiring with their “I want this. I’ll have this.” mentality. I became obsessed with mythology when I was wrestling with the idea of God. When I reflected on all the different religions of the world, it became inconceivable to me that there could only be one. Just like it’s inconceivable that humans are the only life forms in the universe. (I mean come the fuck on…) Part of the inspiration for my sirens, was from a more modern mythology, Neil Gaiman’s series The Sandman. The Kindly Ones. Amazing characters embellished by what mythologies around the world have articulated time after time.The Furies. The Fates. The Morrigan. 3 women. 1 woman. All women. I hope I did them justice.
If you could take on any role in any horror tale what would it be and why?
After playing Carmilla, it’s tough to conjure someone who could surpass her. However, I imagine a turn as Frankenstein’s creature would be amazing. Like Carmilla, the creature was not of its own design, craved love & brought fury. Carmilla was “created” because of the way she’d been mistreated in life. The creature was created and then mistreated in its second life. Both of these beings were powerful deviants, but each was terribly alone and human in their rawest form.
What is the one thing that scares you the most?
Stagnation. … Aaand alien abductions. I don’t want to be prodded against my will. Prodded with consent is different.
Motel 666 is OPEN and runs through June 28 – get tickets here! Performances will be held at the DCASE Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph Street, with shows Thursday–Saturday at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm.