What is it that every superhero needs? They need a formidable villain that they have to defeat. Kirsten deLohr Helland steps into this role as Siren, the sultry, sinister, singer and villain of the piece. But like most villains, there is more to her story than you can see at first glance which makes her even more dangerous.
So in honor of this comic book inspired musical, here are a few fun questions with Kirsten about theatre, comic books, and what inspired this show.
Marvel/DC/Lord of the rings/Star Wars/StarTrek – which ones are your top 2?
Star Trek and Lord of the Rings
How many instruments did you play prior to this show?
I was an excellent kazoo-ist, always. (The kazoo is in the show because of her unmatched talent) When Justin wrote the show he knew that he wanted everyone to play instruments, and every time we come back to the show he challenges me with a new instrument. So everything that you see me play in the show is a new thing for me.
First workshop was the ukulele, then world premiere at Seattle Rep it was piano, and then for San Diego it is guitar.
What was your first job in theatre?
My mom wouldn’t let me audition to be in plays until my sophomore year of highs school because she wanted me to understand that it was a privilege to be doing the arts, and not a luxury. So because of that I took theater a lot more seriously because it wasn’t just something that I was allowed to do. I had to earn it with grades. My first professional job was right out of college, I auditioned for OKLAHOMA at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle and got it, and I was a nobody; but it was a huge deal. It was really great because it really thrust me into really wanting to do continue doing theatre because in college I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to…Justin was like “you’re going to” and I was like “ok” but getting a job right out of college was really the thing that kept me going.
Why is theatre important?
It is one of the only communal activities we as humans have left. We are so controlled by our phones and by screens and someone could argue that it is a communal experience to see a movie but it is not. You are not watching live people perform live emotions, and tell you a story in the moment. Theatre is different every night and the audience that is going to see the show tonight is not going to have the same experience a s the people who come tomorrow. There is a reason why theatre has been around since the beginning of humans; humans have been telling stories since we were in caves drawing things on walls, that’s storytelling. It needs to stay around. Support Live Theatre!
Siren is most like which villain: Magneto from X-men, Doctor Doom from Fantastic Four, or Loki from Thor?
Which is the one that’s most altruistic? I don’t know who those people are so I’ll divert this to Justin. I think it’s Magneto
Justin: I think Magneto is probably it.
Kiki: That’s my instinct because he’s just bad ass. Magneto believing he is doing good for the greater good
What is your personal kryptonite?
I am hesitant to say coffee, but I think I’m hesitant because I don’t want to believe it. Like Justin says that he doesn’t think he can hit that B flat without Pepsi, I don’t think I can do anything if I don’t have a cup of coffee. If I don’t have a cup of coffee I will not have a good day because it will not start out right and then I am screwed for the rest of the day. Also when I do shows where I have roles that are very vocally taxing and I can’t have coffee I slip into an abnormal state of mind, and a slight depression that is not seasonal, it is caffeinated.
What is your current musical theater obsession?
HADESTOWN, which I saw in the New York Theatre workshop by Anaïs Mitchell; who is an incredible musican and she is very alternative. The show is the story of Orpheus and Eurydice in Louisiana with 1920’s style music. I’m obsessed with it. It’s a really interesting musical because it’s not very active, it’s very listen to this beautiful music telling the story of…which I’m all about.
What type of character is more fun to play, Maria from Sound of Music, Kate Monster or a villain like Siren?
I think I have said many times that a character like Siren is the most exciting thing to play. She’s very complicated, she’s classically the villain, she provides the danger for the show, she’s a strong woman, she’s altruistic, she’s trying to save the world, she’s got depression, she’s an alcoholic and over it and then super energized and forward about what she wants and how she’s going to get it. This is the kind of thing that I really enjoy, it is harder for me to play roles like Maria that are very traditional and do not require a lot of discovery because it’s already been discovered. The audience is not trying to figure out who you are with you, they already know who you are and they’ve already made a judgment. With new shows it is so much easier to make your own version of a character. Kate Monster though, is pure fun. What I will say about a character like Kate Monster that can seem very frivolous, like comedy for the sake of being funny, she is also a complicated female character and there are moments in Avenue Q here all of the characters have human moments that people can relate too. I really like playing a character like Kate too. But Siren is my favorite and I get to belt my face off.
Make sure you see this innovative show before it’s gone! LIZARD BOY has been extended through November 6th! Showtime and ticket information can be found at www.Diversionary.org