20% Theatre Company is thrilled to present Rapture, Blister, Burn by Gina Gionfriddo at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage April 26 – May 10, 2014. In the weeks leading up to the show, we are giving you the chance to learn a little bit about the artists involved in this production. In this interview, meet actor, Kelli Gorr!
Can you tell us a little but about yourself and your background? How/when/why did you get into theatre?
Hi, my name is Kelli and I’m a recovering radio announcer. I spent 14 years as a DJ and talk show host in St. Cloud, MN. Now I lead Cargill’s Information Protection training and awareness activities globally.
I’ve been on stage since I was little. Dance. Theatre. Emcee. (You haven’t lived until you’ve emceed a Stearns Country Dairy Princess Pageant). Theatre is a hobby of mine and competes with dancing, biking, reading and watching films. Mostly I just like the applause.
Tell us a little about the character you will be playing in Rapture, Blister, Burn.
Gwen is a housewife (which is a rare breed these days). She dropped out of graduate school, married and started a family. Now at 40, with a failing marriage she wonders if she would have been happier if she had taken a different path. Gwen is not shy about letting others know how they fall short. She is the quintessential nag.
In what ways do you personally relate to this character?
One of the things I relate to is Gwen’s struggle to be happy with her life – to find contentment. Gwen struggles to find contentment and is often pushing and pulling those around her to do more and do it better. For me it’s a reminder to focus on what you have instead of what you lack.
What is exciting about your character? What are some of the challenges that you, as an actor, are facing in portraying this character?
Gwen is often oblivious to her selfishness. Playing some of those scenes with a straight face…that’s tough.
Rapture, Blister, Burn is often called “a feminist play”. How would you describe the play? How do you feel about feminism and what it signifies today?
Before this play I think I’d given roughly thirty seconds of thought in my life to feminism. I think the thought was, “Why would someone burn their bra?”
In my defense…
I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in a country and time where it’s never occurred to me that I wouldn’t have the same opportunities as a man. I thank those who have done the hard work and crusading to make that possible. Maybe a woman not even thinking there are barriers to do and be whatever she likes is a measure of their hard work. That said, the play has definitely been an education.
What else do you do in the world, outside of theatre and/or working on this production?
My fiancée, Joel and I live in St. Paul, where we bought a home from 1887, which means lots of home improvement. This is the year I get the jungle (that is our yard) under control. Bring on spring. When we’re not working on the house we’re seeing films, biking and boarding together (that’s a longboard skateboard for him) and seeing good Twin Cities theatre.
Favorite restaurant to eat out at in the Twin Cities?
Too tough. Too many I’d like to try again.
How did you get to Minneapolis? (Where did you grow up? Where are you from?)
I grew up in White Bear Lake, just north of St. Paul. I’ve also lived in Rice Lake, WI and St. Cloud, MN.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, two cats and a dog. Sméagol and Precious are our two cats and Chiyo is our long-haired Chihuahua. If you don’t like pets, I probably don’t trust you.