What’s Inside The Chrysalis: An Interview With Evangeline Reilly

Evangeline Reilly, the creator of this month’s Theater Pub show, tells us all about who she is, what she’s doing and why you can’t miss the show!

Okay, who are you?

No one is ever surprised to discover I am a performer. I use my whole face when I talk. But I value other voices too; listening is just as important as speaking. I have been a barista, camp counselor, artist’s model and, now, I am a professional fairy.

So, what’s this show you’re bringing to theater pub and how did you get hooked up with our November slot?

Chrysalis is a solo tragicomedy at the crossroads of grief and growing up. It’s essentially a one-person variety show that uses puppetry, music, and some other fun performance bits to talk about loss. Julia Heitner, who has been working with Theater Pub for awhile now, helped to develop and direct the show. We know each other from UC Santa Cruz. (Banana slugs haaaaay!)

Tell us more about the show- how did you first come up with it and where has it been before coming to us?

The show is based on my experience of losing my brother when I was a freshman in college. I wanted to explore the complexities of losing someone at that age; college is such an expansive time and grieving is not an expansive experience. It’s just the opposite, in fact. It curls you inward. I wanted to offer my audience the opportunity to experience their own grief from a different perspective, to hold it in a new way.

How has it evolved as you’ve taken it around the country?

When I first performed the show a year ago, it was very sad. I have since realized that the element of sadness is already so intrinsic in the idea of loss that I don’t need to push that angle, and that humor is actually a much more effective way to explore pain. I’ve performed the show in big and small venues, and I’ve even performed excerpts of it on the street. Every time I perform it, I learn something new and refine it just a little bit. Also, the puppet (his official title is The Grief Monster) was such a hit after his first appearance that he is now a very central part of the show.

What do you see as the challenge of bringing it to Theater Pub?

Ooh. Good question. Well, I designed the show to be extremely portable, so every prop I use (aside from the guitar and the chocolate cake) fits in this dainty periwinkle suitcase I found on a sidewalk in Berkeley. So, technically, I’m not too worried. The show definitely has a raucous quality at times, which is no problem in a pub, but there are a few sacred and delicate moments that I hope will carry over to this setting.

What do you see as the potential awesomeness of performing at Theater Pub?

I wanna create a whole world that surprises people. I think the benefit of a venue like Theater Pub is that people don’t expect to be totally transported, they don’t expect to necessarily go on an emotional journey. But if you can do that, it’s even more magical than when that happens in a formal theater setting, because in that case, they’re expecting it. Also, he show begins with a party scene that involves the audience, which will be really fun at Theater Pub.

What’s next for you and Chrysallis?

What’s next for you and Chrysallis? You tell me! After the new York Fringe Festival this summer, I was kind of ready to give it a break for awhile. I may have an opportunity to perform it for some grief counseling professionals in Philadelphia (one of my tour stops this year) and it may travel to some other festivals…we shall see!

What’s got you excited that’s coming up in the San Francisco theater scene?

What’s got you excited that’s coming up in the San Francisco theater scene? Does dance count? My boyfriend is performing in the Jewish Nutcracker at ODC this holiday season and he’s going to be the lead! I have no idea what the Jewish Nutcracker even means, but I love the music from the Nutcracker and it promises to be pretty entertaining.

What’s your favorite beer?

What’s your favorite beer? When I lived in Ireland, I became a fan of the Shandy, which is a mixed drink that’s half beer, half lemonade. Irish people consider it an old people drink, and no bartender I’ve met here has heard of it. But it’s fuggin’ delicious. Don’t judge.

We won’t judge and you shouldn’t miss Chrysallis, a one night only event playing Tuesday, November 13 at the San Francisco Theater Pub, at Cafe Royale! The show starts at 8 PM, and is free with a five dollar suggested donation!

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One comment on “What’s Inside The Chrysalis: An Interview With Evangeline Reilly

  1. You had me at “Shandy”

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