Cast & Crew Q & A with Paige McKinney

Paige McKinney
Paige McKinney

Paige McKinney is the movement director for The Yellow Wallpaper, as well as a choreographer, dancer and actor.  Her choreography has been produced by Ten Tiny Dances, the Richard Foreman Mini-Festival, the University of Oregon School of Music & Dance, and in various showcases. She won a Drammy Award for best choreography for Sojourn Theatre’s 7 Great Loves.  Paige is an Associate Artist with Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE), with whom she performed in Song of the Dodo and R3, and served as movement director for The Three Sisters.  Paige has danced with Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre NW, Linda Austin, Allie Hankins, Mary Oslund + Co., Gregg Bielemeier, POV Dance, and many others.

What was your favorite part of exploring this story? What posed the greatest challenges?

My favorite part and my greatest challenge were the same thing: how to transform what is (in the short story) an internal experience unfolding over a period of weeks into movement that uncovers the truth of the narrator’s experience as condensed into a 90 minute performance. Grace and I began rehearsing with structured improvisation scores in the fall of 2015 to distill essential structures and gestures that complimented Sue’s beautiful text, communicating viscerally those things that words sometimes can’t fully express.

Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte and Woman
Grace Carter as Charlotte & Diana Schultz as The Woman. Movement Direction by Paige McKinney. Photo Credit Owen Carey.

How are the story and details of this play, set in 1892, relevant today?

The other day I was thinking about the rest cure, and how frequently it was prescribed for neurasthenia, tuberculosis, hysteria, you name it. It seems like such a bizarre surrendering of one’s freedom and free will to allow someone else to dictate your activities, rest periods, diet, everything. But then it occurred to me that some part of us craves that imposed routine: think about how we hire personal trainers and nutritionists to tell us what to do and when. We’re willing to sacrifice a little freedom in order to get better, but how much freedom, and how much better?

What new projects do you have in the works now?

I’m performing with Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble for [or, the whale] through Saturday the 23rd. Then I’ll be in No Man’s Land at Action/Adventure March 10-April 3rd and Our New Girl with Corrib Theatre in June.

Paige McKinney as the deep sea diver in PETE’s [or, the whale].

Don’t Stop Here

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