Last month, we checked in with Melissa Li and Kit Yan about their 2019 Festival show Interstate. The show is about to have its world premiere at Mixed Blood Theatre.
What has the post-Festival response to Interstate been like?
It’s been an abundant and joyous time post-NAMT Festival! We’ve been able to meet a lot of new friends and develop new relationships with theaters, producers and artists. We’re in the midst of figuring out our next steps, but there is a lot of support, enthusiasm and interest in the show!
What did you discover about the show after presenting it in October, and what work have you done on the show since then?
We have done two new drafts since working with NAMT. One at a Playwrights Horizons writing residency and another in preparation for our Mixed Blood production. Many of our edits were informed at the Festival while putting together the 45-minute cut. The time limitation helped us think about the show in more effective and efficient ways, which ultimately lead to better storytelling.
Interstate is about to have its world premiere at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. What have you been doing to prepare for the production?
We went on vacation after the Festival and before Mixed Blood. Nothing fancy, but it was very important for us to go home and be with our communities and families in order to center and ground ourselves as we transitioned from showcase to production. In the past, we have often forgotten that we are humans that are part of the communities we serve. After some quality time with ourselves, our loved ones, and our learnings from the Festival, we were ready to work on the two drafts that would take us into rehearsal. We never take for granted the time an artist needs to reflect, have conversations and drop into our own bodies in order to accurately and beautifully tell our stories.
Tell us a little bit about the creative team and cast that’s been put together for this world premiere, and what you are most looking forward to sharing with audiences.
We worked closely with our director Jesca Prudencio and our dramaturg Natasha Sinha on a rehearsal draft that felt strong to us. Now that we are in the rehearsal room, we are making adjustments everyday to strengthen the show and get to the heart of what each character is going through. We are most excited to share the story of our lives, which Interstate is based on! Ultimately, we hope people feel something, have a dialogue with each other, and go on to write their own stories and narratives into existence.
We’re also excited to have a smart and talented cast, creative team and supportive theater working on this show and informing our process every step of the way. We’re proud to say that we cast trans and non-binary actors of color in our trans roles, and we have a team both on and off the stage that’s reflective of our communities.
Why should everyone plan a trip to see the Mixed Blood production of Interstate?
It will be full and joyous! Because we are still working on the show, the audience responses will be so valuable to us to see how the story lands in our communities of artists, theatermakers, queers and people of color. Theater is a unique and magical experience and it takes every single person in the room to make it feel alive. We wouldn’t be here without our audiences showing up and holding our work accountable to the highest standards of art and activism. It would be an honor to have the NAMT community join us.
For more information about Interstate, and to purchase tickets to the upcoming production, please visit the Mixed Blood Theatre website.