Petersen Swings Right Into Our Hearts

by moxielicious


Erin Petersen in SKINLESS – Photo by Daren Scott

We were looking for someone irresistible when we cast Erin Petersen for the first time at MOXIE. That was in 2011 for our production of Marisa Wegerzyn’s Ten Cent Night.   We needed an actress who could play a young, irresistible, tough and fragile young woman.  That’s a tall order and we felt damn lucky when Erin read for the part. We had been introduced through Intrepid Shakespeare Company, one of MOXIE’s “theatre bff’s”. Petersen had played Juliet at Intrepid in their production of…well you can probably guess.  It’s safe to say we haven’t been able to resist her since. Since then she returned to MOXIE for the very popular production of  Hickorydickory (also by Wegrzyn) and now she’s back in MOXIE’s production of Skinless. Petersen plays the playful and wide-eyed Bluebell, the youngest Wells sister with an affinity for romance and horror stories.  When she isn’t on stage at MOXIE, she’s one of the busiest young theatre makers in San Diego.  She’s a triple-threat actress, a director, a theatre educator, a sometimes costume designer and the internship program director as well as company member at Intrepid Shakespeare. In short, she gives us hope that the next generation of theatre leaders will lead American theatre into a bright future.  We caught up with her between performances in SKINLESS.

SKINLESS is full of poetry as well as fantastic dialogue. What’s your favorite line in the play?

I have to say that it changes every time I listen to the play and something new stays with me each time I hear it. Although, I do have a slight obsession with how Jo delivers the line, “Beulah!”. For some reason it gets me giggling every time. Really SKINLESS is filled with nuggets of genius and beautifully crafted lines that are linked together so masterfully. It’s not the kind of play you hear once and you’re done. I can’t get enough of it!

What’s been your favorite part of the SKINLESS process so far?

Is it okay to say that I love swinging on my tire swing? Because I LOVE swinging on my tire swing! I’ve always wanted one but I never had any suitable trees around my house. In fact, the neighbors up the street had a tire swing for years and I was always not so secretly jealous of it. Childhood dreams aside, I am having the greatest time working with this fabulous cast, crew and production team and we’ve become such a close knit group. Throughout this process we sometimes find ourselves laughing at the most grotesque and dark things. I guess,after working on a production like this, your sense of humor shifts a little to the kind of dark humor only people who have been working on an eerie and twisted show for a couple months would get.

How is your character different from other character’s you’ve played?

Bluebell lives vicariously through Zinnia’s stories and develops strong relationships with these fictional characters. The fact that she’s one of four sisters is something that really sets her apart for me. This is the first time I’ve played a character with so many sisters! — And I’m truly in the best of company. Tire swing? Check! Three badass sisters? Check!

What kind of research or prep work did you do to play your character?

Upon reading the play, I realized that all four sisters were named after flowers. So I felt compelled to look up all the possible meanings behind these flowers and tried to make connections between their meanings and our characters. When our phenomenal playwright, Johnna Adams, was asked about her decision to name the sisters after flowers at one of our talk back sessions, she said that she just picked ‘em and didn’t think anyone would notice. So I felt a little like a goober for researching flower language and looking up where the best place to plant Bluebells is…

Come see Erin in Skinless playing now-December 8, 2013 at MOXE Theatre. Buy Tickets Online Now or call 858-598-7620