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Interview: Ava Mingo of RIDE THE CYCLONE at Emerging Professionals Ensemble

This production runs July 26th through August 8th

Interview: Ava Mingo of RIDE THE CYCLONE at Emerging Professionals Ensemble

Part comedy, part tragedy-and wholly unexpected-this wildly imaginative story delivers surprises at every turn. The lives of six teenagers from a Canadian chamber choir are cut short in a freak accident aboard a roller coaster. A mechanical fortune-teller invites each to tell their story of a life interrupted-offering the chance to come to terms with their fates. At once quirky and smart, edgy and beautiful, Ride the Cyclone ultimately reveals the resilience of the human spirit in spite of senseless tragedy.Enter Your Article Text Here!

We chat with Ava who plays Ocean in the production.

How does it feel to have live audiences and theatres back?

It feels amazing! A big reason why myself and so many other performers love what they do, is because we get to share space and be in conversation with the community community. It's felt so comforting to be in the rehearsal room experimenting, playing, laughing, and creating the story that we are telling and want to be telling. And then to be able to share that joy with audiences is beautiful.

What inspired you to pursue performing?

I grew up doing all sorts of summer camps, and the ones that I kept returning to were always theatre camps. In high school, I started pursuing Theatre as more as a hobby, but I fell in love with this kind of storytelling and I knew I wanted to take it more seriously in the future. The rest is history.

How does this role compare to other roles you've played?

I love to play character roles, roles that I think are farthest from myself, and Ocean definitely fits that. Although we are quite opposite, she is such a fun character to play and I haven't had the chance to play the "villain" in a while. Who doesn't like to play the villain?

What was your process for developing your character?

Lots of trial and error. Just throwing as many ideas to the wall as I could and seeing what sticks. I had to find how the character worked for me, how she fit into who I am as an actor and artists and not trying to replicate an idea that I couldn't emulate. A lot of forgiveness in myself and allowing failure to be a welcomed part of the process. Failing was just as important at succeeding! I feel like I went through many iterations of Ocean, but there is freedom within the framework now. Now, I can really trust and play!

Do you have a favorite song in the show?

The entire Ride the Cyclone score is one of my favorites. I absolutely love "The Ballad of Jane Doe". It is so perfectly haunting and the actress who plays Jane Doe, Alexa Johnson, is an insane vocalist and tells Jane's story of absence and mystery beautifully. "Talia" is also such a great number, and actor Kyle Doherty (who plays Mischa) is such a versatile and layered actor that it makes it all the more while.

Did you face any challenges with your character or the production?

It was hard approaching Ocean at first. I felt so distant from her that it was hard to sink into the mentality and physicality of the role. So, I started working backwards. You always find a way to love your character, and I love how Ocean changes over the show. She loses her frigidity, she gains self awareness, you see her discover that life is more than tangible things you can "check off your to do list". I love seeing and feeling her growth. When I understood her arc, it made me latch onto the parts that I felt like I couldn't understand deeper. I had to understand her end before I could understand her beginning.

How was working with the cast and the creative team?

Without fail, I return to EPE every year because of the people. I've had some of the best summers meeting people I would call my closest friends and working with intelligent and intuitive artists. Directors Rachel Brady and Rob Thompson have been amazing mentors for me over these three years I've been at EPE. John Mark, our choreographer, is a genius at physicalizing a story. There is amazing unison, like mindedness, talent, and compassion here at EPE that is addicting. I'm so grateful to be apart of this community.

What do you hope the audience takes away from seeing this production?

Our world is in dire need of compassion right now. A lot of self righteousness and holding onto privilege that doesn't belong. I hope audiences see how these characters work to understand themselves and each other for the better. To listen. To allow yourself to change. Learn how to have conversations with the people around you and with yourself. Live your life for yourself, never anyone else. It's not selfish to take care of yourself.

What are your favorite local spots?

Since it's patio season, I've been loving Taberna on Lake Street. Perfect for a bite to eat and then spending the day across the street at the beautiful Bde Maka Ska. I know the cast can all attest that we are frequent visitors to McDonald's AND Cold Stone for a late night post-rehearsal treat. You can never go wrong with a cup of ice cream and some fries.

Thank you Ava!

For more tickets and show information, click the button below.

Photo courtesy of EPE

From This Author - Jared Fessler

Jared [He/Him] is originally from Iowa and resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up doing theatre and studied music, dance, and theatre with additional training in BFA musical theatre.

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