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Interview: Laila Sahir of CABAL at WALKING SHADOW THEATRE COMPANY

This production runs now through August 31st

Interview: Laila Sahir of CABAL at WALKING SHADOW THEATRE COMPANY

Forgotten alchemy. An ancient order. The pursuit of new magic.

A renegade magister's quest threatens the Cabal's very existence. Who should control this ultimate power? Enter the secret society and unlock the truth.

Walking Shadow Theatre Company presents Cabal, a live theater experience with puzzles. An audience of 10 people explores an immersive environment, meeting characters and discovering large-scale, hands-on challenges.

We chat with cast member Laila Sahir about her role and the production.

How does it feel to have live audiences and theatres back?
SO GOOD. It's been amazing to share space with live audiences again. I've done quite a bit of pre-recorded and virtual performance over the past couple of years, but there's just something so special about the interchange that happens between live audiences and performers that I've definitely missed having.
What inspired you to pursue theatre?
I was sort of a latecomer to theater, actually. I did a few school plays in high school, but I had always thought I wanted to be a teacher and never expected to do any professional theater. It wasn't until I was nearly halfway through my undergrad that I decided to go for it. Frankly, I had no idea what I was getting into, but I'm so glad I made the choice to pursue the career I have.
How does this role compare to other roles you've played?
This role has a unique set of demands because of the style of the show. (Cabal is immersive, and the audience solves puzzles as part of the show.) I'm usually not one to develop extensive backstories for my characters, but having a deep character history for this role has helped me to relax into the interactive nature of the performances.
What was your process for developing your character?
The character development process for Cabal was a highly collaborative one. When I first joined the show in 2019, there had already been months of work done by the incredible Tara Borman to develop the character of Morgan. So I was really fortunate to have her expertise and guidance to draw on when I started performing the role as well (we alternate shows). With a cast as small as ours (two actors in each performance), rehearsals also tended to focus on the relationship between our characters just as much as on blocking and tech, and those conversations definitely informed my character choices as well.
Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
Not a specific moment per se, but I love the moments when I get to see audience members make discoveries during the show. There's a specific joy in using your imagination and problem-solving and just letting yourself play. I love that, as an artist, I get to do these things every day, and it makes me so happy when I see our audience members having a similar experience too.
Did you face any challenges with your character or the production?
What's exciting and also daunting about Cabal is just how present it requires me to be in every performance. With an interactive audience and a rotating team of performers and show managers, no two shows are the same. It's an exciting challenge to take on!
How was working with the cast and the creative team?
The cast and crew (and the company itself) are an absolute dream to work with. The working environment that Walking Shadow has built is so open and collaborative, and I feel really lucky to have the colleagues I do.
What do you hope the audience takes away from seeing this production?
I really feel that Cabal is a magical space, and I learn something new every time I experience the story. Overall, my biggest takeaways from the show (and I hope these resonate with our audiences) are that there's power in community, and that we need to be active participants in creating the future that we want to see.
What are your favorite local spots?
I love spending as much time outside as I can! Some of my favorite walking and hiking spots are Minnehaha Falls, Lake of the Isles, Theodore Wirth Regional Park, and the Roberts Bird Sanctuary.
Thank you Laila for your time!
For more ticket and show information, please click on the ticket button link below.
Photo courtesy of Laila



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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