Caitlin Dunlap '15

 
Whether you like scary movies, playing make believe in a DIY costume, or you still pretend to be a child and trick-or-treat at night (don't worry, we won't tell), Halloween has definitely become the highlight of the Fall holiday season. What better way to get into the spirit of the season with one Scary movie Classic turned musical?
 
Carrie, the musical, is based on the famous novel written by Stephen King. It's the story of a young girl named Carrie White who is lighted by her religious upbringing while trying to fit in in modern high school. She also discovers that she has special powers. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Caitlin Dunlap who plays Carrie in this years fall production. She is a senior BFA acting major at MSU.
 
Q: How excited were you when you found out you were playing Carrie?
 
A: "I cried. I don't usually get big roles so when I found out we were doing the show, I didn't even think I would be considered for it. Then Professor Rob Roznowski took me aside and told me I needed to look into doing the show, so I agreed. I really listened and connected with the soundtrack. I really love the soundtrack. So I chose my audition song and practiced it from January to April. When I got the part, I cried automatically."
 
Q: What is it like portraying Carrie who's suppose to be this spooky, out of place character?
 
A: "I'd say it can be depressing sometimes, especially after some of the rehearsals. You come away feeling exhausted emotionally and physically. Our director, Joe Barros, had the cast do an exercise on the first day where they would have to say something mean about me as a person. I had to follow them around and they had to tell me that I couldn't come with them. By the end of it, I was crying and everyone apologized to me afterwards, but I knew it was just an exercise. I think the movie becoming a musical adds so much more color to the story because Carrie doesn't talk much and the music allows her to express herself in a way that she can't in the movie depictions. Carrie has a terrible, terrible life, and I try to be as emotionally invested as possible.
 
Q: So I assume working with the cast was fun as well as unsettling at times?
 
A: "It can be. We're all friends in real life, and no one in the cast liked bullying me. It was just an exercise to get us 'in the dark place', as our director would say, so the ensemble has to be mean to me, but we still support and love each other."
 
Q: How was it working with the director, Joe Barros? 
 
A: "He was really great. He's a guest director from New York and what's so great about him is that he really pushes us. He's obviously used to working with a more professional group of performers, so his expectations are high when it comes to choreography. He did both dance and directing for the show and if one person messed up, he'd stop that person and make them do the move again. I think some of us [the cast]got frustrated at times! but overall I think it was a positive experience. He's a really great guy, but he can be scary...in a good way :-)
 
Q: So which version of the movie "Carrie " is your favorite? 
 
A: I believe the version of Carrie in 1976 portrays her best. Don't watch the version from 2002, though. Lol
 
Q: Was Carrie your favorite role to play?
 
A: "Carrie is probably my favorite character to play ever, but definitely the most difficult and there's a lot of singing. I have not yet seen a show at MSU that has been so widely publicized. The writers of the show are aware of it. People are asking me for interviews, and I've never had that happen to me before. I'm used to having more comedic roles. I like to make people laugh, but I wouldn't mind doing a show like this in the future."
 
Q: Would you say that you're like Carrie in any way, that you sympathize with the character?
 
A: "I actually sympathize with Carrie a lot. I was bullied just like her in middle school and I understand that. I feel like a lot of people see her as the villain when they watch the movie, and she is, but at the same time, the students are, too. Carrie doesn't want to hurt anybody, but I think it shows the goods and bads in everyone. No one is perfect. This could happen to anyone. 
 
Q: So how did you work on honing Carrie's power of telekinesis? 
 
A: Joe didn't want Carrie's power to seem supernatural or science-fiction-like. He wanted it to almost look like I was physically pushing things by putting tension in my arms. So he told me to lift weights, but I never actually did. Lol