Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Kristen Mathisen, who is performing, as Dinah, in The Dixie Swim Club. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far! LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?
KM: After playing Bunny Sutherland in “The Hallelujah Girls” last season, I was eager to play another character written by the same playwrights. I love the way these women are written and the sweetness of their relationships over the years.
LA: For those that are unfamiliar with The Dixie Swim Club can you tell us about the show?
KM: Five college friends who were on the same champion swim team meet every August on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. You see their relationships evolve over several decades. The comedy is sweet and gentle, and there are some very poignant moments.
LA: Talk about the character that you play in The Dixie Swim Club?
Dinah Grayson is probably the most serious of the five women. She is a lawyer by profession and has a sense of humor as dry as the martinis of which she is quite fond. How have you developed this character? It is still early in the process, and for now I am relying a great deal on the wonderful women I am working with to guide me as I explore the opportunities for this character. I am also grateful to the internet for giving me instructions on mixing martinis and screwdrivers; it is not a skill that comes
LA: Why should women come and see The Dixie Swim Club?
KM: It is a play about friendship, and how the magnificent women we share our lives with can help us to keep life in perspective with love, humor and kindness. Oh, and good southern biscuits.
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
KM:I am amazed at how quickly I feel I have bonded with these women, most of whom I have only just met. I feel as though I have known them for a long time.
LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of The Dixie Swim Club?
KM:Each character is unique and because of their individual qualities each brings an interesting story to tell. The way comedy is used to illustrate each character is a lot of fun.
LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?
KM:The way comedy and sentiment are balanced in the story lines. And the amount of laughter during rehearsals. I only hope the audiences will enjoy watching this show as much as we are enjoying doing it.
LA: Being that this show is all about a group of girlfriends, what is your favorite thing to do on a “Girls Weekend?”
KM: Having grown up on Lake Superior, it would have to be sailing the Apostle Islands. Or simply sitting around eating junk food and talking.
LA: Being that The Dixie Swim Club is written by the same creative playwrights who also wrote The Hallelujah Girls, that Lyric Arts produced last season, what are the differences between the shows?
KM: “The Hallelujah Girls” centered around a group of women struggling to help a friend grow her spa business in the face of aggressive opposition from another woman in the town. Friendship plays a key role in both shows. While “Hallelujah Girls” covers a period of about one year, “Dixie Swim Club” allows us to watch the progress of these friends through most of their lives.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am an actor, and count myself fortunate to live in the Twin Cities where there is so much opportunity. Finding Lyric Arts was such a bonus. It is so representative of the theatre organizations available in the Metro area. I am also passionate about my family, photography and writing – in particular, taking photos of family and then writing about the pictures.