Caro Meets Theatre Interview

Lizan Mitchell: Dead and Breathing

By | Published on Thursday 22 February 2018

Currently showing at The Albany is the European premiere of ‘Dead and Breathing’ by US writer Chisa Hutchinson, which is described as “an unexpectedly funny tale of morality and mortality that pits the right to die against the right to live on your own terms”.
The show stars Kim Tatum, aka Mz Kimberley, who you might recently have seen on ITV’s ‘Transformation Street’, and screen and stage veteran, Lizan Mitchell, known for her appearances on such shows as ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ and ‘Law and Order’.
I had a quick chat with Lizan, to find out a bit more about the play.

CM: So, let’s start with the obvious question – what is ‘Dead and Breathing’ about? What story does it tell?
LM: I think of ‘Dead and Breathing’ as a hilariously serious story. It’s a story about our imaginary control of life and death. As humans, in order to cope with day-to-day life, we all walk around with this idea that we have a degree of control over our own mortality, that life, and indeed death is somehow less precarious than it actually is. This play challenges our perceptions on this.

CM: What themes does the show explore?
LM: I think one of the most interesting themes running through the play revolves around what money can buy and why; and indeed what it can’t. Also the right to die and the illusions of class and gender.

CM: What character do you play, and what do you like about the role?
LM: I play Carolyn Whitlock, she’s rich, she’s spoiled and she has terminal cancer. I love her because she is so exquisitely obnoxious.

CM: Can you tell us a bit about your co-star?
LM: Everywhere I go with Kim, strangers act like they already know and like her – she has a very inclusive heart.

CM: What attracted you to the role, and how did you become involved with the production?
LM: I was the first person to play this role when it opened in the US so it’s a delight to be able to bring it to London. I’m drawn to characters that unabashedly say what’s on their mind so this character is a real delight for me to play. This is my first time in the UK, so everything is an adventure.

CM: Can you tell us a bit about the playwright?
LM: Chisa Hutchinson is a master story teller. Her plays take us on unpredictable journeys where the truth twists and turns in fascinating ways.

CM: Now, about you: did you always want to perform? What made you want this type of career?
LM: I’ve loved acting from as far back as I can remember. Fortunately, my mother and grandmother nurtured this chubby little girl who loved to perform.

CM: What ambitions do you have for the future?
LM: Ultimately – to continue exploring who I am through what I love doing. That’s my ongoing ambition.

CM: What’s coming up next for you after this?
LM: I’m co-founder of Quick Silver Theater Co. and we’re having our third annual QST Summit for new play development in Geneva, NY this spring. We just selected the finalists!


‘Dead And Breathing’ is on at The Albany until 3 Mar, see the venue website here for information and to book.