Interview with Karen and Ian Merrill Peakes
We interviewed Karen and Ian Merrill Peakes, the stars of Maytag Virgin. Read their interview below, and be sure to get your tickets to Maytag Virgin now before they sell out!
How did you each get your start in theatre?
Karen: I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be in theatre. My mom and dad took me to see some live shows – children’s theatre, and, later, Shakespeare – and I was hooked! I majored in Theatre at DeSales University, and have been acting ever since.
Ian: My start in theater was not a choice. I was literally born into it. My family founded a theater in ‘66 and I was brought into the world in ‘69. I spent so much time backstage and at rehearsals growing up, that I was almost unable to choose another profession. Thought about golf, but ended up coming back to what I loved so very much.
Is this your first time performing live since the start of the pandemic? If so, what is it like to be back onstage?
Karen: It is, indeed, the first time performing live since the start of this insane time. It’s surreal and magical to be back. In some ways, it feels like coming home – and, because it’s been so long and this play requires so much of both of us, it can also feel utterly exhausting – equivalent to exercising muscles you’ve not used in a long time. It’s intense!
Ian: This is my first live show since I closed a show with my wife, oddly enough, on March 1, 2020. I did a couple projects on camera during this pandemic, but to think about sharing what we do with actual humans is pretty thrilling. We are story tellers and we do that best with others in the room.
What has been your favorite part about acting together?
Karen: Each and every time I work with Ian onstage I am reminded just how talented he is. We share a life together off stage, obviously, but there’s something totally unique about sharing a life onstage. We get to have the comfort of knowing each other’s unspoken cues and rhythms, while also exploring entirely new parts of ourselves and living that exploration together in a very real way. There’s an inherent respect and comfort level and trust that allows for a lot of creative freedom. We have each other’s backs.
Ian: Acting with my wife has become one of the great joys of my life. We have different processes but appreciate and respect each others way forward. It’s so glorious to look across the stage and see such a trustworthy companion. We both believe in telling the story the best way possible. And we do have a bit of a history so we can go to some places that we cannot with other actors. It’s pretty thrilling. Also, we take breaks together and eat lunch together. I like all the time with her. Don’t tell her I said that.
What can people expect from Maytag Virgin?
Karen: People can expect a lovely, heartwarming story, with some laughs, a lot of smiles, and maybe a few tears. I think the relief, the joy, and the magic of sharing space again, and living the life of this play with an audience, will be remarkable. I’m so grateful and I can’t wait to share.
Ian: I refuse to tell the audience what to expect from Maytag. That’s on them. But I promise we will give them a lovely two hours that will hopefully take them out of themselves. Some laughs, some emotions. And a dryer.