A chat with Lydia Mackay on a place to start

Q: You play the titular character in this show who is inspired by a real person. While the play has no aim to be biographical, it does capture a timeless essence. In addition to being charming, witty, and hilariously clever, the play grapples with themes of identity, transition, hope, despair, love, and the blurry relationship between beginnings and endings - things that many of us have developed more nuanced relationships with over the past couple of years. As one of the area’s most prolific actors, what do you find most thrilling about this role at this particular moment in time and bringing the essence of this real woman to a modern audience?

A: Thank you for asking a question that makes me feel seen. Playing Elizabeth Sawyer at this moment in space/time feels like a dream come true for a kid who ran wild in nature, hid from monsters, and always turned down the princess costume in favor of the Witch. Hi, I’m Lydia Mackay, and I proudly claim the moniker of Witch. To me, these last two years have felt like an evolutionary fast forward, and I’m not just talking about a global pandemic. If we rush to get on the other side of it, we’ll have missed the chance to build something new. If we HOLD CENTER throughout it, we’ll come away changed… aka, that blurry relationship between beginnings/endings. What has started to blur for me is the line between my art and my life. I find myself deeply curious these days about the relationship we have with our physical/spiritual selves, our community, our purpose, our planet, and our capacity to heal ourselves. I believe these things are inseparable from one another. Throughout history, Witches have been a construct named by those who were/are AFRAID of those inseparable relationships. Witches are healers/teachers/guardians/seekers/conservationists/rebels, those who nurture/guide/protect/provoke/and do not fear the flame. Elizabeth does not fear the flame. The world needs more Witches, so join me by the fire and let’s dance.