Q&A: The gory details behind Nox! Marry! Kill!
WIT ensemble Nox! put their fate in your hands this summer during their new show Nox! Marry! Kill!—a part of WIT Presents: Summer School. Cast members John Heiser and Brianna Lux talk about how the fun began in a “What If” exercise and how the show will play out on stage.
Real quick — can you explain the structure of the show?
Heiser: Nox! Marry, Kill invites our audience to play the infamous “F@$k, Marry, Kill” game with us. Instead of using celebrities or people they know in real life, we introduce three completely improvised characters based on the audience’s suggestion. Then we explore these characters and the worlds around them via monologues and a run of scenes. We finish with the tough choices, asking the audience… who do you want to Marry? Who do you want to Kill? Who do you want to, um, Nox!?
What inspired Nox! to create this show? How did the cast come together to shape the concept?
Heiser: Beer, wine and conversation. Is that too honest? Ha. Ok, so we have brainstorming sessions for our new structure each year. We discuss our strengths, challenges, what ideas team members are interested in exploring. We give that to Coach Reaves [McElveen] and hope he can make some sense of it all. It’s the ultimate “What If” exercise. Our inspiration is doubling down on the peculiar, dark comedy we enjoy.
Lux: I was traveling for work and missed the rehearsal where we came up with the concept, but I got a GroupMe text the next morning saying, “We came up with our structure: Nox!, Marry, Kill” with no additional context. I thought, “That’s pretty much perfect.” As we’ve been workshopping the structure, we’ve also taken inspiration from those awful/amazing dating videos from the ‘80s.
This is a new format you created for Summer School; what excites you about doing the format?
Heiser: The audience interaction. No matter how we think it’s going, the audience has a mind of their own. That and the weird wild worlds we get into when these characters collide later in the show.
Lux: I’m excited about the characters we’ve been creating. Creating wacky characters is definitely one of Nox!’s strengths, so it’s been extra fun to really dig in and explore these characters. What makes them unique, what makes them relatable, and what makes them awful. Mostly awful.
This show has a lot of audience interaction. How do you think and hope audience members will respond?
Heiser: We want them to take this show and the game home with them. Whether it’s the characters or the choices each of them would make.
Lux: I hope the show sparks nostalgia for the game, and everyone is excited to play along. We want them to shout out who they want to f@$k, marry, and kill, Price Is Right-style.
Given that you’re asking audience members to decide who they’d like to marry, kill, or f@$k, do you think cast members egos might get inflated or bruised?
Heiser: This assumes that each of us want to be the character chosen to marry or f@$k doesn’t it? If so then you might be surprised! We hope to deliver characters that speak to more than one choice and may even opening hope for a specific outcome. It’s all in the audience’s hands.
Lux: My sole goal is to get the audience to want to kill my character, every time.
What are some of the memorable outcomes of the format in rehearsals?
Heiser: Jenna Hall finding love in the teacher’s lounge while Creed played on a loop. Jenna Hall’s character Jub-Jub, named after Selma’s pet iguana on The Simpsons. Jenna Hall’s, look, I am haunted by Jenna Hall examples ok?
Lux: Did we mention that Nox! features 2017 FIST Champion Jenna Hall?
Got your three choices ready? See the Nox! show schedule here.