An Inside Peek at Twin Peaks: An Interview with Elizabeth Sullivan

We took a moment to sit down with Elizabeth Sullivan, the Lawrence Arts Center’s Director of Performing Arts and the woman behind the upcoming immersive 940 Live performance, “Experience Twin Peaks: Welcome to the Black Lodge.”  Taking place on the main stage on October 27th and 28th, “Experience Twin Peaks” is a totally new combination of theater, music, and interactive art that is designed to make you feel like you’re a part of the popular ’90s television series.  Here’s what Elizabeth had to say:

Interviewer:  Elizabeth, how did you get interested in Twin Peaks and what inspired you to reinterpret it in this way?

Elizabeth: Twin Peaks is unlike any television show I know.  I saw it for the first time five years ago.  I didn’t see it when it first came out, but I had friends who really loved it and wouldn’t stop talking about it. And I knew I already loved David Lynch; he has this unique ability to combine visual art, story, and character in a way that draws people in and is pure emotion.  I remember I couldn’t stop thinking about Mulholland Drive, for instance.  I loved how it made me think as an audience member; it’s not easy.  So much mainstream film, entertainment, and art is  so simple; it’s telling us to learn a certain lesson or do something specific, but Lynch is the opposite of that.  His work requires critical thinking and drawing your own conclusions by making connections between what’s happening on screen and your own experiences.

Interviewer:  So, what can we expect as part of the Experience Twin Peaks performance?

Elizabeth:  You can expect to see many of the characters you’re familiar with from Twin Peaks: the Log Lady, Special Agent Dale Cooper, Audrey Horn, Donna, James.  We have a female version of Gordon Cole, which is unique.  And these actors aren’t mimicking the characters—they’re interpreting them.  This piece is really a kind of fan fiction love letter to Twin Peaks audiences.  And music is the central artistic element of the production. There are ten different pieces that you’ll hear—some of them are integrated with theatrical performance during the piece and some are just the band playing.  We’ve got a great combination of musicians from different local bands, and yes, that famous Twin Peaks theme song does make an appearance.

Interviewer: Now tell us about the pie. I hear there’s pie.

Elizabeth: There IS pie, and it will be served after the show.  It’s just another delicious part of the immersive theater experience.  When you arrive, you will check in to the Twin Peaks police station and be escorted downstairs to experience some surprises in the Washington State woods and then finally enter the Black Lodge.  You’ll actually take a seat in the audience from the stage. The main event–a fabulous theater-music mash-up–will take place over the course of about an hour, and then we’ll escort you to the Double R Diner for Ladybird pie and coffee.

Interviewer: Why is this the perfect show for Halloween?

Elizabeth: I don’t know anyone who has gotten into my nightmares and dreams like David Lynch.  He has this uncanny ability to create art that is just unforgettable and will haunt you for a long time.  As far as being creeped out goes, we have moments in the show that will definitely do that–the immersive entry way through the woods is really like a haunted house–very Halloween-ish. And we are totally encouraging you to come dressed up as your favorite Twin Peaks character. I can’t wait to see you at the show!

–Sarah Bishop, Chief Communications Officer