Name: Kean Haunt
From: Billings, MT
Lives: Middlebury, VT
Go-To Cycling Snack: Trail mix with stale marshmallows (mmm nice and chewy)
Cyclist Rating: Park rides and picnics are my jam
How did you hear about Agile Rascal and what made you want to do it?
I spent last summer at the amazing Double Edge Theatre in Massachusetts, where one of the original Rascals from the 2015 tour had also spent some time before me. The application was posted in their alumni network and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t apply. I have such respect for people making their pipe dreams into reality, and it is such a privilege to be included in a dream like this. Plus, it felt like serendipity that such an inspiring project would return me to my home state.
What is bicycle touring theatre to you?
An exercise in appreciation: of our bodies, of our landscapes, of our stories, and of our art.
Please tell us an embarrassing cycling story.
I used to ride my bike to my middle school, and one warm afternoon I slung my jacket over the handlebars for the trip home. As I stood up into my first pedal, a dangling sleeve found its way between the front tire and the brakes, locking the wheel and catapulting me over my handlebars. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, my coat was so tangled up around the fork that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to tug it free. After a few minutes kneeling on the sidewalk outside my school, blocking traffic, I gave up and resolved to carry my bike home with me. I only made it halfway before I ran out of steam and locked it to a tree. My mom drove me back later to pick it up.
Tell us about your best free theatre experience.
When I was in fifth grade my class went to see an outdoor production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. It was big and bloody and scary and fun and ten year old me was simultaneously terrified and exhilarated. I’d never seen anything quite so feral or thrilling. I spent the next few months checking for Caesar’s ghost behind me in the bathroom mirror every time I brushed my teeth.
What about Montana intrigues you?
I’m about to graduate from college, meaning it’s been four years since I’ve lived in Montana full time. However, it still feels like home, and it’s still the community I feel most responsible to. After some time away, my feelings about home have gone into a kind of mental rigor mortis. I know more or less what I think about Montana. But I’m about to experience home in a radically new context. I’ve never been to Montana as a bike-touring theatre artist. I can’t wait to see how this new lens makes the familiar into the strange.
Why do you choose to do live theatre? Especially in a digital age.
Human beings are innately really great at watching theatre. We can’t help but empathize with other humans in the room, and we project stories onto every detail we observe in another person’s behavior. Stepping into a theatre gives us permission to use this part of our imaginations in a way that sitting alone with a screen does not. The theatrical skills of telling stories and stepping into another person’s shoes are so integrated into our everyday behavior that we sometimes forget how wonderful they are. It takes a live performance to remind us of the value of this basic instinct.