sheila regan

The Keys Experiment


<span style="font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; color: #333333;">photo by Alex Kay Potter &nbsp; </span>

The Keys Experiment | Media List

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    <span style="font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; color: #333333;">photo by Alex Kay Potter &nbsp; </span>


The Keys Experiment

This solo work received its premier at Red Eye's Works in Progress Festival in June 2010. It was subsequently  shown, in a longer version, at the Soap Factory's Artery Festival on July 30.

Written and Performed by Sheila Regan
Directed by Maggie Scanlan
Sound Design by Dixie Treichel
Movement by Romina Tokimoto
This play is based on the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, a study
conducted at the University of Minnesota between November 19, 1944 and
December 20, 1945. Led by Dr. Ancel Keys, the study used
Conscientious Objectors (C.O.'s) as volunteers to study physiological
and psychological effects of severe and prolonged dietary restriction
and the effectiveness of dietary rehabilitation strategies.
In this piece I explore the altruism that fueled the actions of these
volunteers. World War II has historically been labeled "the good war"
but not everyone felt that way at the time. This piece is an attempt
to look at notions of war, starvation, altruism, and patriotism.
Special Thanks: The University of Minnesota Archives, Barbra Berlovitz, Anna Pratt, Jennifer Regan, Kelly Regan, Joe Corneli, Matthew Everett, Chris Kidder, Sasha Walloch, Hector Roberts, Cyn Collins, Steve Busa, Mirium Must and my fellow Works in Progress
Artists and their collaborators for giving invaluable feedback.  Also thanks to Fiona MacNeill and The Soap Factory.


"Next was a selection fromThe Keys Experiment, written and performed by Sheila Regan. Sheila is a friend of mine and I've enjoyed seeing her perform in supporting roles in various productions, but it was new for me to see her in an ambitious original solo piece like this, and it was remarkable to watch her shift fluidly among the various characters in this true story of a starvation study conducted on conscientious objectors at the University of Minnesota during World War II. The sparse set and lighting, as well as Dixie Triechel's sound design, worked to great effect. It's clear that when completed, this will be a compelling rendition of a disturbing tale—what will be most interesting to me will be to see what themes emerge in the full-length production, and where Sheila finds contemporary resonance in these 70-year-old events."

-Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet

"Best Solo Performance of 2010" - John Townsend, Lavender Magazine