For Alexis Macedo, Fresno City’s ‘Let the Right One In’ means having a bloody good time

And now playing at Fresno City College: a tidy 19th century drawing-room comedy of manners, complete with droll dialogue, Victorian wallpaper, fussy hats and a brief, dramatic interlude consisting of a character taking off her glove and lightly slapping her beau with it.

Sorry, um, that’s in an alternate universe.

Pictured above: Claudio Laso and Alexis Elisa Macedo in ‘Let the Right One In.’ Photo: Mark Tabay, Fresno City College

Fresno City’s theater department is embracing pop culture this time around. “Let the Right One In” is a horror thriller based on a popular book and movie that features a 400-year-old vampire. If that doesn’t grab the younger demographic, what will? Director Charles Erven jumped at the chance to present a theatrical production chock full of blood and action, with a script cinematic in scope and a puppy-love story that just happens to include coagulation.

Alexis Elisa Macedo plays Eli, the vampire, who connects with a troubled boy, Oskar. Here’s our conversation:

Q: You’ve played a lot of different characters on stage, but never a vampire. How are you with blood? You hear about people who can’t go to medical school because they can’t handle the gore. Any worries for you along those lines?


A: I was so excited to begin working with blood! The only thing that didn’t excite me was the taste. Blood is constantly in or around my mouth in this show and it tasted awful, and it would affect the way I played feeding on stage, but thanks to my special effects team running many “blood tests,” my taste buds are happy and Eli’s appetite appears satisfied.

Your character, Eli, is a bit of a mess. You describe her as “dirty, smelly and talks weird.” How does she meet Oskar, the boy who takes an interest in her?

Oskar is playing alone in their building courtyard and she’s watching him from the shadows of a jungle gym. Having never seen an individual like the other before, their curiosities are piqued, and their first meeting is nothing short of intriguing.

One key aspect of the play is that it is set in the 1980s in Sweden. Why is the time period important?

It is set in October 1981. Earlier that year, HIV was mentioned for the first time and plagued the gay community. With Oskar being constantly bullied, and Eli asking him if he would still like her if she wasn’t a girl, he is worried about his affections towards Eli — and the possibly harmful repercussions if the boys at school were to find out.

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It kind of creeps me out to even mention him, but tell us about Haaken, Eli’s caretaker. He’s kind of like an UberEats for vampires — he’s willing to deliver the sustenance that Eli so desperately needs right to her door. What is his motivation?

Their relationship is like an uncomfortable divorce. Haaken has a deep, inappropriate love for Eli that is so strong that he kills for her. He longs for intimacy and love that Eli’s frozen in time, child like body can not deliver … He fails to understand that they can not be together for much longer as he continues to age, she’ll need to find new venues in order to survive.

I hear that Claudio Laso, who plays Oskar, is a huuuge fan of the “Let the Right One In” universe. It started as a Swedish book, then a Swedish movie, and then an American movie named “Let Me In,” am I right? Were you also an expert?

I was not an expert but I was eager. Before auditions or watching movies, I read the script and was immediately taken away by this complex and strange character that was unlike any other I had ever read before and thought … she has to climb what? There’s a swimming pool where?? I watched the movies shortly after and knew I need to be an expert in order to give an original interpretation of this iconic vampire.

Mark Tabay / Fresno City College

Blood is in abundance in ‘Let the Right One In.’

OK, let’s talk about you. Eli has to consume human blood on a regular basis or her hunger takes a severe physical toll. Is there any food that drives you the same way? If you don’t eat pizza for two weeks, say, are you pathetic and near death?

Sweets. I have a huge sweet tooth and I stopped sweets cold turkey so I could better physically prepare for this roll. I wouldn’t say I was near death, but I do get cranky. Once this show closes I need a pint of ice cream and a spoon.

A vampire, an axe murderer and an Orc all ask you on a date for the same night. Which one do you accept?

I would have to decline all of them, because I am not planning to end up on “Dateline.”

It’s one thing for a screenwriter to call for lots of blood-and-guts on screen, because you can shoot multiple takes and add in special effects. On stage, however, everything has to be done live. Why is this such a challenge? Without giving anything major away, can you tell us one small example of a horror effect from the show?

Cleanup. This show is very fast paced so while me turning into Carrie on stage is a horrific and impressive sight … I also have a cleanup team armed with baby wipes to get me ready to go back onstage in under a minute.

Eli is 400 years old. If you have become a vampire in order to be in this show — and there is no evidence that you have not, come to think of it, which is why I’m glad we’re doing this portion of the interview by email — you could still be alive in 2420. Are you tempted?

Don’t be scared, Donald, you can be the Christian Slater to my Brad Pitt. If you refer to my answer above, Eli can’t eat sweets … If I really were a vampire (and I’m not denying I am not), I would be a very cranky vampire constantly craving cupcakes, ice cream, and chocolate!

Do you think Fresno City College can convince a big turnout from the younger demographic for this play?

I think so. With how widely known the movie is and spooky season upon us, I think fans will come for the blood and stay for the heart.

Anything else you’d like to say?

A special thank you to everyone that has helped create “Eli.” My blood team, fight coordinator, gymnast, costumer, stage manager, set designers (who have worked on everything I climb on), the boys that lift me, and my director have all had an important hand in my process as an actor. Eli is a complex, bloodthirsty little cookie, and I couldn’t have done ANY of Eli’s outstanding traits without any of them.

Show info

‘Let the Right One In,’ through Oct. 12, Fresno City College Theatre. Tickets are $14, $12 students and seniors.

Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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