By now, you might be familiar with a teensy weensy Geek & Sundry show called Critical Role. Okay, it’s no longer teensy weensy by any stretch of the imagination and has…well…crept into imaginations everywhere! Matthew Mercer, voice actor and vivid storyteller, leads fellow voice actors on bigger than life (sometimes delightfully fatuous) Dungeons & Dragons campaigns in this ever-growing, ever-evolving LIVE show!
We had a moment to chat with Marisha Ray, who serves up a mystically engaging performance as Keyleth, the half-elf druid. Follow along to see how this adventure unfolds…
Espionage Cosmetics: Keyleth has an extremely enigmatic disposition. It’s interesting to see if the vulnerable or the unyielding side will shine through. How much did her earlier experiences lend to that? Can you provide any more details on those first moments during Keyleth’s Aramente?
Marisha Ray: Keyleth is still smack-dab in the middle of her Aramente. Each generation, the leader of each of the Ashari tribes (one for each of the elements), chooses a representative of great talent to embark on a journey to establish a connection with the other tribes, and prove themselves an honorable and worthy leader. If they succeed, or... Let’s be real, it’s D&D, live, they return home to lead their tribe. Keyleth’s mother, Vilya, was the original choice for the trial, but after ten years without any sign of her, Keyleth was next in line. And the only tribe that’s left to visit is the Water Ashari! Now, will her home tribe of the Air Ashari consider her worthy even when she returns? Hard to say, and this is where a lot of Keyleth’s driving, sometimes-neurotic, forces come from. Imagine if you were pushed out of your home for the first time and told, “... and DON’T come back ‘til you’re a hero!” with no real definition of what that even means, or how the world works. I mean, that’s definitely therapy inducing for anyone. I do have hope for Kiki, though. She’s learned the hard way that the world isn’t as kind as she hoped it was; but that doesn’t mean she’ll ever stop trying to make it better!
EC: How much of Keyleth’s character do you find relatable IRL?
MR: Heh, it’s hard, because we all have similarities in each other somewhere in our lives with pretty much everyone. The same is true for fictional characters. Personally, I’m not really like Keyleth in my everyday life. As you said earlier, she is very enigmatic; I’m very pragmatic. She tries to see the good in everyone; I’m… well, I’m a realist. However, I think she’s still a very relatable character to many people. Hell, that’s true for everyone in Vox Machina. It’s funny, because Taliesin and I always talk about how I’m most like Percy IRL, and he’s most like Keyleth IRL. This makes in-game debates very difficult sometimes <Ha!>. I will say, I have learned a lot from Keyleth. Living inside her head for nearly four years has made me far more empathetic and compassionate. She has definitely found a special place in my heart, and tattooed it with flowers and grasping vines.
EC: As a druid, do you have a preferred animal form? Which is the most fun to play/utilize? We must say that we thoroughly enjoy your physical renditions whilst shapeshifting!
MR: I mean, I gotta say Minxy, my white tiger form! She was my original favorite, and still my go-to RP form (AKA Keyleth’s safe space). Plus, the name came from a very fun RP moment while trying to intimidate a merchant with Grog. Thanks for the cool name, Grog! <high-five>
EC: Now that it’s no longer a spoiler, NAIL WRAPS! Critical Role nail wraps to be exact…How did the Critical Role & Espionage Cosmetics collab come to be?
MR: Ohhh man, so EXCITED! Several of us on the Critical Role cast & crew have been fans of Espionage Cosmetics for quite some time. Ashley and I were both Kickstarter backers back in the day, so, yeah…quite some time. Through a few hints and social media winks, we realized there was quite a lot of crossover in CR & EC fandom! I think one of us tweeted something along the lines, “Hey, wouldn’t some Critical Role nail wraps be dope?” and it got like a hundred “twitter hearts” faster than you can cook a hot pocket. Shortly after that we started working on our first designs! By the by, I am THRILLED with how they turned out. They’re classy, totally wearable for the guys who wanna take the nail wrap plunge, AND have the Gilmore Seal of Approval!
Yup! That’s right, folks and #Critters! Critical Role Nails Wraps are now a thing (in two delightful flavors: Red vs. Blue) and we couldn’t be more pumped! Well, maybe if we also had a plate of flaky hot pockets. That sounds really good right now actually. Dang it, 'Rish!
We have one final question for you all: