"What have I learnt about Olivia...? Well, I think the biggest thing that I’ve learnt is that she’s a really complex character, like we all are. She’s full of contradictions...each night is more and more contradictions about her. She’s so human, she’s not a two dimensional character..."
As the final refrain of 'We Are Family' rings out, Annette reflects on her time with her newfound Globe family.
Time: 3 minutes 58 seconds
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Transcript of Podcast
Rona Kelly: We’ll talk a little bit about the character now of Olivia, because you’ve been with her so long now. What have you learned about the character?
Annette McLaughlin: That’s a good question...what have I learnt about her? I’ve learnt that the more withheld she is at the beginning of her journey and deep in grief of some kind of grief bubble, that the more the carpet goes from underneath her when she falls in love with Cesario. What else have I learnt...? Well, I think the biggest thing that I’ve learnt about her is that she’s a really complex character, like we all are. She’s full of contradictions: she falls and then she tries to pull herself back together, then she falls again. And then she’s very dignified and says, ‘I will not have you’, and then she loses herself again. She thinks she knows who she is and then something absolutely knocks her off guard, like all of us. And that’s what’s so extraordinary about this play, all those characters are written so brilliantly and they’re all full of such contradictions and complexity and I think that’s what I have learnt. Each night is more and more contradictions about her. She’s so human, she’s not a two dimensional character. She’s a brilliant human and I think that’s what people can identify with; even though it’s a different type of language, these characters are so brilliantly well formed.
RK: And I think Emma [Rice, Director] does that brilliantly with her direction. As well formed as they are in the text, she gives the context around it. With your character, we get the bit at the beginning where we see you going through the clothing etc. Very moving. Really, really beautiful moment.
AM: It’s important to get a bit of that, and we discussed that in rehearsals, me and Emma. If we don’t establish any kind of grief or any sadness in the household, then there’s nowhere to go. Even though it’s a very brief moment in a very sort of fun play, we both felt that we needed something to show her utter grief and that life had stopped for everybody in that house.
RK: Yes. And then finally, what have you learned about yourself during your time here?
AM: What have I learned about myself...? Well as an actor, I’ve learnt a whole new set of skills being on that stage. I’ve learnt about working with an audience. I’ve learnt about bravery, about truth and...weather!
RK: And pigeons!
AM: And pigeons, yes! And working that space. I’ve realised I like Shakespeare even more than I did before. I’m very passionately in love with Shakespeare and being in that theatre has just made it tenfold. I just have had such a wonderful time doing soliloquies to the audience, and having the reactions that we’ve had has been really exciting.
And I’ve learned that I love Shakespeare’s Globe, basically! It’s an amazing place to work. People are wonderful, you get to meet every kind of person who works here. The Green Room is one of the best places ever, because it’s not a Green Room for actors, it’s a Green room for everybody. For security, for cleaners, for office people, for all sorts of people. You get to mix with everybody, and that’s what it’s all about. And I’ve learnt that it is one of the best theatres in the world. And I’ve been told that before I worked here, and I now agree fully and I can’t wait to come back.
RK: Brilliant. Well we’ll hope to welcome you back soon again, and thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us in this podcast series.
AM: Thank you so much!
Thanks to Janet for the transcription of this interview.