"There’s moments where I go back to the audience and treat them like a confessor: ask what they think about what’s going on. And it’s just really exciting to have that sort of arm of a theatre, arms around you with all these people..."
With Tech Week ticked off, Annette takes us through soliloquies, speeches, and confessing.
Time: 3 minutes 39 seconds
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Transcript of Podcast
Rona Kelly: So, welcome back to Adopt An Actor. We’re catching up with Annette, who has been playing Olivia in Twelfth Night. It has been a little bit of a while since we caught up last, actually. I think we last spoke to you in rehearsals.
Annette McLaughlin: Lots has happened since then!
RK: Why don’t you take us back to how Tech Week went, getting it up on stage?
AM: Tech Week was good, hard work. I think we only had two days to get it all done. It was quite short Tech for this, so it was full on, long days. And actually now I think about it, the weather was terrible. Our first preview, it was absolutely chucking it down with rain, like proper winter rain, not sort of summer rain. But we got it all done. It was very exciting to finally be in the theatre, from being in a rehearsal room which feels so different to actually being on that stage. And then of course the first preview was a whole other thing with experiencing the audience for the first time, which was very, very exciting. Suddenly the last piece of the jigsaw was in place, which is the audience.
It never ceases to amaze me now, how exciting it is out there with an audience, especially with the first time I did my soliloquy and being able to talk to people and see people’s faces was so exciting. And you just suddenly had this deep understanding about what soliloquies were all about. We’ve known since drama school what they were about, but to finally do it in its proper setting with an audience, full audience, looking at you like they want your character to get their heart’s desire. And so every time you talk to them they’re there with you a 100 percent. So that was really exciting and is exciting every night actually. It’s always different and the first time I look out there and look at the audience is a real thrill, still. I come off stage and go, 'Wow, God this place is amazing!'
You know the feeling of before going on stage for the first preview (I remember other actors who’ve worked here saying the same thing), it’s scary which it is. You know, I have a while till I do my first scene and you hear that kind of crazy noise from the audience and it sort of feels a little bit like a bear pit going out there for the first time! But you sort of have to jump onto the roller-coaster and go with it and allow it all to happen. And it’s really liberating, it’s very exciting.
RK: And you mentioned your soliloquy there, which speech is that you’re talking about?
AM: After I’ve met Cesario for the first time and I say, 'What is your parentage?' 'Above my fortunes, yet my state is well: I am a gentlemen'. The first time I sort of talk to the audience really and she’s sort of trying to cover up a lot of stuff in that scene, where she is kind of falling a little bit and then pulling herself together, and then being very curious about this young man, and then finally she’s able to say everything she’s thinking to the audience. So yes, that’s the moment. Along with you know, 'I do I know not what' after the little scene with Malvolio.
RK: And what other scenes do you find you’re really having some great interaction with the audience, obviously the soliloquy.
AM: Sort of all the way through from there, really. There’s moments where I go back to them and ask [them] like a confessor, ask them what they think about what’s going on. And it’s just really exciting to have, you know that sort of arm of a theatre, arms around you with all these people. The energy of it is extraordinary and then the reaction when things do go well for Olivia is sort of overwhelming, because they’ve been with you every step of the way which is lovely.
Thanks to Judith for the transcription of this interview.