Thursday 23 November 2017

Dublin Theatre Festival stars Sheana Kerslake and Owen Roe talk acting

Actress Seana Kerslake from ‘A Date for Mad Mary’. Photo :Gerry Mooney
Actress Seana Kerslake from ‘A Date for Mad Mary’. Photo :Gerry Mooney

Chris Wasser

Irish stars Seana Kerslake and Owen Roe on their respective shows at the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Seána Kerslake

The acclaimed Irish actress, best known for her breakout roles in A Date for Mad Mary and RTE's Can't Cope, Won't Cope, returns to the stage in Druid's bold new adaptation of Eugene McCabe's King of the Castle. Kerslake talks characters, career and hitting the big-time…

"I knew King of the Castle was going to be a challenge, but one I wanted to try and tackle. Working with Druid and director Garry Hynes was a huge draw too, not to mention the unbelievable cast involved in the project. Marty Rea is always amazing to watch, so it's fantastic to work with him.

"Tressa, my character, is a strong and ambitious woman. Unfortunately, the times she lives in stop her from achieving all she wants to in life, which makes her extremely frustrated. She is a woman who loves and feels strongly.

"I've yet to double-job in my career, but I have had to move quickly from one project to the next. I think you just have to be focused on the project you're working on at that moment. It can be tricky, but rehearsal and prep time can help. One thing I always do, before a show, is listen to music.

"Acting has always been part of my life, but I don't know if I thought it would be my career. I do have notebooks from when I'm about 12 saying, 'I'd like to be an actor'. I don't think a specific event made me want to be an actor, it was more, 'What would my life be like without it?' Then I knew I had no other option but to be an actor.

"I couldn't possibly choose between filmed work and theatre. I'd miss one if I chose the other. They are both amazing art forms and have equal pros that are different to the other. When it comes down to it, for me, it's the same thing, just enhancing different parts of the skill-set.

"The biggest after-effect of A Date for Mad Mary would be increased opportunity. I got to travel a lot with the film, and gained US representation from it being shown around the world. Therefore, you have the privilege of seeing a wider range of scripts and have access to more work…"

King of the Castle runs at the Gaiety Theatre, Oct 11-15. Tickets: €16-€46

OWEN ROE

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Owen Roe
Owen Roe

The veteran theatre actor has never been better. Ahead of his starring turn in Rough Magic's Melt, Owen Roe talks staying focused and pre-show rituals…

You've just finished up with The Great Gatsby at the Gate. Melt opens next week at Smock Alley. What's the secret to staying focused with all that material in your head?

"The material is the least difficult part. That's a process of sheer repetition until it sticks in your memory. It's focusing on your energy levels and making sure you've enough in store for that evening's performance. That's the tricky bit. You're working a 12-hour day, and you can't short-change your audience. If you can grab a nap at some point in the day, it's a great help."

What made you want to become an actor?

"I've always wanted to be a performer for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, performers always seemed to live in a more interesting, colourful 'other' world and didn't always appear to conform to a normal lifestyle. That was for me."

If you weren't acting, what do you think you'd be doing now?

"I'd be an intrepid explorer."

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

"A vocal warm-up, lots of stretches and some music to create the right atmosphere before hitting the stage."

You've been fortunate enough to work in TV, film and theatre. But if you had to pick just one field…

"Theatre, I guess. Film and television certainly can pay better, but if job satisfaction and a nightly buzz is your high, then it's got to be the stage."

Acting is a precarious business. Does the fear of wondering where the next job will come from ever go away?

"Of course not. That just goes with the territory. And let's be honest, what profession doesn't have that insecurity these days?"

What advice would you give to those wishing to pursue an acting career?

"Be prepared for the best and the worst. It can bring so many rewards if it works out for you. And if you do become a huge success, don't turn into an asshole."

Melt runs at the Smock Alley Theatre, Sept 28-Oct 1/Oct 3-8. Tickets: €20-€30

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