Interview with Sonya Kelly – How to keep an Alien!

how-to-keep-an-alien 2

The wonderful Sonya Kelly is just about to unleash her show “How to Keep an Alien” on the unsuspecting public of Portlaoise, Letterkenny, Dunfanaghy, Cork, Edinburgh and London. This was one of the hits of last year’s Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival and should not be missed on pain of death!

We had to chance to chew the fat with Sonya and you can find her musings on space travel, Tom Cruise and Immersion heaters below….

Full dates and details of the various gigs are at the bottom of the interview.

This production is largely autobiographical, did you feel exposed with so many people knowing about this part of your life?

Yes, not all real live people want to end up in plays. You have to be mindful of that. The trick to talking about yourself on stage is to reflect the experiences of the audiences through your own narrative to make the personally specific universal. They will always be more invested in what you are saying when they have, done those stupid messy things, felt those feelings too. There should be a real sense of, ‘Yep, I really did that…you too?’ A good number of people who have had visa issues often want to share their story too, which is lovely.

This production was in the Fringe Festival last year. How do you think crowds will react outside the unusual world of the Fringe?

I always look forward to bringing my work out beyond the home crowd and seeing how it holds up. This year, How To Keep An Alien will be going to the Traverse in Edinburgh and the Soho Theatre London which is bisected by a very substantial Irish tour. Trés excited, trés nervous. They’ll get it, the abroady people, I think, I hope.

What is it like working with (Director) Gina Moxley?

‘We do not go to the moon because it is easy. We go to the moon because it is hard.’ That’s what it’s like working with Gina. She gets you to the moon.

You have recently performed this show in Australia. Did the Australian audiences get it? Did you have to make changes to the language?

There was only one joke they didn’t get about an immersion. However, I decided not to cut it, if only for the occasional solitary guffaw diasporatic lady in the back row.

What did they make of your Australian accent? Are you like Tom Cruise in Far and Away to them?

No, I am not as bad as, ‘Shannin, de ye loike me haat?’ I keep it short and sweet. In early, out early. I watched a of Murial’s Wedding and Strictly Ballroom.

Much has changed in Ireland with the passing of the Marriage Equality bill. What was your reaction when you heard the news?

Well, you for sure see more gay couples holding hands in the street don’t you? I was in Dublin Castle for the official announcement. I waited five hours for the lady to say the line. I wish for every society to experience that level of pride in their nation. On the eve of 1916 we sent a message to the world that our country is stepping into a brave new era. So proud. Now come on Australia.

Any new work on the horizon?

Yes, I am working on a few new projects but it is far to soon for any of them to come out of the oven, even for you Mr. Workhorse. Ever eaten an under done quiche? I rest my case!




Venue                     Duna maise Arts Centre, Portlaoise
Dates                       21 July 2015, 8 pm
Box office              www.
(057) 866 3355
Tickets                     €16/€14
Venue                     Earagail Arts Festival
Dates                       24 July (Letterkenny) & 25 July (Dunfanaghy)  8pm
Box office    
(074) 912 0777

Tickets                    €12/€10
Venue                     West Cork Fit-up Festival
Dates                       28 July – 2 August 2015
Box office    
Venue                     Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Dates                       6 – 30 August 2015
Box office    
+44 131 228 3223
Tickets                    £18

Writer and performer: Sonya Kelly
Director: Gina Moxley
Stage Manager and performer: Justin Murphy
Set and Lighting Designer: Sarah Jane Shiels
Sound Designer: Carl Kennedy

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