Once Interview – Megan Riordan – Girl – Interview by Frank L.
Previews of Once have already started with the official opening night next Tuesday, July 14th. We had the chance to interview Megan Riordan who plays “Girl” in Once on May 26th. You can see the results below. Once runs until August 22nd at the Olympia, Dublin.
Get to the performance early as the actors are on stage singing folk songs before it begins.
Here you are coming from the Project Cube, which is quite small as a stage, to lead in the ice-cream-cake tiers of the Olympia. What are you feelings about that?
I am excited. I will not sugar coat this. The prospect of it, having heard about the auditions, my first response was “Oh my God, Yes”. But then my second response was “Oh my God, No”. Because I had this feeling, I will be on the Olympia stage, there are too many people and this is too big, I cannot do that. Who am I to do that? Then I said “No Girl get over you self. Deal. Girl get to work, Girl. ”.
So from an early stage in the audition process you were using the word “Girl” for yourself?
Yes as that is her name in the show. I was there. I just clicked in. It is intimidating to step into a show which has had so much success. It is intimidating to be bringing it into Ireland to the home-town crowd. But the only way through is to click into my fellow performers and be present with them. I have that experience with Tom already with Newstalk. If I think of it as just me and him it is Ok.
The pre-show experience with members of the audience on stage is unique, a secret ingredient?
I think what it does, it immediately connects the audience to what is happening in a way which is a little more visceral, alive, even effervescent than going into a theatre with a curtain down or where it is dark on stage. You are in your seat and there is the wall and you watch the thing that happens over there. With this show, there is a permeability between what you the performers are experiencing and what they the audience are experiencing. I think it makes you a little bit more invested and makes you feel that you belong. Now I must admit and I will not lie, I wonder what will happen if someone heckles me or starts a conversation. Well I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
What also makes it unusual is that you will not have a conductor so there has to be an element that each performance will be different?
I think so. We are a band. We are a twelve person band with different people coming in and out. In a band you do not have a conductor setting the beats. You do not have the score to which you play. Earlier today a bunch of us got together, we had never played before and we just started jamming and it was great. Of course some of us made mistakes. But it makes you have to listen so much more than if I was in my own world and I am playing this. I have done some training in the Siti Company in New York run by Anne Bogart and a lot of the training there has to do with ensembles and moving as one. It is difficult to describe but if you are all listening to each other you will do it together. There is a telepathy. This is what I am clicking into. The way I have been preparing is focussing my attention. With this piece there is nowhere to hide. It is quite meditative and if my thoughts are wandering I bring them back. In fact in preparing for the rehearsals, I have been doing quite a lot of yoga to keep me concentrated.
Once runs until August 22nd at the Olympia, Dublin.