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Actor Michael Maloney Interview

When did you do it first? B — Was it your first approach?

When did you do it first? B — Was it your first approach? M — I did play it at the Barbican, it was in the foyer.

It was an experiment, the first forty minutes, and then I played it at the Greenwich Theatre, it was I finished participating in the film in about April , maybe May and then in about October I played it. B — What are your feelings about Hamlet as a play and as a character? Which I think was a commonly held belief at that time than what it is now, and now we have major debates about "did he really see a ghost?

So I wanted to treat it as if Hamlet believed everything. And I wanted to treat the play as if it was a revenge play only. And anything else after that is a bonus that I could find.

So you just to have to hit a simple objective. B — In The Bleak Midwinter is interesting not just because of the mingle between theatre and cinema, but also because of the lives of the actors during the play which are so mixed up with the play itself.

Most of the times when you are talking to an actor, male or female, you realise that Hamlet is a great role, and a play that gives many chances to play any role, and take in anything about life. Is that what you felt when you were playing Hamlet? We have swallowed this idea that Shakespeare is our greatest writer.

That he invented civilization, or civilized thinking, as that book suggests. B — About life on stage and off stage, how do you feel about being an actor? Because we have established a civilization whereby we have to earn money in oder to live and then you end up doing lots of different kinds of jobs, some of which are fun, some of which you have to swallow your pride, and some of which are quite cinically there to give you money.

And most of the times if you set out to care about something the money will come anyway. B — Or sometimes you have to go for a compromise… M — I agree, but this is a very dangerous way to live. You have to bite the bullet and take it quickly and throw it away quickly. B — Something that seems very interesting, as I was reading an interview with british actor Tim Curry, whose fater was a Navy Chaplain, said that he noticed that many young people who take up an acting career belong to a background where their parents have a job in a totally different environment.

But I went to the same drama school as my mother, and she was a ballet dancer as well. So she had a great influence on me, so i think I inherited this sense of the arts from my mother. My father loves to go to theatre too. B — Do you think that being an actor can be some kind of rebellion against something…?

M — I think there are certain things that people are capable of which stand outside the system that everybody is required to bow down. And you cannot explain it, you cannot define it, and you cannot take it down. And I think acting falls in this category. B — You do needs lots of craft as well. M — yes absolutely. You have routines all broken up, but you do need discpline.

All my actors friends are all so different, so peculiar, so different but they are all linked by the same thing, that is acting! M — It can be very, very tough. Of the 26 people I started drama school with only 18 finished, so people dropped out every year, in a very short space of time, 2 or 3 years, 12 people were acting.

And now I can think of 3 left. So I think people change their directions. I was very fortunate, as much as I had a job before I left drama school, I know if I had not had the chnces after the first six months I would have given up.

So I was picked up! I had no confidence B — How old where you, 21? M — No, I had no confidence. But I worked solidly for 4 years. And then I knew there was a path. And I knew I could take care of myself. I see, thank you very much, this is what I do, bang. So when the bad times come up I was prepared. B — Acting takes away lots of energy… M — yes it does… B — So what do you do to recover your energies? M — I drink lots of espressos. Coffee is very bad, I wished I could stop drinking.

B — You should go to Italy then! I had never experienced espresso before. B — So you never ever rest? But I have to make sure I rest, when I leave here I will go and talk to the director. And then I must find 20 minutes to disappear completely. B — What do you do before stepping on stage?

M — I do a long warm up that lasting about half an hour. To make sure that everything works. I always dream of leaving England. But then I am away and I keep having memories of England, and I have to come back. B — Let me ask you a few questions about Kenneth Branagh. In the films you end up always playing complementary roles.

Why do you think? I know he likes what I do as an actor, and I obviously like what he does. So he goes "where can I put him, how can I put him? M — Of course, he knows me since I had no reputation and he had no reputation, so he knows he can trust me.

He knows me from drama school in a way. We were in different drama schools but at the same time. B — How did you two actually meet? It was very good. M — You know I am not honestlly sure about that, I think I would be interested in having a look at Macbeth.

They are all extraordinary. There is a certain amount of power in them. I enjoyed King Lear very much. B — I saw that. If I can spend a word about that, in some moments I thought that the actors were a bit detached one from the other on stage. On the contrary when you were alone on stage, or with Nigel Hawthorne, everything was smoother, it flew better. Rather then everyone was on stage. My part is so separate. In a way I was happy, but it was separate. B — Do you want to tell me more about this play Mouth to Mouth?

M — This play I am very proud about being envolved in. I have known the writer for twenty years, on and off, very casually. I am very very happy about working with the Royal Court thetare. Their idea of success is to do the play properly. Not to become famous, not to make a play or write it, but to serve the writer. I must stop looking. And if they like ME! I must do my job, and about what people think… that is their right.

That is their part of the ticket. B — How is it for a totally different theatre though, like the Globe? At the Globe you have to talk out towards the audience because of the show. But they get to see you eventually all over the place. But here they have arranged a situation whereby the lights go down and you are in a box of white light and you must concentrate. And they are in the black light box. And there were some nights when I felt very ashamed to be on stage.

Then then I felt very, very uneasy. It was grim, really difficult.

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