Annette O’Shea last appeared for us this past February in Scratcher. She previously appeared for us in the first production of Smitten in 2008 as Bronagh. This time she’s playing the part of mishap prone, heart breaker Claire. She’s taken some of her non rehearsal time to have a chat with us.
Your character Claire is pretty much the lead in this production. How have you been finding it?
The lead? I think it’s more of an ensemble! I have been finding it… tough I guess. But very exciting and exhilarating, the craic is had everyday. I never take for granted how lucky I am to be working with such a brilliant company and so to be apart of that ensemble is fantastic. I am just out of college going into an uncertain business in an uncertain time so to be blessed with acting work of a professional standard is great. I get to work with amazing actors and an amazing company who have taught me so much. I am currently going through a time of great transition in my own life, like Claire, so I can certainly relate to her situation in a small way. That helps. I am really looking forward to getting onstage and giving Claire a chance to say her piece.
Your character hates musicals. How do you like them yourself?
Hate is a strong word. But I have to admit I feel fairly strongly about musicals. Claire and I share opinions here also… But its just the happy, clappy, smiley ones that I have a problem with. I have the greatest respect for those blessed with song and dance but sitting through something like The Sound of Music or Mamma Mia makes me shudder. I do enjoy a certain amount of them, shows like Avenue Q and Chicago – the dirty sexy ones!
What are the other biggest differences between this production of Smitten and the last Smitten?
Well, obviously playing Claire is a nice change! Any of the cast will say the same, its a lovely challenge to play a character that in your head belongs to someone else from the last production. So you are constantly searching for new and original ways to create the character. The shape of the play is completely different, it feels like we are playing much more as an ensemble cast this time, with more complex relationships. And obviously there is more singing and dancing!
Having studied in Cork, how do you feel about going down there to open the show at Solstice?
It will be lovely to be back in Cork, it will actually be my first trip down there since my graduation last year. Having studied drama there I am delighted to be visiting as an actor working on a show! And I look forward to meeting a lot of my class mates who are working consistently creating and promoting theatre in Cork. In fact, the Solstice team are made up of UCC Drama alumni which makes me very proud! And obviously the craic will most definitely be had.
The big question. What’s your favourite musical Annette O’Shea?
I’m no expert but Billy Elliot really tugged at my heart strings. I haven’t seen The Lion King but I imagine the athleticism and artistry that is required to create majestic animals on stage is pretty amazing!
Smitten opens this Thursday June 16th at 6pm in the Old FÁS Building on Sullivans Quay as part of Solstice, Cork. Tickets are €3 and can be purchased at the Cork Midsummer Box Office at Triskel Arts Centre.