My Week As Marilyn | Interview with Clare O'Malley
Interview by: Lauren O'Toole
My Week as Marilyn - an interview with Clare O'Malley, star of Heroin(e) for Breakfast
Heroin(e) for Breakfast is a gritty drama set in England which features bright young things dulled by the cruel hold of hard drugs. Directed by Rosemary McKenna and produced by Matthew Smyth, both currently taking part in the highly coveted Rough Seeds Programme, the play has a promising team at the helm for its run in Smock Alley Theatre from the 5th to the 12th of July. Clare O'Malley takes on the challenging "head-spinning" role of Heroin itself and reassures us that this is no lazy re-hash of Trainspotting. Having just returned from performing as a backing singer for Jedward at the Eurovision, Clare is looking forward to a complete change of scenery as she takes on the part of the evil seductress that is the Class A drug, in the body of none other than Marilyn Monroe.
Tell us a bit about the play?
This play first emerged in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2009 and won tons of awards. Our director Rosemary actually saw it and fell in love with the piece and wanted to bring it to life over here. It's a really gritty, dark comedy and super-sexy, funny and violent. I love it because it's smart as well, it's intelligently written and it's not crude for the sake of being crude. This play sucks you in, in the beginning, with this witty, fast dialogue and then suddenly it's horrific: you're witnessing these people who are supposed to be in the prime of their youth all of a sudden addicted to Heroin. You can go from laughing your heart out one minute to, well God knows what the reaction will be, but I expect pretty horrified. A lot of people say “Oh this play is a rollercoaster ride” but I genuinely mean it!
It sounds a little like Trainspotting on stage, is this a correct assumption or is there more to Heroine for breakfast?
Well one difference is that this play is set in 2009 and the characters are at a point when Tommy and his flatmates, along with the rest of their generation, is struggling - it's complete credit crunch, there are no jobs and the economy is f***ed. There is a lot of anger abounding and this, along with other aspects of their lives, is what drives them to this.
You play Marilyn Monroe in Heroine for Breakfast, the heroine of the piece so to speak - does your character have more of a surreal part to play than the others?
Well I actually play the figure of “Heroin” in the body of Marilyn Monroe so it's a complete head spinner! To be honest, I've never played evil before, I'm always the nice character and in this I am literally embodying the addictive soul-destroying drug that kills people, but in the body of Marilyn Monroe so my physicality has to draw you in with this sexy, seductive appeal. It's really difficult to get your head around this character - I come on stage and I'm sweet and beautiful but the words that I speak can be really harsh and vindictive so I try to play against that. I did a lot of research on Marilyn, more in the way she moved, her eye-contact with people, her gestures, the way she uses her body so much to lure people in. She's vulnerable as well, which is a side to her that I have to manipulate and use in a very different way in this play.
This play seems to have a very strong British identity - are you guys ever concerned that an Irish audience may find it difficult to connect with the material?
Yes it does have a strong British identity and there are references to very specific locations, at one point “God Save the Queen” is played, but at the same time I think you could be talking about addicts in Dublin City or New York City. The story of Tommy and his addiction is universal and you can see these characters everywhere unfortunately.
This is fairly gritty stuff, is there comic relief to be had at all?
There is loads of comedy in this and the play really draws you in with it. Even though Tommy can be so vicious with the things he says - and Heroin too, can be so cutting - the physicality and beauty of Heroin and the wit and charm of Tommy really entice you and make you like them. This play will have you laughing hysterically at one point and then in the next moment, you'll feel really bad for laughing…if we do it right! Which hopefully we will! Realistically, this couldn't be a play about Heroin addicts with Marilyn Monroe in it if it wasn't going to be somewhat comic.
Thursday 5th July - Thursday 12th July
8pm / 3pm matinees on Sat & Sun
€12 / €10
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Monday 25th June 2012 | Theatre
No comments have been posted for this article yet. Be the first!
Log in to leave a comment
The opinions expressed here are those of the viewer and do not reflect those of Entertainment.ie. Entertainment.ie accepts no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for their accuracy of content. Please contact us to report abusive content