An interview with ‘Kate’ in Remember, Maggy?

By Dan White – Special to the Sydenham Current

Remember, Maggy? is just over a week from opening.

The cast of four and the dedicated crew of six, with a handful of other crew members who are buzzing around helping any way they can, will be wrapping up 12 weeks of rehearsal thrice weekly for roughly 2.5 hours, an investment of over 100 hours each.

That does not include all of the work that happens outside of rehearsal which is another 150-200 hours each… I would be a fool to do the math further, but I will.

That is over 1,500 total hours invested in creating a show.

Now all we need… is you.

As regular readers are aware, I have been interviewing the four cast members from Theatre Kent’s production of Remember, Maggy? over the past few weeks.

Last up in my series of interviews with the cast is Lisa Franks.

Lisa plays Kate in the show and is on stage the most.

I sat down and chatted with her about the role and this show.

Lisa has been involved in Theatre Kent since she performed in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, “way
back in… a long time ago”.

See how she coyly avoided an actual timeline.

Let’s settle on, it has been long enough to establish her as a veteran performer in CK.

From the beginning of this show, Lisa has been a consummate professional.

She arrives at rehearsal and sets about preparing her props and costumes, settling into the character and making the space hers.

And the lines!

Lisa has the most lines of the four women in this show and it can be overwhelming to learn them, but like everything else she has done, she is committed to the best and most authentic telling of this story.

Kate is the sister of Maggy and daughter of Niamh (Neve) Ryan. Unlike her self-centered and narcissistic actress sister, Maggy, (not Robyn Brady who plays her) Kate is reliable, the caregiver for her mother as she ages and is afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and Lisa described her as “a smoother, wanting to make everyone around her comfortable”.

I asked Lisa if she likes the character of Kate and, predictably with this show, her response was, “Yes, I love her. I was worried that she was too one dimensional but as I’ve gotten to know her, there are many levels to her, she is almost like a walking wound but she covers it so beautifully”.

Lisa based her character on her mother whom she adored and describes as, “one of the sweetest people she has ever known”.

Sadly, Lisa’s mother passed from complications after a battle with Alzheimer’s.

Her dad was the primary caregiver for her mom as she was robbed of her memories.

As an actress she was able to draw from this experience to create an authentic and deeply moving character, as a person it has been an emotional experience.

Being a part of Maggy for Lisa has been, “the pinnacle, honestly, if I never do theatre again, I’m good, I feel complete.”

That is a testament to the script Carol and Matt Murray wrote, creating the story she is telling, the gifted cast that surrounds her and the hard working crew that supports them.

She describes the rehearsal process as a 14-week workshop where she has learned so much as talented guests have come in to work with the cast and give insights and a variety of perspectives as the story has evolved.

I followed with a question about what she likes about acting and she was very candid in her response.

She noted that it is “terrifying as you really put yourself out there and [I] have nightmares about it”

She, “loves the massive amounts of preparation, delving into a character and trying to make her [my] own, learning what you’re capable of, the team work” and, while she often questions why she does this prior to taking the stage, she finds that once she is on stage it is, for her, a very spiritual experience.

She continued with the observation of how integral the audience is to the experience, not just because this is a performing art and all of those hours of preparation are for naught if an audience doesn’t attend, but more importantly, the energy that actors feed off of when an audience is engaged in the show changes the experience for actors and audience alike.

Lisa’s last point was to encourage people to come out to support the talent that is local and so very rich.

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars heading out of town to take in theatre, this “is an amazing piece.

It speaks to what’s going on in a lot of homes right now” and you can do dinner and theatre, supporting local businesses and community theatre for a very reasonable price.

To view Lisa’s interview on YouTube, type in Remember, Maggy? in the search.

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