Theatre Interview: Jesse Lyons – Authentic Way To Fake It, Or The Bathroom Blitz

July 19, 2022

By BRUCE DENNILL

Authentic Way To Fake It (part of the programme for the 2022 Redhill Arts Festival) explores the journey of Fern, an introverted and sarcastic writer who lands up trapped in part of her escape plan at a prestigious event… the bathroom. As the minutes tick by she comes to realise that the door is an obstacle rather than her saviour – as she meets a myriad of characters who explore the facade of authenticity, the detachment of connection and the question of identity. Jesse Lyons plays Fern,

 

Live performance: the thrill versus the nerves – where are you on that curve as a new show starts?

Definitely more on the nerves side as our opening day gets close. However I often find that the more nervous you are, the more thrilling the adventure is. I’m excited to share this show with people and to have them enjoy it. As an actor, all I want to do is be able to tell stories well, and so as I think of people experiencing this story in particular, it gives me a thrill that people will watch it and, hopefully fall in love with it.

 

How do you find a balance during rehearsals or other preparation?

As someone who often struggles with managing their time, I’ve found carving out set times in the day where I just turn everything off and focus on the script works for me. If I have no distractions, I can invest myself fully in the play, which then leaves me time to deal with my day-to-day tasks after that.

 

In a best-case scenario, what are you looking for in a role? What is the main basis for that decision – the script, the people involved, the challenge to your skills, the impact (positive or negative) it might have on your life in general, or perhaps something else?

The main thing that I look for in a role is a good story, so essentially a well-written script. If the character doesn’t intrigue me, then how can I expect to intrigue the audience? Regardless of the character’s moral alignment or actions, I want to be invested in her so that I can draw others to her as well. On top of that, the people involved are also a large factor. I am so lucky in this production to be able to work with like-minded, wildly talented people. We understand each other easily, which is difficult to come by in the industry. The right people make all the difference in a job like this.

 

Acting is often a vocation, a thing you can’t not do. How true is that for you now? Has it changed over the years – for practical, perhaps banal reasons? And how do you, or would you like to, keep your calling front and centre in your life?

I’m not going to lie and say that acting is always something that I’ve stood fast in. Like anything, it comes with its ups and downs, it’s doubts and it’s triumphs. Actors have to face a lot more criticism than most and it’s not an easy job to be in. We are constantly open to feedback and judgment and rejection. But, as the question mentioned, it’s something I can’t not do. So no, while that feeling has wavered, it hasn’t changed. When you have an opportunity to share stories with people, it’s something you have to take, regardless of how scared you are (and trust me, I’m scared a lot of the time)

 

What are the toughest expectations to deliver on – all the way from the first audition to the end of the run?

To deliver a character that the writer and director are expecting. Personally, I am constantly worried that I am not fulfilling the vision of the character that the team has. It’s something that is achieved with a lot of hard work and open conversation, which is a very useful skill that I have learned since working on this play.

 

Tell us about your current production, and what makes your character interesting to play?

My character Fern is similar to me in a lot of ways, which gives me the ability to relate to her a lot easier than usual. What I love about this play is that it shows people’s imperfections, especially Fern’s. She’s not meant to be a shining beacon of perfection and hope, but rather someone that the audience can look at and identify with. Someone that they can see themselves in, the way I have.

 

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