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Centre Stage with… Emily McLean


What show/s are you looking forward to this season?

I’m looking forward to Selkie – a new work by a young west Australian female writer, just like our play, Belated. The Astronaut because it promises Elvis.  And because I love watching people who can move beautifully move.  ‘Looking forward to’ is probably not the right terminology but I want to see Hart and hear those voices.  I’m a mother and that idea is worse than death.

What kind of works/performances are you most drawn to?

I’m drawn to any work that has a creative, playful process behind it.  Any work where everyone involved has been rigorous and brave.  Where there is space for long form thought.  I like when there is logic as well as beauty in the design.  When movement is used to embrace the space and to punctuate the story or make pictures that add to our understanding of unspoken layers of the story.  I like it when shows embrace being in a theatre and all that entails.

Who would play you in a movie? Why them?

Sean Penn, Clive Owen, or Liam Neeson would play me in a movie. Many in-depth meetings would be involved.  (I don’t care who would play my younger self or that I’m a bit taller than Liam.)

What was the last show you saw?

The last show I saw was The Wild Duck.  I went in expecting not to like it (long, boring story) but loved it.  Often when you see a show where the design is pushing boundaries the acting is neglected. Not this show.  The acting was beautiful, the timing perfect and the musicality of the performances was spot on.  The design wove its ways through this to create a bit of theatre magic.  I also loved that lots of people hated it.

What was your first experience with theatre?

My first experience with theatre, that I remember, was seeing Peter Pan in the Sunken Gardens at UWA.  At the end of the show the cast came and got all the children on stage with them.  I was asked and desperately wanted to get up but shyness crippled me and I snuggled into my Dad.  One lovely actor kept trying – he could sense I wanted to play, I think.  Even at that age I knew that while I wanted to play my place wasn’t on the stage.  Much later I worked out it was with the audience, in the rehearsal room, in the wings.  And I love it there.