Doug Devaney

Doug Devaney is a writer and actor based in Brighton. He has performed for Secret Cinema, appeared in an award-winning Radio 4 adaptation of “I, Robot”, and co-authored a play about William Joyce (aka “Lord Haw Haw”) that has recently been adapted for radio.  He has worked on a number of TO1% Productions and was recently described as having a “Swiss Army voice”. He has been a spokesperson on BBC Breakfast for men’s health, the focus of an international news story concerning fried chicken and artistic freedom, and was once disguised as Donald Trump to promote Paddy Power. He is the presenter and producer of The Plastic Podcasts, a weekly series of interviews with members of the Irish diaspora that can be found on www.plasticpodcasts.com.

TO1%: When did you know you first wanted to be actor?
DD: I first decided I wanted to be an actor playing John the Baptist opposite Sean Wilton as Jesus in the Mystery Plays being staged at St Edmund Campion’s Church in Maidenhead. The feeling of being someone else, of being taken up with the moment. I’d say it was a religious experience but that might seem a bit obvious. 

TO1%: Some people practice in front of a mirror some people think that’s really artificial? What’s your take?
DD: Practicing in front of a mirror is brilliant: I do it with all my acceptance speeches, up to and including Best Female Actor in a  Leading Role. 

TO1%: How did you get involved with The Other 1%?
DD: It was Philippa Hammond who invited me to audition for a proof of concept recording for Simon. There is a particular joy to radio work: to telling a story through just your voice. 

TO1%: If you could play any film, tv, stage or literary character, who would it be and why?
DD: If I could play any character, it would be King Lear. Or Lord Brett Sinclair from “The Persuaders”. 

TO1%: How much of your acting would you say is craft and how much instinct?
DD: All acting is instinct tempered by craft, and craft liberated by instinct. 

TO1%: In the States Method Acting is often seen as the Holy Grail, how do you feel about that?
DD: As for the Method, I think there is something to be said for working from the inside out – Stanislawsky’s emotional memory – but as often as not it tends to become how much you can eat (or not eat) to change yourself physically. That’s working from the outside in, and it’s impersonation, not acting.

TO1%: Do you ever find you start to become the characters you play when you’re off stage or off set?
DD: I know the difference between work and the world: I never take a character home with me. Unless, of course, I’m only ever playing myself. In which case…

TO1%: It’s a hard one, but if you had to choose and could only do pre-recorded OR live performance for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
DD: If I had to choose, I’d do live work for the rest of my life. Once something’s recorded, it’s done. While there is a certain pride in having “nailed” something, you’ll never get the chance to try it another way. Or run a risk and completely mess it up. Or react to something totally new from another actor. Liuve is life.

TO1%: What’s your trick for learning lines?
DD: I am boring when it comes to lines. I go through one page, section by section and at the end of each new section I go back to the top and start again, adding in that section. Then I do the same with the pages so it’s page one, then one and two, then one and two and three etc. There’s all sorts if tricks like mnemonics or working out if lists are in any kind of order or visualising to get the words in. But, actually, it’s only in  rehearsals when I can make sense of the lines by how they fit with what the other characters are saying that I can really make them fit.

TO1%: Do you read your reviews and at what stage in a run of a play?
DD: I always read reviews. The moment they come out. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. Or dyslexic.

TO1%: Do you have any superstitions other than not whistling in the stage wings and calling that Shakespeare play The Scottish Play?
DD: I have no superstitions and never will, touch wood.

TO1%: If you could have a masterclass from one director and one actor who would they be?
DD: If I had to have an acting masterclass, it would be from Mark Rylance. The most magnetic actor of my generation. I saw him once as Iago at the Globe. I’ve had a thesp-crush ever since. Don’t tell him. .As for director, it would be Peter Brook. Or Ken Campbell. Two maverick minds of the stage.

TO1%: If you become a superstar, will you demand specific bottled water and go on a paleo diet?
DD: If I become a superstar, I would insist on Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers be brough to my trailer on the dot of 3 pm every day. Just to take the edge off the heroin.

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