Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Michael Grady-Hall talks to Fringe Blog

Picture of Michael Grady-Hall from Three's Company - www.threescompany.co.uk
A group of intelligent, attractive and talented people first caught the imagination of the Buxton public about 6 years ago. But we're here not to talk about the Buxton Fringe Committee but Three's Company who have been writing, producing and performing locally, nationally and internationally (Edinburgh) creating something of a wave wherever they go. Tom, Yaz and Michael (aka Three's Company) also put a lot of energy at Fringe time into managing Underground Venues. Michael took some time out from rehearsing to talk to Keith Savage about how his career has developed since leaving Buxton to go to RADA.

What is the first thing that you can remember doing for an audience?
Well the first thing I remember doing on stage was playing 4B2 (an underwater robot) in Buxton Drama League's production of 'Sinbad the Sailor'. My mum made my costume from takeaway pots and dust-masks. But my first stage appearance - apparently - was playing Third King in a nativity show at nursery school. We got to ad-lib a bit so I entered saying "I'm so sorry we're late, but the road was all bumpety."

Acting – it’s not a real job is it? Don’t you feel guilty about making a living telling lies?
I could say acting isn't a job about telling lies, but in fact a job about  telling the truth... but I won't say that because that's a bit pretentious.
I will say that I do sometimes feel guilty getting to do a job that never really feels like a job, because it's so much fun!

Three’s Company has allowed you to be silly on stage and has also given you the chance to explore the darker side of life. How does it feel, as an actor, to do these very different things?

Well I think anybody who works in the arts gets to explore many different aspects of life. As an actor it's a great pleasure to try different sorts of theatrical styles.
Three's Company has given Tom, Yaz, myself and many other Buxton-ites a chance to (as you say) be very silly and also get our teeth into some difficult, dark material (Later Showers, Our Country's Good, Othello)... but it's always a little more fun hearing an audience laugh than cry. Laughter is such an immediate response, it tells you straight away if you're getting it right

Do you change much of what Tom writes for Three’s Company – or do you let him get away with anything.
Certainly we change some things in rehearsal, but it always comes through workshopping rather than just telling Tom he's rubbish. But really you can't let Crawshaw get away with too much, it goes straight to his head otherwise.

The National Theatre, cinema – your career seems to be developing quite nicely. Tell us a bit more about what you’ve been up to since leaving Buxton and what’s in store – if you don’t mind, please.
Well, I left Buxton in 2005 to do Later Showers in Edinburgh and then went to train at RADA. I left drama school last July and have been very lucky to be given some great jobs. I played some small parts in Romeo and Juliet for Theatre of Memory and then worked in a pub in Clapham for three or four months.

At the beginning of this year I started work at the National playing a small part in Burnt by the Sun. It was a great job, because I got to work with amazing people. Howard Davies (the director), Peter Flannery (the writer) a brilliant Stage Management team and such a wonderful cast, Ciaran Hinds, Rory Kinnear, Rowena Cooper, Michelle Dockery, Tony Turner... the list goes on.
At the moment I'm playing the Chorus in Thyestes at the Arcola, which is great. And next it's on to the Three's Company Tour and a very, very small part in Clash of the Titans.

Since I’ve mentioned it – leaving Buxton, that is. Any regrets? I grew up in London and it can be lonely place.
Sometimes I feel like I should have taken a gap year, but then I know I'd never have worked on Burnt by the Sun, got into RADA or played this part in Thyestes. But most importantly I wouldn't have known all the friends I met whilst training, and never have met my girlfriend, Mariam Bell, who incidentally is coming on tour with Three's Company.

What question did you want to be asked? And what is the answer?

Q. If you were a piece of architecture, what piece of architecture would you be?
A. I don't know! What a ridiculous question!

by Keith Savage - 01/07/2009

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