An Interview with Liz McMullen
Who needs a full cast when you’re as brilliant as Liz McMullen. The Mumble caught up with her to blether about her solo show…
Hello Liz, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Liz: Hi! I’m originally from Calgary, Canada, which is an oil and gas town and known for having the largest outdoor rodeo in the world. It’s a fun place but London came calling to me at an early age. I’ve known since I was a teenager that I wanted to move to London to study Shakespeare and pursue my acting career. I’ve been here since 2010.
When did you first develop a passion for performance art?
Liz: Ever since I could stand on my parent’s coffee table, with a plastic toy microphone and belt out Tina Turner songs. Also, growing up there is a Children’s theatre festival in Calgary. I remember going one year and getting lost in the magic of the stage. That was it for me. I was in!
What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
Liz: Something that takes the audience on a journey, allowing us to look a little deeper at what it means to be human and to connect with other humans.
When do you know you have just given a good performance?
Liz: I had my first ever standing ovation at the Brighton Fringe Festival this past May. It was pretty amazing. But aside from that, it’s a combination of feeling it from the audience (are they engaged through the show) and also if I am happy with the work that I have done on stage.
You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Liz: I love to cook, so this would be fun. I’d have Oprah, Calamity Jane and Hedy Lamarr- all women who broke the mould. I’d make goat cheese salad with marinated vegetables and pine nuts, followed by Alberta steak (sorry veggie friends!), with honey garlic carrots (my Papa’s specialty) and mashed potatoes. For desert I’d make pumpkin pie, if it was winter or serve fresh watermelon if it was summer.
For those who’ve never been, what is the Vancouver Fringe like & how does it compare with the Edinburgh Fringe?
Liz: The Vancouver Fringe is in September and while it has several venues doted through out the city, most of it is on Granville Island, which is a walkable location. It’s a smaller festival in terms of the number of shows playing, but has a great community vibe. It’s been going for a very long time, so it has a strong following in the Vancouver area, which is great for all the shows.
How have you changed as a performer in the last three years?
Liz: I have done a lot more film work in the past three years. It’s given me a different skill set and I think that is has helped my stagecraft as well. I’ve also been cast against my casting type, getting to play roles like Lady Capulet and another character based on Lady Macbeth, so it’s been fun to step out of my comfort zone.
You are bringing a new play to this year’s Fringe, STUPID CUPID, can you tell us about it?
Liz: Stupid Cupid is a one-woman show all about Love. Cupid has been rigorously training in matters of the heart and she’s finally ready to get her wings! But in the middle of her big exam, she accidentally shoots herself with one of her own arrows, making her fall in love with everyone in the audience. And after the first arrow leaves its mark, Stupid Cupid craves everything from the erotic to exotic — leading her down a path of passionate adventures and new insights on modern love. But with so much l’amour to explore, will Stupid Cupid get her wings before exam time is up?
How is director James Wrenn handling your brainchild?
Liz: Brilliantly! I couldn’t be luckier with a director. He’s always got great ideas and knows when something is working or not. It’s been so wonderful to work together because he is so invested in the project. He always wants what’s best for the show and that gives me great confidence in what I am doing on stage.
Can you tell us about your stagecraft; the music, sound & stage design?
Liz: It’s a high paced show. A lot happens and by the end, the stage is a mess. This is good. I feel like we (the audience and me) have really gone through something by the time we hit the 55 minute mark. Music is really important in my show. Each song has been picked by either James or myself to reflect what the character is going through at that moment. Audience response has been great too… “What a great sound track!”
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Liz: Stupid Cupid is about Cupid in Training. She starts taking her exam to get her wings and in the middle of it she shoots herself with her bow and arrow. Then starts to fall in love with different people in the audience. She discovers there’s a lot to love she didn’t know about.
What will Liz McMullen be doing after the Fringe?
Liz: Spending a few days in the Lake District having a wee bit of a break, then back to film work! I’ve got a couple of projects brewing away that will hopefully be ready to go come this Autumn.
Underbelly Med Quad – Clover
Aug 1st – 27th (Not 13th) (12.10)