Gwen Gets to Work

The Actor

June 15, 2020 Gwen / Natalie and May Walter Season 1 Episode 10
Gwen Gets to Work
The Actor
Chapters
Gwen Gets to Work
The Actor
Jun 15, 2020 Season 1 Episode 10
Gwen / Natalie and May Walter

Can you imagine what it must feel like to see yourself on TV? Or what it would be like to act on stage in front of hundreds of people and, horror of horrors, forget your lines or get the giggles?

In this episode we will learn what an Actor in both Theatre and TV really gets up to at work, and what happened when someone in the audience did a "pop-off" during a performance Midsummer Night's Dream.

Natalie is currently appearing in (grown-ups only) TV show I May Destroy You on the BBC and HBO. Find out more about Natalie and her work on her IMDB listing, or by visiting her instagram where you can also see Natalie and May's amazing PE With Joe Friday fancy dress costumes!

Visit our website for past episodes and to find out what's coming soon: https://gwengetstowork.com/

Produced by Enigma Records: https://enigmarecords.co.uk/

Support the show (https://www.gofundme.com/f/gwen-gets-to-work/)

Show Notes Transcript

Can you imagine what it must feel like to see yourself on TV? Or what it would be like to act on stage in front of hundreds of people and, horror of horrors, forget your lines or get the giggles?

In this episode we will learn what an Actor in both Theatre and TV really gets up to at work, and what happened when someone in the audience did a "pop-off" during a performance Midsummer Night's Dream.

Natalie is currently appearing in (grown-ups only) TV show I May Destroy You on the BBC and HBO. Find out more about Natalie and her work on her IMDB listing, or by visiting her instagram where you can also see Natalie and May's amazing PE With Joe Friday fancy dress costumes!

Visit our website for past episodes and to find out what's coming soon: https://gwengetstowork.com/

Produced by Enigma Records: https://enigmarecords.co.uk/

Support the show (https://www.gofundme.com/f/gwen-gets-to-work/)

Gwen :

Have you ever been asked, "what do you want to be when you grow up?"

Gwen's Mum :

Gwen Gets To Work

Gwen :

I like talking to people, and they like talking back to me. At least that's what I think. One day I asked my mum, "How do I know what I want to be when I grow up?" My mum said, if I interview people about like their jobs and things like that, I will find out. And, like, all of the people who are listening, you will find out too if you don't know. In this episode, I talked to Natalie, an Actor, about her job. She has some funny stories. Enjoy!

Natalie :

Hello Gwen.

Gwen :

Hello.

Natalie :

How are you?

Gwen :

Good.

Natalie :

I'm really excited to be on your podcast.

Gwen :

Thank you May and Natalie for coming on my podcast.

Natalie :

Thank you, thanks for having us.

May :

Yeah.

Gwen :

It's quite unusual to have two people.

Natalie :

Well it's just because of the lockdownm so May's obviously not at school and is quite interested in what you were asking and she also is very interested in acting as well. So she thought that she might be able to answer some of the questions better than me. I think that's what she said. Thank you for having both of us.

Gwen :

That's okay. We do a quick fire round. Is that a good way to warm up?

Natalie :

Oh, that would be brilliant. How exciting.

May :

Yep.

Gwen :

Okay, so here we go: Lipstick or mascara?

Natalie :

Oh, you see, it should be quick and that should be a really quick question. But I think that's quite tricky because probably mascara because, well, my eyes are my best feature I think and so I try to make the most of that. But somebody told me that if you're ever feeling sad, just put on a bit of lipstick and go out and have a lovely time. So it's a really that's a really, really difficult question, but I think I would probably choose mascara.

Clip :

[...]

Gwen :

High heels or bare feet?

Natalie :

High heels, that's just not even, I don't even have to think about that.

Gwen :

Home or away?

Natalie :

That's tricky, isn't it because of this lockdown period. I think the home has been a really, we've had a really nice time at home because we've done loads of things that we wouldn't normally do and spent, spent lots of time in our house haven't we?

May :

Yeah we've had a really good time in lockdown.

Natalie :

Yeah making loads of cakes and doing of nice things at home but I really like going out and I really like going on holiday so I would probably say away.

Clip :

[...]

Gwen :

Breakfast or dinner?

Natalie :

Dinner

Gwen :

Dancing or singing?

Natalie :

Well I would say dancing because I love dancing, but i'm not very co-ordinated. What do you think May?

May :

I don't really know, I like both, maybe dancing I don't really know

Natalie :

Okay

Gwen :

Winter or summer?

Natalie :

Oh, umm, definitely Summer I would go all over the world to avoid winter if I possibly could.

May :

You hate the cold!

Natalie :

I hate being cold.

May :

You hate being cold.

Gwen :

Cars or bikes?

Natalie :

Oo well that's a tricky one and, we don't have a car and I don't like the idea of like, I quite like bikes because of the environment I think it's better but, umm, probably I choose bikes although I wouldn't trust myself on the road with a bike I'd probably bang into the all the cars.

Clip :

[...]

Natalie :

But I do think that going on the back of a motorbike is really fun. Because once, do you know what happened, I was doing a television job and, and I was also doing a play in the evening. And the only way I could get from filming the television thing to doing the play in the West End was to go on the back of a motorbike, so that was really fun. That was the only way I could get to the theatre in time. So somebody had to drive me on the A3 like really fast. So I would choose that if I could.

Gwen :

That's really cool.

Natalie :

It was pretty cool. Once I fell asleep on the back! That wasn't very cool! But I was fine. And it was fun.

Gwen :

Funny or dramatic?

Natalie :

Funny or dramatic?

Gwen :

Yeah.

Natalie :

Well, that's a really difficult question, but I would choose funny because I do lots of comedies and that's what I love. I love making people laugh, I don't think there's anything better.

May :

I love comedy. Yeah, I would choose funny.

Natalie :

Would you?

May :

Yeah.

Natalie :

What would you choose Gwen?

Gwen :

Funny.

Natalie :

Okay.

Clip :

[...]

Gwen :

I've written lots of questions to ask you.

Natalie :

Yeah?

Gwen :

What was your favourite subject when you were at school?

Natalie :

Oh, umm...

Clip :

[...]

Natalie :

Err, Art.

Gwen :

Do you have to be really confident and can you learn to be confident?

Natalie :

That's a very very good question. I think that you can learn to be confident. I was always very shy, or quite shy when I was probably the same age as you, and I am much more confident now I think because I did lots of drama and I think acting and drama for anybody is really good because it does make you more confident, definitely. But I still get very, very nervous; much too nervous I think. Probably more nervous than I should before I go on stage but only because I'm always worried I'm going to forget my lines.

May :

And if you're scared like on stage, you're like nervous, that's called stage fright.

Natalie :

You're right.

May :

Yeah.

Natalie :

It's good to be a little bit nervous, but it's not very good to be very, very nervous.

Gwen :

Do you have any favourite actors who inspire you?

Natalie :

Yes. Well, in fact, lots of actors inspire me and they're normally actors I work with. So I've worked with lots of really, I'm very, very lucky to have worked with amazing actors. And I was thinking about this actually. And, and I think that things that inspired me the most were things that I used to watch when I was younger. So like, I used to watch lots and lots of comedies. Like years, a really long time ago, they used to repeat a comedy called Laverne and Shirley it was so old. And I used to really hope that I could have the day off school and watch it umm, well, and it was so funny that, I think that's inspired me. It was two really, really funny women, and yeah, that really. But there's loads of actors that I work with. I just think that they're, I always think that they're really brilliant and i'm like "wow, I'm so lucky to be working with you, it's so exciting", and I just learn from other people. And you get better by working with people who are even better than you. Or, you know, who are who are really, really talented. Yeah.

Gwen :

Have you done any other jobs?

Natalie :

Yes, I've done loads of other the jobs. Well, I've done a lot of waitressing but I did that when I was when I was younger. I did loads of waitressing. It's a funny thing, because when you when you're an actor, one day, you might be on the front cover of a magazine. And then the next day you might be a waitress. You never really know what's going to happen to you. And that's a very strange thing. And that's what happened to me.

Clip :

[...]

Natalie :

I have another jobs too. Once I was a waitress I was asked to, they had a special event at the restaurant. And they were doing a murder mystery party. And they said, "Oh, we know that you can do acting so would you mind, could you just die at the beginning of the evening?" and so I just had to die and I just had to go "hrrrkkk" like thaat.

May :

And then you didn't have to do any waitressing and you just watched TV.

Natalie :

Yeah, I just got put in a room because I was supposed to be dead. So I just had to watch TV and then I still got paid for my waitressing so was the best ever job!

Gwen :

I once we, um, with my whole family, we once did a murder mystery.

Natalie :

Did you? Did you do it on zoom or anything? Or was it in real life?

Gwen :

It was in real life. We did it quite a long time ago.

Natalie :

Was it fun?

Gwen :

Yeah, I was about five or four, I think.

Natalie :

Wow. And who were you?

Gwen :

Who was I? I was like an angel, sort of, I'm not sure.

Natalie :

Brilliant.

Gwen :

My grandma was the murderer, I think.

Natalie :

That's brilliant. That must have been really, really fun. Do you like acting Gwen?

Gwen :

Yeah.

Natalie :

Have you been in any plays?

Gwen :

Yes, I have because um, at my school I have a musical theatre club. And there's a lady called Claire. What she does is she teaches us like, every day, for like a whole term, we like keep going through, and we sometimes learn new like actions for the whole play. Because now we're doing The Greatest Showman.

Natalie :

Wow, that's amazing.

Gwen :

We do some songs we dance to some songs and we also have a few lines, each. But sometimes, but now the lockdown's happening we've not really focused on The Greatest Showman. We've basically focussed on doing, we've focused on how to make a show, like a TV show. So you did like a pretend one. But you could actually play it and somebody in that group called it The Teddy Show.

Natalie :

Wow, that sounds like such good fun.

May :

Yeah, I have a musical theatre club at my school and we were doing Oliver but we're not doing anything anymore. And all the main characters are in the top class and then but they might, they probably won't be able to do it because they've already, they probably will move to high school by then.

Gwen :

Oh.

Gwen's Mum :

Yeah.

Gwen :

What's a funny story that happened to you at work?

Natalie :

I played Cinderella when I was about 23 or something like that. And I was, or played, Cinderella at the theatre in Windsor, which is a very pretty theatre and it's where all the royal family go towards the pantomime. And I was, had to sing a song right at the beginning. I had loads of sticks. And then I had to drop my sticks and pick them all up and sing this really lovely Disney song. And then, oh, yes, and then the fairy godmother appears..

May :

But...

Natalie :

Well, but she didn't, she didn't turn up. She just wasn't there.

May :

You had to keep on just dropping your sticks and saying, "Oh, I got my sticks again". But that wasn't one of the lines. Just picking them up, dropping them and picking them up and dropping them and picking them up.

Natalie :

Yeah.

May :

And then she wasn't coming in And then when she came in she said, "Oh, sorry, I was on the toilet reading the news".

Natalie :

Yeah, she she was sitting on the toilet reading her newspaper. She actually said that to me. Sh went "Oh sorry, I was on the toilet reading my newspaper!"

Clip :

[...]

Natalie :

It was so funny Gwen, I just said "oh dear" and we just carried on with the rest of the pantomime. It was very funny.

Gwen :

Are people ever mean to you?

Natalie :

Well, the only problem about acting is that it's very competitive. So lots of people want to do the same job and a couple of times, I've had a couple of women who have been a little bit mean to me. But generally, after I thought about it sort of years later, I realised that they were probably jealous because the only reason that people are ever bullies or not very nice to you is, well normally, because they're jealous. And that's a good, a very, very good lesson to learn. But it's quite hard when it actually happens at the time. But saying that mostly Actors are very funny and very kind and nice people. I did actually have somebody trip me up on purpose before I went into an audition once. But that was..

Gwen :

That's a bit mean.

Natalie :

Yeah, she put her leg out. She's actually quite a well known actress. But I won't say who it is!

Gwen :

How do you get to be in plays and things like that?

Natalie :

Well, first of all, you have to have an agent, and then the agent recommends you to the casting director. And then casting directors recommends you to, if they like you, to the director, and then the director says, Okay, I think that I will see that actress. And then and then I get phoned up and they say would you like to come and audition for..

May :

..for this part..

Natalie :

..yeah for a play, and it might not be the part that you want to audition for. But you know, you say "Oh, yes, please" because any job is very nice. And then you go, you go and meet the, maybe sometimes you only go and meet the casting director, then you got to meet the director. And you have, then you have to, sometimes you have to learn your lines - more often you do now, you have to learn your lines before the audition. Then you have to go and they normally have a camera..

Clip :

[...]

Natalie :

..and they normally record it nowadays, but yeah, so, but um, and then hopefully you get it. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't. Does that answer the question properly?

Gwen :

Yeah.

Natalie :

Okay, cool.

Gwen :

Do you have to memorise lines?

Natalie :

Yes.

May :

Yeah.

Natalie :

Well, for auditions or just always?

Gwen :

Always.

Natalie :

Okay. So yeah. Yes I have to, you have to memorise lines. What I find really hard now is that sometimes they don't give you an audition until the day, well they give it to you the day before, and you have to memorise the lines for the next day. Um, but, more often now, you quite often have to do self tapes, which is um..

May :

..you saying like about you like, what your hair colour is, how tall you are, so like they know what character you, they think you could play

Natalie :

Yes, you have to do that, that's called an ident. You have to do that and before after your recording, but you also have to record your audition on a camera, on your phone, and then you send it in which is actually easier because sometimes you can stick your words up on the wall until you so it looks like you know them but actually you don't. But then you do have, if you actually meet the director, then you didn't have to know them. And you definitely have to learn them if you're in the theatre, you definitely have to memorise all your lines.

May :

Yeah, because you can't you can't go like do a play and just like you can't be on stage with the whole audience watching you and you're just reading the script. You can't do that.

Natalie :

No.

May :

Because it wouldn't look really, very good!

Gwen :

Do you have a dressing room and do you have to do your own makeup? If you're working in TV or film then you have a makeup artist do your makeup and your hair.

Clip :

[...]

Natalie :

And they do it so brilliantly. Sometimes in the theatre, if I, some plays in the West End, somebody comes in right at the beginning of the job and shows you how to do your makeup and hair. Normally they just show you how to do your hair but you bring your own makeup and you do whatever you want sort of makeup wise and then somebody advises you.

Clip :

[...]

Natalie :

Every night in the theatre, you have to do your own makeup. Um they quite often have a wig person who will come and put on your wig or, or they will just set your wig which is like do the hairstyle on the wig ready for the next performance. And then you put the wig on yourself.

Clip :

[...]

Natalie :

So you have your own dressing room, um, if you're in a big Theatre in the West End, and it depends on how many people are in the play. Yeah, the ladies sometimes have to share a dressing room and sometimes all the men have to share a dressing room. And when I've worked in a theatre in a pub, upstairs in a pub, you have to, all the men and women have to share a dressing room, which is a bit embarrassing.

Gwen's Mum :

So I want to know, are you excited about your next play? It sounds like a sad story.

Natalie :

So the play that I'm doing next is called Private Lives and it's by Noel Coward. And it's not a sad story. It's a very funny story. And it's actually an amazing comedy. And I think it's just what people will need after the lockdown. And it's actually, um it's about a couple who well, it's about two couples, and both of the couples are on honeymoon. And then they bump into the, one of the, the man bumps into the lady that he was married to before. Um, and yeah, and then they realise that they're actually in love and the, but the character that I play is really annoying. So it's good that he doesn't want to be married to her actually. It's a very funny play. And it's really, it's really lovely and I think everybody will really, really like it.

Gwen :

Have you ever forgot your lines?

Natalie :

Um, I'm afraid I have forgot my lines before which is quite embarrassing, but I think lots of people do. I once forgot them in front of 1200 people in a huge theatre when I was on tour, and I had this really massive speech to do, like this really long speech. And I had to, it was a play about politics, and quite honestly, I couldn't really make it up, I had to remember the lines. And I suddenly just stopped and I just couldn't think what came next. And I couldn't even think of any actual words. I couldn't think of anything! And the other actor just stared at me. And I just went like this when I had, I sat down on a chair and I just went "eeeeeeeee"

May :

Why?

Natalie :

I just couldn't, didn't know what to do and I was in a panic. And apparently the other actor said, I made this really funny noise. I just went "eeeeeeeee", and then and then, and then I looked at the table and then I suddenly remembered the lines and I just said them. Oh, it was a horrible experience. But it felt like it went on for about 10 minutes, but hopefully it was only quite short, but it didn't, it really felt like a long time. So that's a good lesson to always remember your, learn your lines very, very well.

May :

Learn your lines, always learn your lines!

Natalie :

Sometimes you have a prompter, you have somebody sitting with a script backstage and they prompt you and that, now that's normally the stage manager who does that. They prompt you if you forget a line. And if you do forget your lines, that's called drying. And if you laugh, which I have done quite a lot on the stage, that's called corpsing. And that is something that I'm afraid has happened to me quite a lot.

Gwen :

What is your favourite play that you have done?

Natalie :

That's an amazing question. So I'm very lucky. I did a play called Noises Off which was at the National Theatre, which was before you were born before May was born. It was a long time ago, but it was really that's a brilliant pay. It's about it's a play about a play going wrong. And that was a brilliant thing to do. And that was at the National Theatre. I did that. And just that, Oh, loads, I did play called Jerusalem a couple of years ago. That was an amazing play to be in because that was a fantastic character. I've really lucky I've done some really fun fantastic things.

May :

And A Midsummer Nights' Dream?

Natalie :

Oh yeah, that's a good, yeah, Midsummer Night's Dream. I think you're right May. That was probably my favourite thing to do actually. Because it was at the, Midsummer Nights' Dream was at the Toyal Shakespear Company and I played Helena and it was just such a wonderful magical production. And I think you would like to be in Midsummer Nights' Dream Gwen. Somebody in the audience did a very loud pop off and then said "pardon". And we were all supposed to be asleep on the stage and then I saw my, I all the other actors' bodies shaking because they were laughing so much. We all got the giggles and we were supposed to be asleep, it was very funny.

Clip :

[...]

Gwen :

And are you excited about being on TV? Mummy says it's going to be a really good programme.

Natalie :

Oh yes! So I'm in this programme it's a very grown up kind of programme. It's called 'I May Destroy You' which is a, yeah, so it's a it's for grownups but it's a very exciting thing to be in because it's on HBO and BBC and it's very, um, it's a really cool trendy thing to be and so I'm very pleased about that.

Gwen :

So the last question the one that I said was for May, um, now, looking back when you said that you have a play well, like a musical theatre.

May :

Yeah

Gwen :

Um, I was so, it's one that I asked your mum. What is your favourite play that you've done?

May :

Um, I don't really know. Probably, um, I've only done two so far, but like one was just singing and songs from Mamma Mia and one was Mary Poppins. And I think my favourite was Mary Poppins because that was really fun. And it was really yeah, it was really fun. I think. Yeah, that was my favourite.

Gwen :

I've done Mamma Mia!

May :

Yeah, we just sang the songs. But we, we sang the, just sang the songs. Ones that, like, have good songs but like, it's too big to kind of put into a show cuz we've only got so many people and everything. And they, um, yeah, so we sang the songs but they're only done two. But Mary Poppins was my favourite. Definitely.

Gwen :

Nice.

Gwen's Mum :

Do you think you'll follow in your mummy's footsteps May?

May :

Oh, yeah, maybe? Yeah, I think so. I really like acting. It is my favourite subject at school and I get excited when it's time for drama or musical theatre class. Nice. It's just fun.

Natalie :

Do you feel like that Gwen?

Gwen :

Uh, some, well yeah.

Natalie :

What's your favourite subject Gwen?

Gwen :

I probably would say, in school or do you mean like dancing?

Natalie :

Like anything.

Gwen :

Probably art. Because I normally, like my mommy did, she used to be an artist. And we put we've been putting loads of pictures that I've been drawing, because once we did an art day and Mummy got these pens which are really pointy, and you just like flick with them, like flick instead of not like normal pens you usually use, you could use like hold it from the top and then you could just go like a paintbrush.

Natalie :

That's so cool.

Gwen :

That's one of my favourite arts I've probably done.

May :

Yeah, that sounds really cool.

Clip :

[...]

Gwen :

What do you eat to work? I forgot abot that one.

Natalie :

Well, normally, you take your own food if you're rehearsing. When you reheardse a play, that's something that's quite interesting. You have to rehearse it every day for about four weeks. And people normally take their own packed lunch unless there's a canteen or something in the theatre. If it's a posh theatre they might have a canteen. Oh, and then when I was doing Midsummer Night's Dream, I had a Freddo every night, you know, one of those little chocolate things?

Gwen :

Yeah. Freddo frogs.

Natalie :

So that's what I ate. I ate other things too, but I always had a Freddo. I used to have to run on stage. And then I had to sort of run off, and I used to past the canteen and the girl in the canteen needs to pass me my Freddo and I used to, she passed me half of it, and I used to eat half of it. And then in the second half, I used to run past her again and she used to give me the second half. Another play that I did was called Habeas Corpus. It was my first ever play. And the theatre there looked like a boat. It had all the windows were round. So we used to pretend that we were on a cruise ship, and in between shows on a Saturday, so that was in between the matinee and the evening show. We used to have a party and pretend that our cruise ship had docked at a different, um, that our cruise ship had stopped at a different country. And then we used to choose the country beforehand and dress up in the costume of the country.

Clip :

[...]

Natalie :

And then as soon as we saw the audience coming in, we used to leave the bar and get changed into our proper costume.

Gwen :

That sounds fun.

Natalie :

It was very good fun. This probably is my favourite, one of my favourite interviews.

Gwen's Mum :

Oh that's nice.

Natalie :

Oh that's so kind of you. Working in the theatre is very good fun. The hardest thing about being an actor is getting the job. That's always the trickiest part because there's so many actors, so if you did choose to do this as a job, that's one thing that I would really, it's quite good to know how to do lots of other things, too, if you want to be an actor.

May :

Yeah

Natalie :

I think, I would never say don't be an actor, but I would always say definitely learn to have lots of other skills as well.

Gwen :

I'm looking for the next one to come out.

Natalie :

Oh me too.

Gwen :

Thank you very much. And enjoy the rest of your day.

Natalie :

Thank you so much Gwen. It was really fun. I hope you get to do lots more acting soon.

Gwen :

And I'm, I wonder what everybody's, like the reviews are gonna say about this episode. I wonder if they're gonna say "oo, we might want to have more children on the podcast maybe."

Natalie :

Ah, that's a very sweet thing to say. Thank you Gwen.

May :

Thank you, Gwen.

Clip :

[...]

Gwen :

I'm Gwen and this is Gwen Gets To Work. If you've enjoyed this episode, please leave me a five star rating. And if you curious about what different things you can do when you grow up, subscribe to my podcast and tell your friends. In next week's episode, i'm talking to my dad. It is a Father's Day Special so check that out, definitely. Transcribed by https://otter.ai