Hello, 2020!

Someone told me I would get more work as a mum. Deep down I knew becoming a mum would be the end of my career (which I hardly even had!).

Well, that person was right and I was wrong. I’d never worked more! I know that this job comes in waves, I also know a lot actors quit at around my age for many reasons (I’m alway tempted) so there are less of us around than when I was in my late 20s age bracket. I also know that being a mum is an extremely marketable casting. Also, the industry, in my view, is opening more to real diversity. Having a well positioned agent has also helped. And more importantly, I know that because I wasn’t always working before becoming a mum, getting more frequent work (even though I’m still not always working) feels like it’s going way better, lol.

Still, if you’d have told me 8 years ago I’d have the lead role in any play in London I would have laughed non-stop. When the RSC showed interest in a Mexican story and therefore I ended up performing up there in Stratford-upon-Avon for a summer a couple of years ago, my eyes opened a little bit and I was sort of in disbelief. Always in gratitude.

When I heard that the Gate Theatre (seriously one of my favourite theatres in London) was staging a Mexican novel and were looking for Mexican actors for the lead part, I jumped at the opportunity without hesitation. I was still skeptical but impressed the doors seemed to be opening. When I was invited to audition I was thrilled. When I personally witnessed the Artistic Director go and search for Latin American actors, I was in awe (could this actually be happening?). When I was invited to audition for a second time and then a third time, I was nervous. When I got the job, I was beyond myself. Completely ecstatic. My heart proud, and filled with gratitude.

Then I read the novel ( I had only read extracts) and I totally freaked out. If you haven’t read Faces in The Crowd by Mexican genius author Valeria Luiselli, you totally should. Not a straightforward novel though, which is great, I’m always up for a challenge. But for my first big role on stage? Hmm, I don’t know. Anyway, I was genuinely petrified. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull it off.

The rest is history I suppose. The job is done now, but it’ll never be dusted. I’ll carry it with me forever. It was a transformative experience in many ways. Ellen McDougall is one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with and I will always be thankful for the trust and confidence she had in me. The cast were all incredible at what they do but were also the most supportive human beings throughout the run.

Doing this play was a great exercise in courage for me. For years I was terrified of improv. But life just keeps throwing projects at me where I’ve had to just get out of my head. This play was devised and we had to do a lot of improv and playing in the beginning. I can’t believe I’m actually saying that I loved that, but I totally did.

It’s difficult and perhaps even boring to go into what the play was about. It was there and now it’s gone. And these photos below I’ll treasure for ever. Thank you life, and thank you everyone who has supported me along the way.

Some reviews here:

https://www.timeout.com/london/theatre/faces-in-the-crowd-los-ingravidos-review

https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/2020/faces-in-the-crowd-review-at-gate-theatre-london-unafraid-to-be-wild-and-messy/

https://stagedoorapp.com/lyn-gardner/review-faces-in-the-crowd?ia=416

Lovely friends that came to see the show.
Dressing room: the beginning vs the end.
Mexican Embassy coming to support us.
Pub outing after opening night.
Castmates and I came here for lunch a lot. Patty and Bun in Notting Hill – SO good.
Press
Valeria Luiselli and Christina MacSweeney with cast and crew (Alfonso Cuarón was on the other side of the photo).
I had throat pains and ordeals during previews. Got better with natural remedies and homeopathy – honestly, my homeopath deserves a medal. I’m going to write a blog just on it.
Last show!

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