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Seven characters “In His Pockets”

February 14, 2013
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Published by Metro

There are 15 characters in “Stones In His Pockets,” but just two actors.

“I’m not a hundred percent sure why [playwright] Marie Jones felt that was the best way to do it. But it’s the most interesting for sure,” says actor Phil Tayler, who plays seven of those roles.

How is such a feat even possible?

“It’s crazy. There are no costume changes. It’s just quick physical changes, quick vocal changes,” explains Tayler. “There are some scenes where actors are actually talking to themselves.”

The play is set in a rural Irish town that’s been infiltrated by an American film crew. Tayler plays most of the Irish characters, but there’s more to the job than just mastering a typical Irish brogue.

“I have four Irish dialects, a Cockney accent and a female standard Irish accent,” he says. “The big goal is to not sound like an American actor playing an Irish character,” he adds with a laugh.

Authenticity—or lack thereof—is a big theme in the play. The Hollywood crew wants to present a romanticized version of Ireland in their movie.

“You think rolling hills, farmland, gorgeous open spaces and Guinness by the pint,” says Tayler. “Then there’s the flip side: the bleak rain and poverty, the potato famine.”

The filmmakers ask one of Tayler’s characters, a young Irishman cast as an extra, to do “typical Irish things.”

“He doesn’t understand what they mean, because it’s the American notion of what Ireland is,” says Tayler.

Lyric Man

Tayler is a regular at the Lyric Stage Company. He was a star in last year’s “Avenue Q” and he’ll be in the company’s production of “On The Town” this May.

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