Sarah Day speaks to Mared Lewis who is appearing in the UK Tour of Billionaire Boy.
What was your first ever show that you did as a kid, and what was it that got you into the theatre world?
My first ever show was in nursery school where I was the Easter Bunny, going on her journey to deliver eggs to her friends. I will never forget this, as it was my first show singing, dancing and acting on stage with my best friends, whilst telling a story at the same time. This is where my love began, and then my grandmother was the reason my love grew fonder. She used to encourage me to sing with her, she taught me how to harmonise, would sit and play the piano with me, and really helped me want to purse my love for performing.
Congratulations on being part of ‘Billionaire Boy’! Tell us about the show and the role you play in it.
I am the onstage swing/understudy. I cover nine different characters in the show, which is a fun challenge and keeps me on my toes. However, when I’m not understudying a part, I am part of the ensemble.
How has it been working on a show in the middle of a pandemic – audition and rehearsal process? Have you had any obstacles you have had to overcome?
We have been fortunate enough to keep Theatre alive with this production as we did a touring version of the show in car parks.
We would tour to different venues every day and perform the show to a sea of cars that tuned their radios to our sound system and watched the show live from the comfort of their cars.
We were on a UK tour with Billionaire Boy when the pandemic hit and weren’t even half way through the tour, so to be performing during the pandemic- I felt very fortunate.
It was such a crazy enjoyable experience- one I will never forget and it was just AMAZING to carry on doing what I love at a time like that.
What is your process when you get into character for a show?
In this show in particular, because I am mostly playing a twelve year old school child I make sure I have the energy required to give a realistic performance. A thorough vocal and physical warm up is key- especially when doing 2 shows a day as we do.
Why is theatre important to you?
Feeling the energy and reaction of a live audience is just an exhilarating feeling as an actor- especially when they’re an audience of children all cackling and belly laughing. To have the children in the palm of your hand is such a rewarding feeling.
Lockdown and restrictions are almost over – how did you keep creative through it?
Throughout lockdown I held daily workshops to dance and drama schools all over the country over zoom. This way, I kept creative by doing what I’ve trained to do and kept active whilst teaching.
Tell us about one of your best/funniest memories on stage?
I was in a show called ‘Dames At Sea’ and in the title number, one of the boys was using a mop as a prop and the head of the mop came off and went flying into the audience nearly hitting someone in the audience. Thank goodness it was a near miss. He then proceeded to use the mop without a head to it.
All this whilst we were singing and dancing!
If your life were a show what would it be called, and why?
Live in living colour. I like to think that I take every day in its stride and make every day a new day, leaving yesterday’s troubles behind if possible.
One of my favourite lines from a song is ‘you’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart’
So, with all the colour and fun that life brings I believe I would be Live in Living Colour.
It has been a really tough year for new actors graduating into the industry. What advice would you give to all the new graduates?
Not to let this pandemic affect your love and passion. We have worked HARD through training etc and we cannot let this stop us. Our industry is forever, and this little hiccup can not let us loose focus and drive!! Keep going!
Finally (without giving too much away!) why should our British Theatre community come and see ‘Billionaire Boy’?
Because it’s fun, light hearted & feel good and you’ll have a good old belly laugh!