This week’s Throwback Thursday interview is with Lisa Mathieson who recently starred in the new Amazon prime video movie musical A Tale to Tell – which is really home grown!
What was your first ever show that you did as a kid, and what was it that got you into the theatre world?
I did lots of dance shows with my dance school but my first big show was Panto in Glasgow. I actually saw a Panto when I was 12 and I thought the girl playing Cinderella was just brilliant. I went home to my mum and dad and told them I wanted to be her! There was an advertisement on the back of the programme saying a big theatre school in Glasgow was auditioning, so I went, I got in, and the rest is history!
We are so excited for you and the team of ‘A Tale to tell’, a new musical movie now available on Amazon Prime. How was it putting a show together during a pandemic? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Thank you so much!! When the theatre world starting to close down we had a few discussions about what we could do to keep us sane! As time went on and pantos started to cancel, we very quickly got serious about it! Within 3 days Glen Murphy (writer, director, producer) had a full cast and creative team together and we were going full steam ahead! You will notice in the film that there are a lot of outside shots featuring one actor! We obviously had to abide by the Covid rules at the time (which changed frequently!). The only time everyone came together was for the very last number. We had one socially distanced rehearsal, all vocals were recorded separately and we even had a Zoom scene! Dancing and singing in masks ain’t easy!!! We had to reschedule shoots A LOT!
Why is theatre important to you?
Obviously, I love theatre! I love watching it and I love being part of it! I think it’s really important for everyone as it provides a little bit of escapism from everyday life! There’s nothing better than going for dinner, going to a show and being transported into another world for a couple of hours! I have so much respect for everyone that works in theatre! EVERYONE! Not just actors! There is a whole team of people in there that you don’t get to see. Everyone works incredibly hard and sacrifices a lot to be there.
What is your process when you get into character for a show?
I always warm up vocally and physically. I try to imagine every show as my first show so that it feels fresh. I cover and swing quite a lot so if I’m going on for a different track I make sure I’ve gone through the whole onstage and backstage track in my head so that I feel prepared to perform.
You were also recently NBC’s The Grinch Musical with Matthew Morrison! Tell us about your experience and how you got involved with this brilliant show.
It was incredible! 2020 was looking extremely bleak and The Grinch came out of nowhere. I had actually worked with the full creative team at some point in my career and I was very lucky to be asked! The amazing Lizzi Gee was choreographing and she put me forward for it! Stuart Burt had cast me in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and between them, they got me in! My heroes! We rehearsed socially distanced and in masks for three weeks then we were put into a Covid secure bubble where we all moved away from home and stayed together in hotels so we could rehearse and film properly. The whole experience was amazing! I had the pleasure of working with the most beautiful, talented, humble, hard-working, hilarious people in the business. All the costumes were designed especially for us, we had little ‘Who’ noses, and we were just so grateful to be doing what we loved in 2020! We all made our American TV debut! Madness!
What are the main differences for you working in theatre vs working on screen? Do you have a preference?
I think I will always prefer theatre as there is nothing better than the adrenaline you feel going out on stage, giving it everything and the audience loving it! When you work on screen you get to do more than one take, which is great as you can hopefully get the perfect shot. Both are amazing! I feel very lucky to have experienced both worlds!
Tell us about one of your best/funniest memories on stage?
I was strutting across the stage in Spamalot and my heel got stuck in my skirt. I hopped for a bit but I could not get this heel out! I eventually I had to drop to the floor and physically roll off of the stage! Mortified but funny for everyone else!
What three things can we always find in your dressing room? I.e Lucky charms…things that help you on stage…blue m&ms..
A nebuliser! Keeps the vocal chords nice and lubricated. Photos of my friends and family. My family are in Scotland so I miss them loads. A bean bag! I love a nap between shows.
If your life were a musical what would it be called, and why?
Full Out With Feeling the Musical! Lol
I put my all into everything that I do. I won’t call in sick unless I’m dying, I will never mark a show, I kinda love being exhausted and I love what I do!
I live my life FULL OUT!
What advice would you give to all the new graduates?
Stay strong! It’s really difficult to leave college with the dream of doing all of these amazing shows and find yourself getting cut from auditions. It happens to everyone! You just have to be strong enough to brush yourself off and try again. I know people that have gone years without booking a single job and then all of a sudden it happens! Sometimes it just takes time. Once you are in a job, work hard, be professional and enjoy every second!