From an American Duchess to a Dublin Servant

Charlotte McCurry, plays Lily in The Dead. Here she describes the challenges moving from one big production straight into another.

Working in the Abbey Theatre has been a dream of mine for a very long time and I was ecstatic when I made my Abbey debut earlier this year playing the parts of Sybil Vane and Lady Monmouth in The Picture of Dorian Gray. You can imagine my surprise and complete disbelief when, before I had even started rehearsals for Dorian, I was also offered the part of Lily in The Dead. I couldn’t believe my luck – two jobs back to back at the Abbey and five weeks of double-jobbing!

Rehearsals for The Dead began when we were in the middle of the run for The Picture of Dorian Gray. Meeting the new cast on the first day was as exciting as ever but at the end of the day when everyone else was heading off to the pub for some cast bonding over a couple of pints (or so I thought!), I had to grab a quick bite to eat and head back to my dressing room to get ready for the evening performance of Dorian.

As rehearsals progressed and the evening performances of Dorian continued, it was the simple little things I missed – like having time after rehearsals to go food shopping, make dinner, prepare lunch for the next day, go over my script and look back on what we had done in rehearsals that day. If double-jobbing taught me anything it was that you save a lot of time and money if you are organised. Sunday evenings were spent cooking and freezing all my lunches and dinners for the rest of the week. A rock n’ roll life eh!

I have to admit there was one night during a performance of Dorian when I was sitting onstage in one of my character’s quieter moments and a song we had been learning that day during rehearsals for The Dead popped into my head. But thankfully I resisted the temptation to give the audience a rendition.

It has been challenging to go from playing a very glamorous, American Duchess and naïve Cockney actress in The Picture of Dorian Gray to playing a young Dublin servant girl in The Dead but I have loved every minute of it. All the staff, cast and creatives at the Abbey have been incredibly supportive and made the past few months unforgettable.


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