Scatter of Opinion

Beetles from the West – Cast Interview


Beetles from the West Cast
Ryan Penny, Shian Denovan and Chris Machari

The charmingly named, Falling Pennies Theatre Company catches issues prone to falling under the radar and brings them to the attention of their audiences. Created by Ryan Penny after graduating from Mountview Academy, Ryan chose to use his Dad’s diagnosis of prostate cancer to support charities and people going through similar situations by founding a new theatre company with James Hartnell. A theatre company which focuses on experiences, situations and reflections ‘If the penny has dropped it means someone has finally realised the situation’.

Just minutes before Press Night the cast of Beetles from the West kindly share their thoughts on the process of this production.

❓This is the second run for Beetles from the West, what differences can we expect to see?

❝An obvious change will be the two new faces of the cast, Jenny now being played by Shian Denovan and Chris Machari as Henry. We have been concentrating on making the performance more natural, whilst developing the monologues with physicality to make them stand out more❞ – Ryan

❝I prefer watching naturalistic performances and have spent a lot of time working in films, this direction seemed right for the piece and suited my style❞ – Shian

❝We’ve stripped things back to the bare necessities❞ – Chris

❓I enjoy both naturalistic and stylised performances, but I do find realistic plays hugely engaging, it’s like people watching. Beetles from the West is very true to Ryan as we know, did either of you (Shian, Chris) draw on your own experiences to empathise with or develop the characters you play?

❝Any character you play, you always bring yourself in to the role. I can’t say their was any experience in particular that I used, more reactions and emotions I think Jenny would have❞ – Shian

❝My character touches on his past a lot, drawing up memories. I used my imagination to empathise with those situations and from that realised how it would feel to be him now❞ – Chris

❓ I can remember the character’s back stories being heart breaking, uncommon experiences – it must be quite difficult to put yourself in their shoes. What was the most challenging part of the process to get it to where you are now?

❝Time constraints, we had just two weeks to rehearse before our first show on Tuesday. I’m also working on another production, which is showing after this – juggling both rehearsals is hard work. If we had more time it would be great to experiment and play more with the script❞ – Shian

❝Surprisingly the change to the Theatre space threw me off to begin with, I felt like I had to strip off the previous run completely to be ready for the new one, as we are receiving a completely different audience❞ – Ryan

❝The monologues were one of the most difficult things to get right, with a heavy physical style which opposes the style of the rest of the performance. Getting the balance right between the physical and voice, ensuring the physical movement doesn’t effect the voice❞ – Chris

❓Great, we’re really looking forward to seeing those monologues in tonight’s performance. Finally, do you hope to take Beetles from the West elsewhere or are you moving on to something new?

❝Falling Pennies have a new show currently in rehearsal, Remedial Remedies. We are taking Beetles from the West to the Plymouth Barbican, back to where it all started, home – where my family and friends who supported me during the time the play is based on, can all come and see the production. Then I think I’ll take a break before the next project❞ – Ryan

❗Fantastic, I hope your Plymouth audience, family and friends love the show. Thank you for catching up with us, you better run – the performance starts in 20 minutes!

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