Sunday, 21 August 2011

Playing Imogen Dawson

Emma Taylor is currently a student at Grovesnor Grammar School in Belfast. An active member of the Belvoir Players, Emma has been in many of the theatre company's productions and her most recent roles on stage in Belvoir have been as Mrs Potts in the musical "Beauty and the Beast" and in the Sam Cree play, "Married Bliss," a comedy set in rural Northern Ireland in the 1960s. This September, Emma will be taking on the role of the party queen of Mount Olivet Grammar School in the company's production of "Popular".

1. Emma, tell us a little bit about your character of Imogen Dawson in "Popular".

Emma: Imogen Dawson is the wild child of the popular clique. She’s confident, sexy and hilariously cruel at times. She’s going into fifth year and she's sixteen years old.  Imogen is a newer recruit to the popular clique, not an original member, but she’s so cemented into the group now that people tend to not guess. She’s dating Stewart Lawrence, who is (almost) the captain of the rugby team, although she takes the risky decision to pursue another romantic interest, the Immaculate Heart of Mary bad boy, Michael Laverty. She says what she thinks and never apologises. In short, she is fabulous. 

2. Imogen's known as being the "party girl" of the popular set. How similar are you to her in terms of personality?

Emma: I would LOVE to say that I was similar to Imogen, but I don’t think I am at all! She is literally the life and soul of the party, whereas I would fill the role of amused observer most times. I’d like to think I’d get along with Imogen in real life, although I would be constantly fearing for my self-esteem and sanity. And liver. She would be the ideal partner for a night out. Although we would, without a doubt, end up in a gutter, having lost our shoes and clutching various empty bottles of alcohol.

Emma (right) with Alexandra Moyna, who plays Natasha in "Popular".

3. You've said before in rehearsal that you absolutely love the character of Imogen. What is it about her that made you warm to her so strongly?

Emma: Imogen says what she thinks. She says things that everyone wishes they had the confidence to say. She is so confident and so assured of her role in the group and of her popularity. I just love the character so much, because she can get away with so much. She also just doesn’t care what people think of her. Imogen hates people pressuring her to do things; anything she does, she does on her own terms. The bitchy comments and penchant for casual violence are also amazing. 

Imogen is so fun to play because she is so far removed from any character I’ve ever played! She’s also so different to myself, which means that in playing her, I can step into someone else’s shoes completely. I also adore English accents in any way, shape or form. So yes. Imogen is utterly amazing. 

4. Favourite line as Imogen?

Emma: Oooh. There are SO many. I have to say I adore the line “I went for a wax and the woman must have been trained by the KGB. If she’d pulled any harder, she’d have ripped off my clitoris.” But then again, I also adore every single line in Imogen and Michael’s break-up. She is on fire in that scene. 

5. Apart from Imogen, who is your favourite character in "Popular"?

Emma: This is a toughie. I’m going to have to go for Kerry or Cameron. Kerry has been a favourite from the moment I read her audition extract. She is utterly hilarious, and Claire [Handley], the actress playing Kerry, just gets the character. Kerry’s comic timing and her beret are just … amazing. But Cameron [played by Robbie Dagher] is a new favourite. He’s just got such a vulnerable side. Characters who can move me to tears always become my favourites.

6. One reason why people should come and see 'Popular' in September: 

Emma: Because it’s going to be utterly beau. No other explanation needed. :)

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