Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Exclusive Interview With Fair City's Maclean Burke

He's one of Carrickstowns most loved faces and with that one of Ireland's most loved faces!! Mr Maclean Burke who you may also know as Damien Halpin from Fair City, yes I know... FAIR CITY!! So can you imagine the excitement when I rang the phone Tuesday morning to hear Macleans voice on the other end!!
 I've been a fan of Maclean's for years now, growing up watching the soap he's always been a favourite, AND then he went on the Apprentice a few years ago I was sold, an absolute gentleman and I was not disappointed when I actually got to speak to the legend!!! (who is very similar looking to Munster rugby player Mike Sherry...Hmmm...) 

Maclean is starring in a one man show travelling around Ireland which was written by the incredibly talented Gemma Doorly. The story has made made it's way into my heart and to make it that tine tiny better, it's incredibly rugby based, and you know me here I love my rugby!! So I asked Maclean what the story of 'Joe Prop' was actually about
'' The great thing about the show is that everyone can relate to him, you fall in love with the kid (Joe Kavanagh) he's a 12 year old boy from Gourey in Wexford and he's a little bit overweight, and his room is his solace and in his room he goes on to play for Ireland,150 caps for Ireland, 50 tries for Ireland. We've Brent Pope, George Hook who Joe talks to and we do actually have those guys because they've lent themselves to us.
It's just very funny, we've got Elvis in it, there's about 26 different characters all played by myself''
I know Maclean is a fantastic actor and well able to handle himself on stage, but Jesus a one man show!! 
I was in a play in transition year in school, I had a few lines and it almost led me to have a break down so for me, a whole show.. BY MYSELF, I would DIE... but did it bother Maclean?? (well he says so... but I've my doubts... *couh cough* he's still breathing )
''I was nervous, I hadn't been on stage for a long time it was about 8/9 years since I had last been onstage. Gemma Doorly (the playwright and who happened to be Sarah in Fair City!!!) came to me and asked me and I was very nervous, because I'd always said up until that stage I was never going to get back up on the stage because it was too much hard work, but then I decided 'okay c'mon we'll give it a go'. 
It's only when you're half way through rehearsing it you're like 'Jesus, what have I taken on here' and then all of a sudden it started to click''
Maclean is used to being on set with Fair City, with a big cast around him and where he can re do takes if needs be but it's all so different for Maclean on stage:
''The're both completely different. RTÉ has it's own pressures as well and the longer you're there the easier it is to deal with, you could have up to 40 people behind the camera staring at you saying 'just say the flipping line so we can go for lunch' and a lot of people think there are loads of takes, three or four, but there's not most are done in just one take so there is a lot of pressure there, but going on stage you only get one chance. One chance every night to make it right and that is high pressure especially doing it on your own, but it is very rewarding, it's a process I've really enjoyed and it's given me a love for it all over again.
And the thing is, if you mess up.. no body else knows''
Well, I think that's settled that for me so if anyone out there wants to know how to kill me...but me up on a stage BY MYSELF, that will do the trick!! 
Live or pre- recorded though... that is the question!!
''There's definitely something about going on stage and going live, I'm quite lucky in the way the show went like I didn't even know what a standing ovation was before I did this show until Gemma said to me one night 'wait for the standing O' I didn't know what it was, but since then we've had standing ovations every single night so it's very hard to beat that feeling''
The story behind Joe Prop is absolutely heartwarming, it's based on a kid who had a brain tumour and is bullied in school because his medication left him overweight, to cope with this he'd dream of one day playing rugby for Ireland,but what is it that makes Joe so lovable? 
 ''You can't help but love the boy,and there's a great little trick in the writing in that when he comes on stage he straight away interacting with the audience. The opening scene is me, in my pyjamas beating up a teddy so it is quite funny, and there's scenes where he offers the audience food and I think there's nothing more welcoming than when you go into someones house and they offer you food or a cup of tea so within a instinct he has the audience and they're with you''
If you watch Fair City, you'll quickly learn that Mac is one of the best actors in the show, if not Ireland but I was shocked to hear acting wasn't always on the agenda for him, and you know what.. he doesn't recommend it.. GASP!!!!
''To tell you the truth I wanted to be a cook!! 
For years and years all the way through school, I even used to have a little red book where I'd put all the recipes, I still have it.
I was quite artistic but I was never into drama and then I got bullied a bit when I was a kid so my parents tried to get me involved to get more confidence and get me out of the low I was in.
Then from there I just caught the bug and I'm literally working since I was twelve/thirteen and it's been good to me, Thank God''
I admit it, I too also have my own 'cookbook' with cut out recipes in it from when I was young, but a cook... well, I tend to turn things green these days but for aspiring actors out there Mac has this advice for you:
''DON'T!! Go to college and forget about it''
Okayyyyyy....
Well no, what I'd say to anyone is go get a degree first, the acting will be always there for you and if it's something you are driven to do, it will find it's way there for you. 
The only thing is is that, it's a industry and it's a job and like anything you have to work hard, you have to be getting up everyday and going looking for work there's no such thing as a day off you literally have to always be there, ringing the agents and finding out what's going on and only by doing that is what will get you lots of success. 
It's not all down to luck, you've got to be in the mix as well, pushing the buttons and pushing forward.

And finally, it was down to the serious business...

The Rugby!!!

Unfortunately for Mac, he's a Leinster fan. I know, I know..I pity him as well but it's something he's always loved and has a real passion towards:
''I love rugby, I played all growing up for the local clubs and it's great being from Leinster because we know that by the grace of God we're better than everyone, and another thing is we can understand Leinster fella's, it's hard to understand what Munster lads are even saying''
WELL I NEVER.... These acing folk and their nonsense!! but it wasn't long until Maclean was spilling his guts about loving Conor Murray.. okay maybe he didn't exactly say the words.. BUT it was implied ;)
After he tried to convince himself he was still a dedicated Leinster fan by talking about Brian O'Driscoll Mac said his favourite rugby player of all time would be Keith Wood... a Munster man, enough said!!

Joe Prop is travelling around the country and you can purchase the tickets and you can see the tour dates by following this link: http://www.joeprop.com/#!tour-dates/c14ak 
AND......wink*wink* nudge nude*- Maclean could possibly meet some of the real men of rugby when it 'might' *wink wink* nudge nudge come to Limerick!!
Huge thanks to the legend that is Maclean Burke for taking his time out to speak with me, it was a pleasure:)

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