Lucy McDonald is a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts graduate, having majored in theatre at the University of Tasmania from 2017-2019. She is now working professionally as an actor, mostly in Tasmania for the time being. Since her graduation, Lucy has secured a mainland-Australia talent agent, performed in a multitude of theatre shows and festivals, and is currently in development/rehearsals for two theatrical productions while also filming an amateur film.
Lucy is a multifaceted performer who can perform naturalism for screen and stage, puppetry, physical theatre, and even musical theatre.
In her spare time, Lucy has taken to training acrobalance and yoga to enhance her physical theatre performance skills.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Lucy and here’s what went down:
Can you tell us more about yourself? How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
I was always a very energetic child with a lot of character; I loved to make people smile and laugh. Getting to high school, I found drama class as an excellent outlet for all of this performative energy I had inside me. The older I got, the more interested and serious I became about performing. I got my first paid acting gig while studying Theatre at University. I landed it by continuously searching for auditions in my free time where I happened to stumble upon a new local children’s theatre company looking to cast their first show here. I worked with them a lot for the rest of my time studying and found performing for children was an amazing learning opportunity in itself.
What do you like most about acting?
I’ve always struggled to put my finger on the correct answer when asked what I love about acting. I think ultimately it comes down to two things for me; the opportunity to share a story and all the work you have put into telling it with an audience, and the meditative state you can reach as a performer when becoming a character. Humans have always told and performed stories to entertain one another, so I believe it is a primal action for us. As for becoming someone else, there is a moment where, if surrounded by the right team and truly comfortable with your knowledge on your script and character, you feel a switch in your brain flip and everything enters into a natural flow state. This meditative, truly present state is something I absolutely adore about acting and what keeps me searching for more.
What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?
As an actor, you are constantly being looked at with an almost skeptical eye. There is a fine line you walk, that you must stay on for the entirety of your performance lest an audience member witnessing you lose your concentration/character/etc. This fact comes with a lot of pressure and it is easy to let your anxiety feed on this and tell you, you are not good enough. I think every actor has had a moment of not feeling good enough. This is a weaker point of mine, yet I actively work to assure myself; I am good enough. In fact, I’m better than good enough, I’m great! Just because I don’t get cast in a role I wanted or I drop a line during a performance, does not mean I am any less worthy or hard-working. I am always growing and learning.
What are your strong points as an actor?
I am an extremely hard-working actor. I like to put in the extra effort. I have found this to be one of my strongest points as an actor as it all lends itself towards the ultimate goal I search for when performing; the meditative flow state. So, I learn my lines as soon as possible, I make sure my body is show-fit at all times, I give myself time to notate a script and deeply analyse a character. This all allows me to relax when performing and that is my strong suit.
What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?
I learn something different from every director I work with. When I was first learning children’s theatre, I didn’t understand why my director kept telling me not to deliver my lines to my fellow actors – how could I connect with them emotionally if they didn’t feel I was directing the conversation at them and instead, looking out into the sea of little kids? Upon performance time, however, I found that the audience was another character in the story themselves! Yes, I could perform to my fellow actor but there was no fourth wall blocking my character from seeing the audience; they were meant to be there and in the world, I was in. All this is to say, I have learned a valuable lesson from every director I have worked with, each leading me towards a greater understanding of the role an actor takes on under different circumstances.
What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?
The competitive nature of being an actor is certainly the most draining aspect of the business. It can be difficult to settle into an audition when those beside you are inadvertently praying that you don’t get the part. This can make fostering relationships with anyone similar to you in the business quite difficult at times. I am still navigating how best to avoid letting jealousy and resentment cloud my judgment of others, instead of looking to praise and uplift them.
What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?
Bringing a script to life is not something that can be done in an afternoon, it takes time. The biggest challenge is making that commitment to yourself and those you are working with that you will put in all the effort and more in order to bring out the absolute best work you can from what you are provided. There’s a lot of homework, discoveries, trial, and error and that can be a very daunting task at the beginning of any project. I find I just need to take one evening to myself to sit down and truly give the script and character my full attention and that tends to get the ball of intrigue and discovery rolling.
What do you do when you’re not filming?
When I’m not rehearsing or performing, I like to focus on remaining ‘show-fit’. I practice a lot of yoga, workout, train things like acro-balance with others, attend actors Bootcamp, anything that will mean that the next time I enter a working space, I have the ability to do nearly anything a director asks of me. Aside from my workaholic time, I try to find time to relax, spend time with friends, and have recently taken to exploring my spirituality on a deeper level.
What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?
Not necessarily a career moment, but in my final year of University, I was struggling a lot with depression and living in a very unhealthy headspace, which is never how you want to finish such a long process like a Bachelor’s Degree. I was attending therapy all year, and by the time I reached my Graduation Play, I finally felt more accepting and loving of myself and the world around me. This healthy change manifested into my performance as I had heavily focused on meditation and living in the present moment, resulting in me doing just that on stage too. This was perhaps the first time I truly felt intentionally at ease and comfortably sitting in the actor’s flow-state. I won’t soon forget that and now strive for it in every performance.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
I adore working with performers who are from or have heavily studied performance practices from cultures different than my own. I have made some lifelong friends out of exploring more physical-theatre styles of performance, such as shadow theatre. A lovely man, Kevin, who taught and directed me in his shadow theatre performance during University is someone I could talk to about life and acting endlessly and we would never cease to learn new things from one another.
If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?
I’ve thought about this, as we all should, multiple times before. Emma Stone. I think she could capture my awkwardness, sense of humour, random bursts of energy, curiosity for life, and downright intensity when performing. I also like to believe we look at least a bit similar.
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
I plan to continue taking each moment and opportunity as it comes while still actively working towards my goals of 1. Creating/performing good quality representation for the LGBTQIA+ community; I want to be who I needed when I was younger. And 2. Performing with a circus at least once in my lifetime. My goals are on fairly different ends of the spectrum of acting but I don’t care; life is the longest thing I will ever do – I’ve got time.
The “Lightning Fast” round:
1. Last good movie I’ve seen: I don’t actually find myself with much time to watch movies at the moment. The last movie I watched though was Bridesmaids, which I adore!
2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Most things. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Anything that makes me smile or reminds me of the divinity of life, I suppose; people laughing, large bodies of water, my cat laying in the sun, people discussing their passions, clouds, rain, the sun breaking through leaves, bright colours, the list really could go on forever! The world is a beautiful place and we are all beautiful and divine creatures.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? A lot! And I do fully plan on doing it all, from small things like holding a handstand for more than three seconds, to big things like doing my bit for the LGBTQIA+ community.
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” approach more strangers. I think connecting with random people just because they intrigue you in some way is a wonderful thing that I would love to explore more if there weren’t social conventions and swells of anxiety restricting me so much.
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? I hate to go physical, but I was told a lot growing up that I had eyes too big for my head. I suppose I’ve grown into them now or maybe I just accept myself more because people don’t tend to comment on them too much now. Either way, I wouldn’t change them because they allow me to let people in, especially when performing which is a great bonus.