Shauna MacDonald - The Last Laugh
The Last Laugh director Shauna MacDonald (Scottish television and film actress) shares her thoughts on the play ahead of March.
The Last Laugh tour stops at the Glasgow Comedy Festival playing Cottiers Theatre on the 24th March. Join Shauna, and the rest of the cast and crew after the performance for a Q&A about developing theatre for festivals.
Some would say that being a working stage and screen actress since the age of 16 has left me somewhat bitter, twisted and pathetically soaked with self doubt. I might be inclined to agree with ‘them’ if only I could be given the chance to jump off this acting wagon for one glorious second to take a good hard look at myself. I could sit crossed legged on the long prairie grass and stare and my botox free, freckled, red, creased face and let my wrinkles tell me (loudly) the story of the my career. They could remind me of what a emotional and psychological rollercoaster this journey has been and point out the tole this crazy world of show business has taken on my body and mind. However, I get bored very quickly, especially when I have to listen to a woman telling me how difficult it is in this industry, so I wouldn’t stay too long on the prairie grass, I’d probably scramble back on pretty quick.
It is hard being an actress, very hard. Interesting female characters aren’t easy to come by and if your profile has plateaued due to a child rearing absence then forget even being seen for it. And don’t mention your kids, cause nobody cares. So I don’t get off the wagon, ever, I stay on holding the reins with Bouddica strength, whilst flicking rejection off my back like Sensei Uma and laughing through the Sophie’s Choice pain of paying my mortgage or buying a train ticket to a casting like an Oscar winning Meryl. So, when the opportunity of getting off that blasted wagon to direct ‘The Last Laugh’ appeared I jumped at the chance! I knew I would have the luxurious position of sitting back and watching. The play tells the story of Eddie Butler (a dysfunctional misogynist comic) and his quest from mediocre funny man to comic notoriety. I came in to the rehearsal process fairly late on. The brilliant cast ( Larah Bross and actor/writer Keir McAllister) were all off book and already inhabiting their character’s worlds. All that was left for me to do was nip and tuck their performances, make their words specific and not general, raise the stakes and infuse them with a bucket full of confidence. The script is one of the funniest I have had the pleasure of reading. It’s a one of those gifts of a play that screams at an actor like David Mamet trying to stop a kid from going to drama college. The words just need to be SAID. Of course said with intent and always with something to be gained or lost by the end of the scene but really just SAID because that’s how good the writing is. My role as director was simply to support, encourage and challenge Larah and Keir. They both stood on that stage at The Assembly Rooms and shone. I beamed like a proud mother and then left... to get back on my wagon.
The Last Laugh is on at Cottiers, 24th March, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12 and can be purchased here.