“It’s a lottery, a blood lottery. But I’m very glad that I’m part of this one.“
I’m looking for a word.
I’m constantly looking for a word.
Here’s the thing…
There’s always a sense of expectation and dread when it comes to interviewing actors, particularly those you recognise from down the years. The expectation is that here is someone who is, by nature, a storyteller – given to anecdote and verbal engagement* – about to make my job so much easier simply by being themselves.
The dread is the stereotype of the performer. Someone so engaged with themselves that nothing exists outside of their world of greasepaint and camera angles. Not for nothing is the actor’s warm-up reputed to be “me me me me me me me me me.”
Add to this the fact that Chrissy Rogers of Brookside Close was a constant in my Liverpool student life during the turbulent 80s and you can understand this podcaster’s fears. The prospect of disappointment rose high in my head.
Friends, I needn’t have worried.
Eithne Browne is a generous, funny and often outspoken woman whose passion for both her work and her family comes through with every sentence. This is not a life she aimed at – as she says, she more “fell into” performance than anything, after a chance recommendation from her works manager who just happened to know someone who happened to know a certain Willy Russell. However, this sense of life as a happy accident is probably what has given her such a longevity, and ubiquity, within her home city.
Another lottery. Another win. She knows she’s been lucky.
Eithne’s antennae seem to be permanently tuned in to the chance, the coincident, the overlap of experience. The busker in another city who knows a namesake from home. The discovery of a fellow descendant of Ballina. Finding her parents’ names in the open Book of Remembrance at Liverpool Cathedral.
With that interconnectedness comes hope. That we may all come from somewhere else, but where we’re heading is the same place. A point of unity. A great big melting pot.
I know – so far, so Woodstock. We are stardust (or to quote another legend of Liverpool “You may say I’m a dreamer”). However, meeting Eithne Browne does that to you – makes you take in the possibilities with neither expectation nor dread but something other.
That’s the word.
*that’s a sweeping generalisation, of course. Not all performers are talkers. There are shy actors. And mimes.