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April 2, 2012 | by  | in Arts Theatre |
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Theatre Profile: Brynley Stent

  • NAME: Brynley Stent
  • AGE: 22 years old
  • QUALIFICATION, YEAR: Bachelor of Performing Arts (Acting) at Toi Whakaari, 2nd year

How long have you been acting?

My debut performance was as ‘Reindeer #4’ in our preschool nativity play at age 3.

What got you into acting in the first place?

Originally my parents forced it on me: I was a quiet child and they put me into after school drama lessons to become more outgoing. I remember going to my first lesson and it was filled by kids who spoke with creepy fake British accents and could name every one of Shakespeare’s plays at age 8. I declared I hated acting, I would never go back. It was only when I reached high school and realised that I could affect others with my acting—whether that meant making someone laugh, or simply think about something a little more deeply—that I really started getting into it.

What is it about acting that you love?

I suppose at the bare bones of it, I’m still a child at heart and love playing make-believe on a daily basis. There is something incredible about being able to take an audience into another world, or stepping into the shoes of a person who is totally different to you. I guess everyone has a craving for that escapism in some way; it’s just that I’m doing it on a stage instead of playing a video game or getting drunk to make myself feel more confident. I’m not a very articulate person—I’m never going to be a good lawyer or politician—but acting is a way I can really change things.

How has it been bringing Gruach to life in Dunsinane?

It’s been a scary, but rewarding process. Gruach is basically the future Lady Macbeth, and because she is one of Shakespeare’s most famous females she is a pretty daunting character to be given, especially in your second year at drama school! But the playwright has written an amazing script, with a lady Macbeth who is just as scary and power-driven as Shakespeare’s one, but more relatable! It was so much fun discovering that backstory and bringing this cold, war- ravaged Scotland to life.

What is the best part you have played and why?

In 2010 I played a crazy old lady called ‘Mama Lombardo’ who invites a young door-knocking Mormon boy into her house in God’s Other Children. The director set the play in a room full of gypsy junk and basically told us to go wild. There were props smashed, unexpected interactions with the audience and half the script was changed and improvised every night. It was amazing because no show was ever the same.

What would be your dream role and why?

I recently saw Raoul through the Christchurch Arts Festival, and although I wouldn’t want to play that exact character (it would be hard for me to drop 20 kgs and change gender), I love the idea of travelling a physical theatre show around the world.

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