An Actor's Life: Oliver Malam

An Actor's Life: Oliver Malam

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Regeneration's Oliver Malam on becoming an actor, understudying Wilfred Owen and getting into character.


1. What made you decide to become an actor?
I was a very shy child. At age 9, my primary school teacher decided that, in order to bring me out of my shell, she would cast me as a lead in the school play. It worked and I've been hooked ever since. 

2. What has been your highlight whilst on tour with Regeneration?
I'm not really one that goes on holidays very often so the chance to see more of the country has been great.

3. You understudy Wilfred Owen, how did you prepare for this role?
I did most of the things that Garmon had done. I re-read the Regeneration books, all the poems, Sassoon's diaries that mention him. I even dug out my old school books from when we studied him. I also created a timeline of his life (I actually did that for all the characters I understudy). Each night I mime along with the characters onstage to keep in practice. I'm sure I look rather barmy in the wings.

4. Do you have any theatre superstitions or rituals before you go on stage?
The only real 'ritual' I go through is just, when getting into costume I have to start off in my pants. Kind of building the characters from scratch. 

5. What was the last show you saw and what did you think?
I went to see Simon Godwin's 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' before starting on the tour, which was just astounding. I did see 'Shrek' while in Oxford with some of the cast, it was great fun. 

6. If you were a character from Regeneration, who would you be and why?
I think I'd probably be Wilfred Owen, being an aspiring writer myself. 

7. What do you enjoy the most about touring? 
As I mentioned, I love getting to visit more of the country, and also, just getting to work with such a great group of people. 

8. And the least?
I had an awkward situation with one of my landladies but it was quickly rectified. Provided a great story. The whole thing has just been fun, start to finish.

Regeneration premiered on 2 September 2014 (previews from 29 August) at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it continues until 20 September 2014. It then tours to York, Edinburgh, Bradford, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Richmond, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Blackpool where it concludes on 29 November.