Actress Marin Ireland likes recording audiobooks because instead of playing one part in a film or television series or onstage, she gets to play all of the roles in the story. Ireland is best known for the Amazon Prime series “Sneaky Pete,” the movie Hell or High Water, and, on the Broadway stage, her Tony Award-nominated role in Neil LaBute’s “reasons to be pretty.”
Ireland’s reviewers note the nuance and pacing in her performances, even when she’s delivering the action and description in the novels she narrates. “In television and film, the final performance and the tone and pacing are dictated by the editor and the director after my work is done,” she says. Her audiobook recording experiences have given her the most pleasure when she feels the flow of the words and focuses on serving what’s on the page. She says she’s drawing on all her instincts as an actress to portray all the parts, and she likes that. Ireland says she tries to “give over to” the sounds of the words as they form in her mind while she’s reading and reproduce that in her performance. “I remember the first one I ever did, and I said, ‘I don’t know how far to take the characterizations of these people,’ and my director said, ‘Just go with your instincts.’”
Trusting those instincts has produced well-reviewed productions of SLEEPING BEAUTIES by Stephen and Owen King, THE RULES OF MAGIC by Alice Hoffman, and BEARTOWN and US AGAINST YOU by Fredrik Backman.
Ireland says that adding audiobook narration to her toolbox of acting skills draws on all the styles of acting on stage, film, and television. “When I was a kid, about 11 years old, before I knew I wanted to be an actor, I read voraciously. I thought I might be a writer when I grew up because that’s all I did. I was shy, and I needed books as an escape.” Stepping into a small recording booth reminds her how books took her to imaginary worlds when she was young. “I like being privy to telling every element of that story.” She says audiobooks are an extension of her interest in storytelling as an actress and her fascination with words and language. “For me, it all comes down to the writing. If the writing inspires me, I’m in. Some of the best times in recording are when I disappear, and they won’t stop me for a little while, and I find myself lost in it just as I imagine a listener would be.”
However, she knows from her acting experience that as a performer, she must stay in control and keep her own emotions in check. “It’s not about me crying; it’s about making listeners cry.”—Randy O’Brien
©AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine
Photo courtesy of the narrator
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