Fireside Chats with Cast Member Mary Murphy
Tell us about Mary Murphy.
Mary is an actor/voice-over artist. She loves the world of audio drama and is thrilled to perform with the incredibly talented Fireside team. She recently starred in the one-woman play An Evening With Lola Montez that premiered at Capital Fringe, played multiple roles in It’s A Wonderful Life at Arkansas Rep, and appeared in the short film Never No More. In addition to voicing various characters with Fireside, she has lent her voice to animation, video games, film, and radio. A few of her voice acting credits include the animated series Octonauts, PBS Kids Past/Present, Muzzy, Scampr, Mouth Media, and LeapFrog.
When did you first fall in love with the medium of audio drama and what did you find compelling about it?
My first introduction to audio drama was when I was little. I was given a set of recorded fairy tales. They were full cast dramatizations with actors, music, and sound effects. I was mesmerized by them and would spend hours listening to the stories. I think what is compelling about the audio drama medium is that as a listener you’re creating the picture. In many ways, you’re participating as a storyteller.
When did you get involved in Fireside Mystery Theatre, and what drew you to the creative hearth?
I first discovered Fireside when I was searching for podcasts. In addition to the wonderful writing and voice acting, I loved their unique approach of integrating the elements of old-time radio into modern storytelling. The first Fireside show that I performed in was Irish Ghost Stories 2016. I played Bree in “The Coffin Makers,” Enda in “The Tale of The Unfinished Confession,” and Sister Nora in “The Feast of the Assumption.”
As a performer what do you find most satisfying about the process of audio drama?
The freedom of being able to play characters that you wouldn’t necessarily get to portray in other mediums.
Tell us about the character you've found most satisfying to play so far throughout your Fireside career and why?
I have a long list of favorite Fireside characters that I’ve had the honor of playing. Two that I’d like to mention are Annie in the Sunken Harbor series and Mrs. Devide in “The Band of Mercy.” Annie is a character that I’ve gotten to play repeatedly since there are several Sunken Harbor segments. She’s wonderfully saucy and free of inhibition. Mrs. Devide is a character from one of the Nellie Bly plays. She’s completely unapologetic in a way that both fascinates and terrifies me. Who is your favourite Fireside character you didn't play?
One of my favorite characters that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to is Joseph Pulitzer from the The Secret Files of Nellie Bly episodes. The character is a bit prickly but is portrayed in a way that makes him utterly delightful. A credit to the writer and voice actor. Which play that Fireside has produced are you proudest of and why?
I’ve been proud of all of the Fireside plays, but one piece that comes to mind is “Pearlroth” from Strange Anatomy. It has the charm of an old-time detective story and eases you into this fantastical, sinister world. Like many Fireside stories, it has characters that are based on real-life figures and sheds light on a bit of lesser-known local history. Which podcast, aside from Fireside Mystery Theatre of course, do you listen to regularly, and what do you love about it?
One podcast that I’ve listened to regularly has been Criminal. I love the program because while it is technically in the “true crime” genre it’s never exploitative. The stories are always respectful of their subjects. Which horror movie, scary book or play has had the biggest impact on you and why?
The Turn of the Screw has always been a story that’s fascinated me. Since the narrator is unreliable, the fear is less about the story’s resolution and more about the unknown.
Have you ever had a supernatural experience in real life?
I don’t know if I’ve ever had a supernatural experience per se. As far as my own belief in the supernatural, I’m going to take a quote from a Fireside character… “I guess you could argue that I’m an agnostic when it comes to the paranormal.” (Director, “Eliza’s House”) Where can people find out more about you or connect with you?
They can visit my website.