Actor Phil Tayler has seven characters ‘In His Pockets’

Tayler, center, delighted audiences in the Lyric’s “Big River” in 2011. CREDIT: MARK S. HOWARD
Tayler, center, delighted audiences in the Lyric’s “Big River” in 2011.
CREDIT: MARK S. HOWARD

There are 15 characters in “Stones In His Pockets,” but just two actors.

“I’m not 100 percent sure why [playwright] Marie Jones felt that was the best way to do it. But it’s the most interesting for sure,” says actor Phil Tayler, who plays seven of those roles.

How is such a feat possible?

“There are no costume changes. It’s just quick physical changes, quick vocal changes,” explains Tayler. “There are some scenes where actors are actually talking to themselves.”

The play is set in a rural Irish town that’s been infiltrated by an American film crew. Tayler plays most of the Irish characters.

“I have four Irish dialects, a Cockney accent and a female standard Irish accent,” he says. “The big goal is to not sound like an American actor playing an Irish character.”

Authenticity — or lack thereof — is a big theme in the play. The Hollywood crew wants a romanticized version of Ireland for their movie.

“You think rolling hills, farmland, gorgeous open spaces and Guinness by the pint,” says Tayler. “Then there’s the flip side: the bleak rain and poverty, the potato famine.”

The filmmakers ask one of Tayler’s characters, a young Irishman cast as an extra, to do “typical Irish things.”

“He doesn’t understand what they mean, because it’s the American notion of what Ireland is,” says Tayler.

Lyric man
Tayler is a regular at the Lyric Stage. He was a star in last year’s “Avenue Q,” and he’ll be in the company’s production of “On The Town” in May.

‘Stones In His Pockets’
Feb. 15 through March 16
Lyric Stage
140 Clarendon St., Boston
$25-$58, 617-585-5678
www.lyricstage.com


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