The Real Pill

Special Features   The Real Pill
A conversation with Alison Pill, the Tony Award nominee of The Lieutenant of Inishmore who is currently putting her stamp on Broadway's Mauritius.
Alison Pill
Alison Pill


What did your parents say when you told them you wanted to be an actress?

Ooh, they were horrified. They've been good so far. But it took my grandmother awhile to understand. She was like, 'There's enough hardship out there. Why would you go seek it out?' But then about six or seven years ago, she gave me this little mountain goat charm; it was her sign of support to say, 'Go ahead, make your own hard way, climb that mountain.'

Does the show you're doing ever carry over into your offstage life?

Definitely. There's no way it can't. I always say it doesn't, but when I was doing The Lieutenant of Inishmore I'd be stomping around my neighborhood in combat boots. I'd drink whiskey and suddenly have an Irish accent. It would just sort of come out and everyone would look at me like, 'What are you doing?' And with Blackbird I would be so, so completely zonked after every show. I don't think I was much fun to hang around. What do you when a show ends?

After Blackbird I took off to my cottage for a few days with my best friend. It's an hour and a half north of Montreal. There are no phones. It was us, a lake, a lot of good books to read, and a lot of good wine. That was it.

Do you have some down time on Mauritius?

I have two scenes I'm not even in. It's such a relief after Blackbird. I get to walk off the stage! I listen to music, drink lots of Throat Coat tea with honey, wander around, and do push-ups.

Do you have a favorite part of the process?

It usually takes place during the second week of rehearsal. You figure out all this stuff and then … everything falls apart the next day (Laughs). And it's the day after everything falls apart. For instance, I had a horrible rehearsal yesterday. I had no idea what I was doing. Our run-through was a mess and everything that could go wrong did. So today I'm just so excited. Because we've cleared it up and we learned so much. The thing I love about theatre the most is that it's constantly falling apart. I had two nights in a row at the end of Inishmore, the moment when I was about to shoot Padraic and … there was just a click. I had my eyes closed 'cause I'm expecting the blood to be spurting out and I suddenly realize it's not there. It was so horrifying. I stayed calm, but, my God, there was such a heart-in-my-throat, ten-years-off-my-life feeling.

What other projects have you done lately?

I was shooting a Steve Carell movie in Rhode Island last year with some of my favorite theatre actors ever. It's called "Dan in Real Life." I spent my 21st birthday at a table with Frank Wood, Jessica Hecht, Norbert Leo Butz, and Amy Ryan.

Have you Googled yourself?

Of course. The message boards on are always horrifying though. I found a theatre blog that had an entire thing about my forehead. Somebody had written a page about my forehead. I allow myself maybe once every two months an obsessive moment and then I find something like that and I cure myself.


This piece originally appeared in the October issue of The Insider's Guide, Playbill's new monthly listings and features publication distributed in and around New York City.

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