I’ve known Daisy for quite literally all of her life; she’s my younger sister. I can remember her being brought home for the first time, all tiny and with masses of hair. She was subjected to my ‘early work’ as a writer/director as we were growing up, where I’d command her about the place with stuffed toys and Barbie dolls, and in our early collaberations we masterminded huge toy family dramas, ranging from divorce to epic road trips.
We’re now both adults, both set in our own creative fields, and I was extremely excited to ask her to be a part of Clockwork Bird. We sat down on a glorious afternoon, seperated by a couple of hundred miles and across a national border, to talk about collaborating for the first time as adults.
So, introduce yourself. Who are you, in your own words?
Oh god. I’m Daisy Major, I’m an actor and writer from North Wales and co-founder of an as yet unnamed theatre company that started at university. Is that enough, lol?
Yeah, that’s fine! Loool. Okay so. Being a proper actor, you’ve done a bunch of acting before, but nothing really like a podcast, right?
What were your thoughts when I first asked you to be a part of CWB?
I was flattered that you wanted me to be a part of it and excited I guess because it was new and I’ve never played a character like Shelly before so thats always exciting.
Ooh, in what kinds of ways is Shelly different to parts you’ve played before?
Well, I quite often get cast into comedic roles and also having been through youth theatre, and still being in my early 20s a lot of the stuff I go up for and play is teenagers, who obviously have completely different experiences and stories that they’re a part of so Shelly was completely new.
That’s really cool, I’m glad I’ve able to kind of give you an opportunity to do something you’ve not done before. Of all the characters in the podcast, Shelly is the most new, and I had it in my mind as I was writing that I would want you to play her. Do you think you’re like Shelly, or would you respond completely differently to the situation than she does, do you think?
Oh wow, that’s so cool! I didn’t know that! I like to think that I would react in the same way. That if something was wrong I’d play my part to help fix it. And I’m definitely as stubborn as she is about not letting things go.
I can see that, haha! Obviously a lot of the themes are really heavy in this show. Without getting into spoilers, just the situation of having this man, Robin, who has basically been resurrected, it’s calling into question a lot of things about the rights that people have after they die, and what death even really means in a world where people can be kept functionally alive – with their hearts beating, still breathing – way after what would have been possible even just 15 years ago. Has getting into Shelly’s headspace made you think more about those kinds of questions in real life?
No, not really! But I think that’s because I’ve become quite good at compartmentalising it and making sure that a characters headspace remains very different and separate to mine. Me as a person isn’t very good at death or anything like that anyway, I tend to not spend much time thinking about it outside of recording or doing prep and research.
That sounds like a really healthy attitude, to be honest. Is it different when you’re writing stuff, as opposed to just playing a character?
Kind of, because when you’re writing you live in that world for much longer because it all comes from you, whereas when you’re acting its much easier to pack everything into a neat little box. You can close [the box] at the end of a rehearsal or performance or whatever but when you’re writing everything lives in your brain until you’re finished, there’s no way to shut it away.
I certainly find that to be the case. Has it been weird, working on a project that I’ve written?
No, not really but only because we’ve always talked about the stuff you write and we’ve joked about me being in stuff before so whilst I was surprised you asked it wasn’t really completely unexpected.
I’ll fight people if they try to cast anybody else as [a character from a novel I’m currently working on]. Except maybe Indira Varma. I’d allow that.
I would also allow that, how could I not?
What’s been your favourite bit of process of making CWB so far, and has anything been particularly bad or difficult?
I quite liked doing the monologues because it felt like I was doing it kind of Shelly would have been, sat in a room alone with the computer. Nothings been particularly bad or difficult I don’t think? Working with just one person has been an adjustment but not a bad one. The most difficult thing has been when [Gary Major, who plays Dave] wanted to listen back to recordings and I’d much rather not.
Yeah that’s fair, I don’t mind listening to my own voice back but I’ve got pretty used to it at this point. Last of all, if someone asked you if they should listen to Clockwork Bird, what would you tell them?
I’d say absolutely! I think it’s got something for everyone? There’s sci-fi, there’s a touch of crime drama about it. I’d also say that it’s a story about people at its heart and that’s got universal appeal. It’s a story about people dealing with stuff which I don’t think is necessarily outside the realm of possibility.
Also it’s good.