Glynis McNicoll's other roles: Housewife and mother of three
From the NZ Listener, March 27, 1972
For Glynis McNicoll, Probation officer Elizabeth Reynolds in Section 7 acting is something which has to be fitted in with her other profession, that of housewife and mother of three
Her home life is very definitely at the top of priorities and because of this she has done very little stage work and her television appearances, apart from Section Seven, have been fairly infrequent
On the other hand radio interferes with family life hardly alk, she says
You can go in the morning and be home in the afternoon and by the end of the week you've completed a play and had a very enjoyable time doing it.
Working on Section Seven Glynis found that at times she had to be at the studio at seven in the morning or working until ten at night so that she had to find someone to look after he children.
And also the outside filming meant cutting into weekends, she adds.
So my husband is pretty good really putting up with me me the way that he does
In spite of this she enjoyed working on Section Seven enormously and, given the time and opportunity would like to do more.
At the moment I'm very happy in radio, she says
but I like the intimacy of both.
Since she and her husband Donald came to New Zealand l5 Years 380 she has acted in well over l00 radio plays and she finds Working in the two media quite different.
ln television One thing that worries everybody is this ' business of exaggerated facial expressions. Ewen Solon instilled in us that there should be a quality of stillness, but then again if this is overdone one becomes inhibited so there is a balance you have to strike.
In radio work there is only your voice and you have to convey everything you're thinking, even when your lines actually belie this -- it is a very different kind of challenge. We have a great deal of fun in the studios up here with North Country plays. l enjoy doing classical parts very much, and some plays by newer writers like Tom Stoppard.
When she learned she was to be in Section Seven Glynis confesses that, like a lot of people, she didn't know a lot about the Probation Service, but she familiarised herself with the department by going along to the Auckland office.
I didn't know, for instance, whether they had a uniform or not, whether they were attached to the police or the Welfare Department, or exactly how far their duties extended. But they were very helpful and I was allowed to sit around in the office and accompany a senior Probation officer to court. I spent quite a bit of time watching probationers actually in the courtroom and learned a tremendous amount.
Glynis found that Section Seven was somewhat frustrating particularly the restrictions of the scenes In the actual probation office.
Scene after scene had one desk, one chair and one window, she explains.
Often the dialogue was simple straight questions and in a situation like this it is very difficult to get variety and make every scene interesting. It can be very frustrating. It wouldn't be so bad in a serial but in a series it can be difficult.
Like most of the people associated with the production. Glynis feels that the standard picks up as the series goes on.
Everybody became more and more relaxed and I think learned to cope better with the restrictions of television so it gill more efficient that way. .
Originally Glynis was not going to be an actress at all. She attended a drama school in the north of England and was going to become a drama teacher because her parents didn't approve of her going on on the stage --
they thought it was a bit immoral.
When she arrived in New Zealand she thought of acting in some sort of company but at that time there was only the New Zealand Players and this would have meant touring. The only other opening was in radio which she did along with a good deal of. modelling.
This was helpful to me later on. says Glynis,
because when I first did television work it wasn't as frightening an experience as it might have been. Really it is not that different from modelling - you are in the same sort of environment, facing a camera and so on, although of course the actual demands made on you are quite different.
I personally never think that there are thousands of people out there watching when I do television. I always imagine a small audience.
The first time she worked before the cameras was doing a commercial but this was followed by appearances in several television panel games and appearances in plays like Warren Dibbles Double Exposure.
She is not certain about the qualities one needs to become a good actor or actress but she says that for her it is very important to be able to relate to other people.
I think you have to be able actually to experience what they are experiencing without intellecttualising. It's more than just being interested. You have to look for the motivation behind what people say and do - to look a little deeper than the surface.
A lot of the enjoyment I personally get out of acting, she says,
is the comradeship which you find in a group who are working together. It's been said that the quickest way to get to know somebody is either to act with them or marry them, and I think there's something in this.
Although she doesn't get a lot of time outside of her family and acting, she enjoys riding whenever she gets the chance. Her two sons Stuart, aged 11, and d'Arcy, 8. both have ponies and Glynis owns at hack. The family also own a boat and she says that Donald takes the boys out fishing regularly although their two-year-old daughter Kate is a little young yet and she usually stays home with her.
She doesn't watch a great deal of television, but says she enjoyed the Henry VIII series and the Somerset Maugham stories as well as documentaries and current affairs programmes.
As an actress, are there any particular roles she would like to play?
I am a peculiar sort of person really. I never audition for parts - things tend to happen to me. And I think possibly I'm a little bit lazy.