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Maria Doyle Kennedy Q&A: ‘Find Your Tribe’

Editor’s Note: We culled your questions from Facebook and Twitter for this week’s Q&A with an Orphan Black crew member. This week, it’s Maria Doyle Kennedy.

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1. Dennis K. via Facebook: It was on your recommendation years ago Maria D over a Guinness in the back of McArthys pub in Dingle after a gig you did with your husband that got me watching Orphan Black. I have loved every episode since. You seemed so passionate about this show and all your colleagues on it. My question is – did you shed a few tears when you realised Siobhans number was up?
Maria Doyle Kennedy: Graeme Manson (one of the show’s creators) called me last summer to talk to me about the character’s journey for the final season. He said they had been searching for an “emotional bomb” to propel the story towards a grand finale and that S’s death was what they had thought of. As soon as I heard it, I thought it was exactly the right thing for the show — probably the biggest loss that the core characters could suffer , and something that would make them dig to their very essence in order to survive.

I was also honored that they (Graeme and John) had such respect for my character and for me as a person, that they felt it was important to make that early call.

2. Joshua T. via Facebook: How did the whole “chicken” thing come about? Was that written in from the start of the series or did it come in naturally from you developing the character? Is it something you say in real life? (For the record, the rest of the extraordinary cast has already spilled the beans about that.)
MDK: It is something that I say in real life!  Like several other things in the show (my singing in Season 3, Kristian [Donnie]’s Highland fling in Season 5) it came from Graeme and John being present when something happens and saying to themselves “Let’s get that in the show.”

3. Brooke P. via Facebook: First off, thank you for Siobhan. She was my favorite character. A badass until the end. (I took her loss really hard and am still trying to process it) When did you find out about her demise? Did you know she was going to meet her end at the beginning of the season or is that something you found out once you got the script? What was your reaction when you read the script for the first time?
MDK: When it came to the read-through for that episode though, I was very nervous. Even though I was aware of what it contained, I was fairly sure I was going to cry. I got through the reading and then was a bit tearful. I was sitting next to Tat who hugged me and told me they loved me, which of course turned the tears to sobs, mortified by my inability to compose my self. I looked up to say, “Sorry about that,” to find the whole room crying. I will never forget it. It was just prior to filming Episode 8 and the first time we all realized that it was really coming to an end.

3. Evelina S. via Facebook: Back in season one your only concern was Kira’s safety, but step by step you’ve forgive Sarah, you’ve accepted her brand new sisters (and brother) and protected them, and now you’ve finally welcomed Delphine, Colin and Adele, how do you feel about this change for Siobhan?
MDK: I think for S., finding and reconciling with her own mother changed everything for her. She saw how much of her own actions and rebellion as a younger woman were a response to the disconnect and loss of relationship with her family. She also knows that she won’t be around forever, and so she desperately wants to create a network of love and support and friendship around Sarah and Kira and Felix, so that they are able to care for each other and able to carry on without her when she is no longer there.

4. Kaitlyn J. via Facebook: What was your favorite line to deliver as S?
P.S. You were completely brilliant as our lovable but tough clone club matriarch. Really going to miss S in these last couple episodes.

MDK: Thank you so much. I’ve been overwhelmed by the #CloneClub love.

I have so many memories of lines, not as they are meant, but of the random things that happened around them…usually that involves me or someone else farting (!) I remember in Season 3 somewhere, Sarah and S were on a Skype call hearing about Rachel’s demands for her safe passage away. A ticket to Taiwan was one of her demands, and I improvised “Taiwan no less,” sounding just like my own mother, and Tat burst out laughing.

5. María F. via Facebook: What was the hardest part of doing this character? Btw love you so much you are incredibly talented and you really made Mrs S one of the most amazing characters on tv!!
MDK: Doing the really badass stuff.. the guns, the pinning folks to tables with carving knives… I had to work really hard at that — I’m not a natural gun-wielder. I would watch it again and again on the monitor to make sure I believed it.

6. Karla V. via Facebook: Please tell us one funny story you have on set!
MDK: There are many, but my most recent one was when Sarah & S are in the hotel bar in Episode 4 of Season 5 pretending to have a fight in order to con Dr. Perkins. We were trying to keep the drink-throwing to a minimum in order to save costume drying time, so when he thought he had the shot, our director David Wellington shouted “CUT!” but so loudly that Tat’s hand flew into the air and completely soaked me. The entire crew cracked up!

7. @plusplusbrochu via Twitter: How was the feeling when you saw #cloneclub’s reaction after Siobhan’s death?
MDK: I was, and still am, totally overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection and comfort from #CloneClub towards me and the rest of the cast, but also towards each other. Truly heartwarming.

8. @lilmistrouble via Twitter: Felix has been inspired by many women but which women inspire you the most?
MDK: Oh so many. My mother; my sister Fiona; a special aunt (Veronica); a formidable group of female friends who have gotten me through everything thus far in my life; Tatiana for her extraordinary dedication to and ability at her craft… Some of the other artists… Patti Smith, Andrea Arnold, Frida Kahlo, Julia Margaret Cameron, and two incredible glass artists I have just gotten to know: Flora C. Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick. I could make this a never-ending list.

9. @HelenBranswell via Twitter: S had a connection to Rachel, or at least a sense of empathy towards her that the rest of the Clone community didn’t seem to feel. Why?
MDK: I think she understood that Rachel was a product of the life she had lived and the (lack of) real love she had been shown. I think S began to believe that if she could really get in there, she could affect some change.

10. @ThereGoesMinky via Twitter: If Mrs. S were to give her #CloneClub chickens one piece of parting advice, what would it be?
MDK: I am so honured to have been part of something that seems to have meant so much to so many. The ideas of identity and family are very big ones for all of us. Find your tribe. Kick negative ideas and a–holes to the curb. Live with honor and as little judgment of others as you can manage. I hope that although the show is ending, some sense of community and support will continue for each other among #CloneClub. You are a mighty force. X Maria

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