The new face of Morgana

MEGAN PILBROW
Last updated 05:00 02/06/2014
Neighbours
MOVING TO RAMSAY STREET: Morgana O’Reilly joins Neighbours cast.

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Neighbours newcomer Morgana O'Reilly could be forgiven for not knowing who she is. Over the years she has played everything from fast food managers to would-be thieves.

And if that wasn't enough, some days she has had to keep track of 20 characters at once.

"I was performing two different shows at night as well as Bare (a 'two man' play by Toa Fraser)," she recalls.

"At one point there were like 20 characters in my head. It was crazy, it was so cool.

"I remember one day leaving my house and stopping and making a really strong point to go back and get my iPod because I couldn't forget who I was. I need my music.

"I need to remember who Morgana is. I was getting buried under all these characters."

Life should be simpler now with her new role as Naomi Canning, the estranged daughter of Neighbours' Sheila Canning.

O'Reilly says the new Ramsay Street resident will ruffle feathers.

"I sit there and read the script in advance and just chuckle away 'cos I think, 'Oh my god Naomi, what are you doing?' I don't know what the viewers will think of her.

"She's not a bad person, she's got a good heart. But I think she can justify her behaviour to the end of the world and back.

"So when she wants something she goes after it, and the means which she employs in order to get what she wants, any onlooker would go, 'Naomi what are you doing? That is ridiculous, it's only going to lead to this' and then, of course, it does. And then she has to do something else crazy to get out of it."

Working on a daily show is new for O'Reilly and she describes the fast filming as a "mixed bag".

"It can be hugely rewarding because if you can nail a scene in one go there's something exciting about that. On the other hand, because it's so fast, you are inevitably going to feel disappointed by your own work at times."

Naomi Canning will be more of a starring role than O'Reilly has played before in a television series, but even for her more minor roles, she has managed to be recognised.

"I actually got recognised for being on Nothing Trivial in Australia. People really dig it over here obviously. I was on a bus and this guy was like, 'Are you an actress?' and I was like, 'Yes' and he was like 'You're from Nothing Trivial'.

"I thought 'Wow, that has made me look really cool in front of a bus load of people'."

Although well established in theatre, at nearly 30 Morgana says she is a relative late-comer to the on-screen side of performing arts and already she is feeling her years.

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"Men have it so lucky. They get to peak in their career around 40," she says.

"I'm already feeling the pressure of getting old, and especially if I want to break into another industry - oh my god it's ridiculous.

"If you're Claire Danes and you're already in there you're going to get awesome roles.

"But when you're trying to start out it's pretty difficult. For women it's a sprint, for men it's a marathon."

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