‘Michelle is one of those people who doesn’t seem to have much luck in life,’ says Hannah Donaldson. ‘As soon as she gets over one obstacle, another one comes along and smacks her in the face.’
It’s fair to say that on that front, Donaldson and her latest character have very little in common. Since graduating from the RSAMD, the 24-year-old has gone from one plum role to the next – the latest of which is playing Michelle in DC Jackson’s new comic drama, The Ducky.
‘It’s amazing – I keep wanting to pinch myself,’ says Donaldson on her acting career thus far. ‘I’m very aware how lucky I’ve been, but long may it continue.’ Donaldson and Michelle may differ on that front, but in some ways, this is the closest she’s come to playing herself. First seen in Jackson’s award-winning play, The Wall, Michelle is one of a group of young friends from the East Ayrshire town of Stewarton. Home from university for the holidays, she’s going through the emotional turmoil all of us experience during our late-teens/early 20s.
Having played the daughter of Oedipus in Antigone, a young child in Molly Whuppy and most recently a pregnant teenager in Baby Baby, Donaldson is finally taking on a character she can identify with. ‘It’s always nice to play something a bit closer to home because you can completely empathise with so many of the issues,’ she says. ‘And that’s what I love about Daniel’s writing, he seems to accurately pinpoint those really important transitional periods in your life.’
Produced by Borderline Theatre, The Wall’s look at teenage dilemmas played to sell-out houses across Scotland. Two years down the line, the five friends have even more to share with us. ‘The characters have all grown up and I think Daniel himself has grown up as a writer,’ says Donaldson. ‘The Wall was a very witty coming of age comedy, but the issues the characters face in The Ducky are a bit more substantial. They’re dealing with really quite poignant things and decisions that could change their lives.’
Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock, Fri 1 & Sat 2 May, then touring