> Shane McNamara
Since 2001, Shane McNamara has been entertaining Neighbours viewers in the recurring role of camp hairdresser Gino Esposito. Here, he shares with us some thoughts on the role...
A rather large 'how do you do' to all the readers of this splendid site. I was flattered to be asked a few questions about my favourite topic : Shane McNamara, and by association the character Gino Esposito (or real name, Ray Murphy, if you happened to miss that episode.)
Firstly, my acting career prior to joining Neighbours over five years ago. On audition circulars when asked I now simply write '25 years and counting', so I have been 'at it' professionally for quite some time. Of interest though, the theatrical production that marked me moving from my early occupation as a rock and roll singer to full time actor, also featured in a lead role a somewhat younger Alan Fletcher (Dr. Karl). For its novelty value, I also played a character 'Rat in a Hat' in a very successful children's television show Bananas in Pyjamas for twelve years. The show had mixed success in Great Britain a few years ago.
I've now played the role of Gino for five years, spasmodically, and before you ask, yes I do regret I can't make a larger contribution to the show. Gino had originally made an appearance a year before I joined the cast, competing in a hairdressing contest against the character of Lyn Scully. He was only filmed in competition and was played by a much younger extra. When the storyliners looked to flesh out the character a touch, they called on someone older and wiser who had also been trained to speak. Enter moi. Some 16 years after I had first had a meeting with casting agent Jan Russ. What do they say about patience ? The role was originally for only three weeks but fortunately has made many returns. Gino was great fun to play on day one and remains so to this day.
I would never divulge if the character is based on any person in particular, or the inner workings of character traits on which I concentrate when playing Gino. In fact, if you notice the wheels turning, then I'm doing a pretty lousy job. However, with Gino, two words 'instant gratification' are never far from his reason for being. His allegiances can be altered mid-sentence depending on who is either agreeing or opposing him at that paricular moment. Gino is certainly at the centre of his universe but to an audience I've always wanted this to evoke whimsy rather than annoyance. I think I can safely say the writers enjoy writing for the character as I've been blessed with some wonderful lines to deliver over the years.
One regret I have each time I return to set, is that some cast members would have moved on. This leads me to: with whom do I most enjoy working? I can answer this by saying, the cricket team with whom I play in Sydney has a 'no dickhead policy' to selection. Although unwritten, I think Neighbours has a similar policy. How could you not enyoy working with (character names) : Dr Karl; Susan; Lyn; Harold & Lou; Toadie; Max; Steph, I may as well just name everyone. It is one of the strengths of the show.
Will Gino return ? Simply, I don't know. I'm yet to be privy to storyline meetings. Until then the actor Shane McNamara continues to do theatre, the odd television commercial and guest roles on what little television drama is still being made in Australia.
Until I visit Ramsay Street again, thanks for watching and I hope Gino can bring a smile to your face when next he appears.
by Steve. Added on 27th May 2006