Ryan flexes memory muscle for ‘Treatment’

Difficult to remember dialogue on HBO drama

With little time to prep, Amy Ryan’s biggest challenge on “In Treatment” was trying to learn her lines.

“It’s such a dialogue-heavy show,” notes Ryan of the touted HBO series in which she plays Adele, a psychiatrist treating Gabriel Byrne’s lead character Paul Weston, a psychologist facing a midlife crisis. “I knew an outline of the character arc before we taped the episodes, but I hadn’t seen scripts at that point. Gabriel didn’t want to know anything. He didn’t want to get ahead, so it was just kind of fun to walk into rehearsal. We would rehearse it like a play.”

With little knowledge of her character’s backstory or how Byrne’s other storylines in the show were developing, Ryan was forced to reply on her “gut feeling” throughout much of the filming process.

Ryan calls Byrne “a dream actor to work with.”

“He’s so generous,” she declares. “When he’s telling you a story, he makes you feel as smart as he is as he’s telling it, which is one of the best qualities a person can have.”

For Ryan, one of the most satisfying moments of “In Treatment” this season unfolds in an episode where her character confronts Weston, who’s openly professed his love for her. Though it runs contrary to Weston’s professional understanding of erotic transference, he pursues Adele nonetheless.

“Adele was such a stoic character from the beginning,” explains Ryan. “So when she finally unleashes all that pent-up frustration and expresses the way she feels, Byrne’s character finally starts to listen. And as an actress, it felt really good to get that out.”

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