The Emmy- and Tony-winning actress Tyne Daly doesn’t enjoy acting. When her younger brother, Tim Daly, was a kid, he thought actors were just “drunken grownups who wouldn’t feed me.” And the Off Broadway play Tyne and Tim are both starring in, “Downstairs,” has recently taken on some surprising echoes of life in the Trump era.
Those are just a few of the tidbits dropped by the Daly siblings in the latest episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety‘s theater podcast. Theresa Rebeck’s play “Downstairs” marks the first time that the duo, both familiar faces from years of consistent TV work, have acted opposite each other in any significant capacity. The pair made time to appear in the stage production while juggling busy smallscreen schedules for their gigs on the “Murphy Brown” reboot (for Tyne) and “Madame Secretary” (for Tim).
Tyne (“Cagney and Lacey”) is one of the most regularly employed actresses out there, with her current stage and TV gigs accompanied by roles in recently released films “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and “A Bread Factory.” But for her, it’s not fun: “I don’t enjoy acting,” she said. “I’m sorry. I’m too old to lie about it anymore. … I experience it as work. The longer I do it, and the more I know about it and the more I’ve done it, the worse I get at it, so the harder it is to get to some kind of standard of accomplishment.”
Tyne and Tim (“Wings”), two of four Daly children, grew up in a family of actors; their father was James Daly (“Medical Center,” “Planet of the Apes”). “I just thought that the actors who were walking around my house all the time were just drunken grownups who wouldn’t feed me,” Tim cracked on the podcast. But both Dalys were raised to treat acting — and particularly acting onstage — with the highest reverence and respect.
They’ve returned to the theater for “Downstairs,” which Rebeck wrote specifically for the duo. Tim said the play has taken on new political resonance since it was first performed a year and a half ago. “One of the themes in the play is identifying and living with and dealing with demons,” he said. “And for a lot of us in American society right now, we feel like we’re living with a demon — I won’t name any names! [But] having lived with a demon for a couple of years, we understand it better and we feel the stress and the fear and the terror of that more.”
New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on iTunes, Stitcher, or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.