Hollywood actor and fiddle player Brendan Gleeson has just completed his whistle-stop traditional music tour of Ireland. And to mark the end of the music-filled month, Gleeson will be heading to the Gaiety Theatre to watch his former music teacher's grandson Jarlath Tivnan perform in Martin McDonagh's 'A Skull in Connemara'.
"My grandmother Kathleen Dwyer Morris taught Brendan a good few tunes when he was an aspiring fiddle player," Tivnan told the Irish Independent.
"We all live down in Boyle. Whenever Brendan comes down he joins in on sessions. He is the loveliest guy – very down-to-earth. My grandmother taught him a tune called 'The Blackbird' and he tends to play that a lot."
Gleeson hit the road at the beginning of January with Dirk Powell, uillean piper Michael McGoldrick and guitarist Francis Gaffney.
Gleeson has a close working relationship with Martin McDonagh's brother, John Michael, who directed him in 'The Guard' and 'Calvary'.
Tivnan plays Mairtin Hanlan in Martin McDonagh's award-winning comedy which centres around gravedigger Mick O'Dowd who has to make room for new bodies in the local graveyard by exhuming remains that are seven years old.
Set in 1993, Tivnan dons an old white Manchester United away jersey during the course of the play. "It's set the year Roy Keane joined Manchester United. McDonagh says in the stage directions that I have to wear the strip," Tivnan explained.
The white jersey is also important because it shows up blood rather well. The play has several particularly gory scenes, and Tivnan is often doused in fake blood. "I don't mind it; it's very sticky though, there's corn syrup in it to keep it looking slippy and slimy. It comes off fairly easy in the shower but it looks like that scene from 'Psycho' when I'm done."
Decadent Theatre Company's production of 'A Skull in Connemara' opened at Dublin's Gaiety Theatre last night at part of its 11-week tour around the country.