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Tuesday 23 September 2014

He survived Nidge – but Love/Hate's Fran is terrified of the Abbey stage

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

Published 16/01/2013 | 05:00

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Peter Coonan at the Abbey for the Dublin Youth Theatre

HE plays 'Fran the Man' in 'Love/Hate and has so far survived 'Nidge's' rage.

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But actor Peter Coonan says nothing in the RTE crime drama scared him as much as walking out on stage at the Abbey Theatre last weekend to perform lines he had been given just hours earlier.

"I didn't know when I accepted the role I would be onstage at the Abbey. It wasn't until I was standing in the wings waiting to go on last Sunday it really hit me," Peter Coonan told the Irish Independent.

Unrecognisable from his TV gangster persona, the 28-year-old was playing middle-class father Harry in Michael West's short play 'Going Going', which concerns siblings bickering as they decide who will care for a father suffering from dementia.

The production was one of six mini-plays staged in the Abbey on Sunday night as part of Dublin Youth Theatre's '24 Hour Plays' in which 24 actors collaborated with six directors and six playwrights, to create and stage six entirely new works within 24 hours.

Other 'Love/Hate' cast members onstage that same night just hours after they had been given their lines included Aoibhinn McGinnity and Laurence Kinlan, playing call centre workers in playwright Paul Mercier's 'Call Centre', and Caoilfhionn Dunne in Arthur Riordan's 'Smiley Face Lol', about four characters trying to escape from the text of a play.

Producer Peter McMahon described the mechanics of staging the night of impromptu theatre as a "huge operation", and praised the playwrights, actors and directors for giving up their time for a good cause.

Among other well-known faces were Keith Duffy, who appeared in Gina Moxley's play 'Pants', about an Irishman who travels to Goa to find himself. 'Father Ted' star Pauline McLynn – in Fiona Looney's comedy 'It's The End Of The World As We Know It And I Feel Hungry' – played one of three women who decide to eat their way through a supermarket when faced with Armageddon.

Coonan said raising funds for Dublin Youth Theatre – which had given friends including 'Love/ Hate' cast member Aiden Gillen their first break into acting – had made it worthwhile.

Irish Independent

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