Friday 6 December 2019

A question of culture: Irish actor Des Keogh

Every week we grill someone on their cultural delights and blindspots.

Des Keogh
Des Keogh

Declan Cashin

Favourite playwright?

John B. Keane. I feel greatly indebted to him for allowing me to adapt his Letters Of A Love-Hungry Farmer as a one-man stage show for myself. I remember when I sought his permission I had a lovely reply saying, "You have my total blessing!" My one regret is that he did not live to see me perform the show, which I have toured worldwide for the past 10 years.

Favourite actor/actress?

Clint Eastwood can do no wrong. I don't think I have seen an Eastwood movie that I did not love. My favourites have probably been the Dirty Harry movies and the great Westerns. He is a magnetic presence on screen and, without seeming to act the roles, he is entirely believable as every character he portrays.

Least favourite actor?

Meryl Streep – I'm afraid I don't share the universal adulation! My problem with Streep is that she seems to be acting all the time. No matter what role she plays, I can see the technique coming through, which makes it very hard for me to believe in the character. Two of her films that would be on my don't like list would be The Iron Lady (Maggie Thatcher might have had something to do with that!) and Dancing At Lughnasa (though I love the play). I am sorry I feel this way about Meryl as I believe she thinks very highly of me!

Last book you read and loved?

The Missing Postman by Fachtna O'Drisceoil, a fascinating account of the death and the mysterious disappearance of the postman Larry Griffin in Co Waterford in 1929. His body was never found.

Favourite band?

U2 – the only rock band I have seen live. My wife and I were undoubtedly the oldest people at the gig in Croke Park.

Favourite city?

After Dublin it would be New York, where I have had some good times over the years. I have a special relationship with the Irish Repertory Theatre, a wonderful company run by Charlotte Moore and Cavan man Ciaran O'Reilly.

Cultural blindspot?

TV talent competitions. The judges are my problem, not the competitors. It offends me to see so-called "celebrities" pontificating and passing judgment on performers who are in many cases more talented. than them. I won't mention any names because then I would – God forbid! – be passing judgment myself.


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