A Question of Culture with Michelle de Forge, Dunamaise Arts Centre
The director of the Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise outlines her favourite books, writers and displays a bit of hometown favouritism for actor Robert Sheehan.
I thought Mikel Murfi's The Man in the Woman's Shoes was beautifully observed and captured the voices of characters we all know in our communities across Ireland. The Dunamaise audience included many who had seen it before and more who would go again, including myself on both counts!
Robert Sheehan: hilarious in Misfits and heartbreaking in Love/Hate.
Best stage show?
This changes over time but I LOVED Fishamble's Tiny Plays for Ireland. I loved the concept, the strength and variety of writing, it was wonderfully performed and produced. Belly laughter and profound grief experienced within one production.
The Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor. Still tense and gripping, despite re-reading.
Last book you read and loved?
The Last Days of Anna Madrigal - the last in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series. It brought warm nostalgia for a college summer with best friends in San Francisco. I'm mad that I missed his visit to Ireland last year. I love to hear authors read from their work.
Book you could never make it through?
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan. I was so disappointed to dislike those characters and that story so intensely when I loved Atonement.
The Princess Bride - childish but true! I get a kick out of knowing every line and chiming in with a horrible fake Spanish accent every time Inigo Montoya says 'CCCHello…!'
Each year one Electric Picnic gig replaces the previous favourite! Nick Cave, Arcade Fire and Pulp still stand out though.
Josh Ritter played at Dunamaise last year on his tour of small Irish venues, and just reminded me how magical it is to see talented musicians perform live and up close. When they love performing, with the audience in the palm of their hand, it's a perfect gig.
Reality TV… just, why? Go see real talent live on stage instead!
For details of what's on at Dunamaise Arts Centre, see www.dunamaise.ie