Monday 23 October 2017

Late actor Mick Lally remembered on Druid Theatre's 40th anniversary: 'He was a scholar and a man on the cusp of two lives'

Mick Lally.
Mick Lally.
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Two founders of Ireland’s eminent Druid Theatre have paid tribute to the late actor Mick Lally on the theatre’s fortieth anniversary.

Druid artistic director Garry Hynes, and actress and co-founder Marie Mullen, have described the late Glenroe actor as a “scholar” who was “on the cusp of two lives”.

Mick Lally, who died on August 31, 2010, founded the Druid Theatre in Galway in 1975 with Mullen and Hynes. This year the theatre celebrates its fortieth anniversary, and Mullen and Hynes paid tribute to Mick Lally today on RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke.

“He was a scholar. He loved Irish literature. Everything to do with his passion for theatre was amazing. He took us under his wing at the start,” Mullen said.

“He was a few years older than us and that made a difference at the time,” said Hynes. “He was probably like Marie and myself, but more extreme.”

“He was a man who was caught on the cusp of two lives... he was from a farming, rural family and he was someone with a great sense of the lore and the history of the place.”

But she added he was also part of “rapidly growing Irish life” which “gave him a very special edge to his life”.

Mullen and Hynes worked with Lally on John Millington Synge’s Playboy of the Western World in 1975, and they founded the renowned theatre.

“We asked Mick if he’d do the Playboy. He said he was going to England to work on the Saturday but on the Friday, we met him and he said he’d do it,” Mullen explained.

Hynes said: “Shortly after he started to become famous, probably with the Riordans, I remember meeting him in Bewley’s cafe, he suddenly put on this beret and put on sunglasses. I said ‘what are you at, wearing that?’ and he says ‘It’s trying to stop them recognising me or I’d never get home’.”

The auditorium at the Druid Theatre in Galway is named after Lally. It was officially named The Mick Lally Theatre in 2013.

Druid Shakespeare, a new project where Shakespearean plays have been adapted by Mark O’Rowe and directed by Garry Hynes, will open in The Mick Lally Theatre.

“I hope he’d be thrilled up there that this is the first of our projects that we’re actually going to originate in Druid Lane... we wanted to go home to Druid Lane,” Hynes said.

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