Monday 16 July 2018

My cultural life: Actor Don Wycherley

Don Wycherley
Don Wycherley
Clint Eastwood
Irish author Belinda McKeon.
Handmaid's Tale

Don spent his school days in St Fachtna's in Skibbereen, and speaks Irish fluently. Before becoming an actor, he trained to become a teacher. On screen he is probably best known as Brother Baxter in the film Sing Street, Raymond in Bachelors Walk, Fr Cyril McDuff in Father Ted and Fr Aidan O'Connell in Ballykissangel. His extensive stage credits include several productions with the Abbey Theatre such as Eden and The Shaughraun. He performs Eoin Colfer's one-man play, My Real Life as part of Wexford Festival Opera on October 27-28 and November 3-4 at 8.30pm, Jerome Hynes Theatre, National Opera House. The 66th Wexford Festival Opera runs until November 5.

Film: Unforgiven

Clint Eastwood

Produced, directed and acted by Clint Eastwood (above). One of the great westerns and just one of three to win an Oscar for Best Picture. Clint got Best Director for it and lost out in the acting category to Al Pacino in Scent Of A Woman. I loved it when it came out and still do and myself and my pals regularly quote lines from it like: Gene Hackman, who won Best Supporting actor for Little Bill, saying, 'You just shot an unarmed man' with Clint replying, 'Well he shoulda armed himself if he's gonna decorate his saloon with my friend'. It came out in 1992 and Eastwood has said that it's his last western and I say what a one to go out with.

Band: Steely Dan

I developed an interest in this band over the years because my significant other was always playing them in the kitchen or on holidays, or wherever, and over time I have become a fan. They were a 1970s band that I had overlooked in favour of Jackson Browne and The Eagles, but songs like Do It Again, Rikki Don't Lose That Number and Haitian Divorce have had me foot tapping while peeling potatoes for the Sunday roast for a good while now.

Book: Solace

Irish author Belinda McKeon.

I knew Belinda McKeon (above) as a journalist many moons ago and heard she had a book out a while back. I loved Solace. Perhaps I related to the young man moving up to college from the country, the awkward phone calls home with excuses for not going home this weekend or maybe I related to the Dad on the other end of the line, being one myself now, wishing and wanting things for his son or for himself. Small-town, country life is captured beautifully and had me both laughing and crying at times. Each character tells their own story and, though very tragic, I found it very life-affirming.

Festival: Wexford Opera Festival

My Real Life, performed by yours truly and written by Eoin Colfer, is part of the festival this year. The play is not an opera but the intelligent programming of this successful festival always ensures an eclectic selection of fine productions. A premiere of two one-act operas from Joyce's Dubliners promises to be exciting as does Medea, Margherita and Rigoletto. There's a lecture by Fiona Shaw, a piano recital by Finghin Collins and a celebration of the songs of Thomas Moore to mention but a few highlights.

TV: The Handmaid's Tale

Handmaid's Tale

From the original novel by Margaret Atwood in 1985, the injustices to women are highlighted in a male-led, right wing bigoted religious society and, just as you hope that something like this could never happen in the real world, there is a part of you that knows that it's happening already.

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