Monday 25 March 2019

My cultural life: Aisling O'Sullivan

Aisling O'Sullivan
Aisling O'Sullivan
Kate Bush

Aisling O' Sullivan is an award-winning actress. She has worked extensively in theatre, film and television. She will be appearing in Furniture by Sonya Kelly, a world premiere presented by Druid as part of a programme of new Irish writing, from July 12-28, as part of the Galway International Arts Festival.

Film: The Deer Hunter

I first watched The Deer Hunter (right) with my father when I was a teenager. At the time I had the flu and a mild temperature. I think because of that the movie's surrealism and sweep became a kind of fever dream for me. It was my first time watching Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep, and it was unlike anything I had seen before. It is one of the first American films to process the memories of the Vietnam war and its vision, tenderness and quiet optimism left an indelible mark on my mind.

Photographer: Amelia Stein

Amelia Stein is an Irish photographer who has captured some of the most iconoclastic images of theatre shows down through the years although she rarely works in theatre now. I am fascinated by how she works and what she finds beautiful and important. She was commissioned a few years ago to capture an image of Marie Mullen for a production of Tom Murphy's Bailegangaire. It pulses with a haunting mix of vulnerability, resilience and beauty. I am saving up to buy a print of one of her photographs entitled Sheep Wire ll.

Singer: Kate Bush

Kate Bush

I fell in love with Kate Bush (above) when my older brother brought home a copy of her Hounds of Love album. The B-side of the record is called The Ninth Wave, a concept suite consisting of seven songs that tell the story of a woman adrift at sea drowning and waiting to be rescued. I saw her live in concert in Hammersmith in 2014 while on honeymoon. It was a powerful and magical performance built around The Ninth Wave. It was her first concert in 33 years. I am privileged to have seen this great, daring and courageous artist perform live.

Writer: Ernest Hemingway

I bought a copy of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea in a secondhand book shop in Pittsburgh last year. It was the last book he published before he died. I read it that night in my hotel room and felt I was being gifted the cumulative wisdom of one of the world's great writers. I found solace in its meditations on nature, experience and the modesty of the old fisherman. It is a simple story, poetic, universal and hopeful.

TV: The Sopranos


A few years ago I was working on a show in London that required me to access my inner Italian and turned to The Sopranos (above) for inspiration. It is extraordinary - Greek in its themes, modern, intelligent, gripping and entertaining. It was also my first serious bout of binge watching.

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