Monday 18 February 2019

My cultural life: Druid artistic director Garry Hynes

Garry Hynes
Garry Hynes
The Waiting for Godot tree
Black and Tan Smoking
Ryan O'Neill in Barry Lyndon

Garry Hynes is artistic director of Druid, which she co-founded in 1975 with Marie Mullen and the late Mick Lally. She is currently directing The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh, 20 years after staging the first production of it, for which she won a Tony Award for Directing. The production will tour to The Everyman in Cork, Lime Tree Theatre in Limerick, and Gaiety Theatre in Dublin before going on an international tour.

Theatre: Hamilton: An American Musical

I was lucky enough to get to see Hamilton: An American Musical (a hip-hop musical about the life of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and the American revolution) early enough in its run last year. I remember I sat in a packed house with everybody there just feeling lucky to have gotten tickets, when I asked myself: can anything live up to this kind of hype? Three hours later I had my answer - it can and it does.

Art: Tan by Mick O'Dea

Black and Tan Smoking

Tan by Mick O'Dea (portrait and landscape artist from Ennis), was the most wonderful birthday present, from my wife Martha. A year later, I was thrilled to sit for Mick as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival where we staged DruidShakespeare in the Castle Yard. The Festival had organised portraits of various people involved and it was a great honour to sit for him.

Design: Designer Francis O'Connor

The Waiting for Godot tree

The tree in our recent production Waiting for Godot was designed by Francis O'Connor. It was made from nails which are used in the making of Galway Hookers. They were oxidised by rain water to give that wonderful rusty look, then bent and welded into shape. It was a real talking point. The run was supposed to end in July in Galway but it looks like it is going to go on and on, which is unfortunate for me as I have been waging an internal campaign in Druid to bags the tree for my back garden in Dublin and I'm not giving up!

Movie: Barry Lyndon

Ryan O'Neill in Barry Lyndon

I was overwhelmed by the craft of it. Perhaps it was the age at which I watched it. It was 1975, the year Druid was founded, and I was beginning to realise that I was going to make my living from theatre. There was something about the epic nature of this story that had an impact on me, something which has become more apparent to me since. I can still see hundreds of frames of it in my mind's eye - I can play the whole film in my head without even watching it.

Album: Astral Weeks

Like just about everyone else in my generation, Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. The album gave me a growing love and knowledge of jazz, for which I have to thank Van Morrison but most of all, I thank him for being there all my life. I have the new album, Keep Me Singing, on pre-order!

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