Drawing: Ciaran Hinds and Shirley Henderson in Girl From The North Country

Autographed drawing of Ciaran Hinds and Shirley Henderson in Girl From The North Country at the Noel Coward Theatre on London's West End

On the stage door wall of the Noel Coward Theatre in the heart of the West End is a wonderful poster for GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY featuring the two leads, Ciaran Hinds and Shirley Henderson. I got out my pad and sketched it… and they signed it for me.

I was really pleased to see both were nominated for Olivier Awards for their ‘mesmerising’ performances, which will be announced early next month. After a sold-out run at the Old Vic, Connor McPherson’s production, featuring the music of Bob Dylan is set in the Depression era, in a guesthouse in Bob’s hometown, Duluth, Minnesota, run by the gruff owner Nick Laine (Ciaran) and his wife Elizabeth (Shirley) who suffers from dementia. They anchor a large ensemble cast.

Drawing: Ciaran Hinds and Sinead Cusack in Juno and Paycock at The National Theatre

Juno and the Paycock

Sean O’Casey’s gutting tragicomedy Juno and The Paycock is one of the most highly regarded and often performed plays in Ireland. First staged in Dublin at the Abbey Theatre in 1924 and set in that city during the Irish Civil War in the early 1920s, it is the second of the ‘Dublin Trilogy’ between The Shadow of a Gunman (1923) and The Plough and the Stars (1926).

London’s National Theatre in association with the Abbey Theatre staged the revival on the Lyttelton Stage in late 2011 with Ciarán Hinds and Sinéad Cusack in the lead roles as Captain Jack Boyle and Juno Boyle respectively.

“Searing, sobering, devastating and beautiful,” said the Sunday Independent. Both Ciarán and Sinéad signed my sketch in February 2012 at the Theatre and for a brief moment my stage door name became Martin…

Drawing: The Night Alive starring Ciaran Hinds, Brian Gleeson, Caoilfhionn Dunne, Michael McElhatton and Jim Norton

The Night Alive

THE NIGHT ALIVE is Dublin playwright Conor McPherson’s latest play. After a short run at the Donmar Warehouse in London, (June/July 2013) it transferred to the Linda Gross Theatre in New York, where it is currently playing with the season extended till February.

It revolves around a motley collection of losers, living hand-to-mouth in a trapped existence. Despite its particular Irish setting and vernacular, the play has a universality, common in most of Conor’s work, concerning the loss and redemption among inarticulate people who don’t have the emotional grammar to express themselves.

An excellent cast of 5: Ciaran Hinds, Brian Gleeson, Caoilfhionn Dunne, Michael McElhatton and Jim Norton all came out at the same time of the Donmar on a balmy (and blarney) July evening. Inevitably, I was going to miss one or two as they all quickly headed to the local to quench their thirsts on such a warm night. Hopefully some of the others gathered to garner a graph would delay them long enough for me to sift around all five. I missed one – Brian, mainly because I didn’t recognise him. But I did get him the following evening.

Michael signed for me the previous night, but he didn’t dedicate,so after I recognised and got Brian I asked Michael to sign ‘To Mark’ – he started to sign his name again,then realised it was already there,hence the ‘Michael M’ added to his script on the lower right – five and a half sigs over two nights – not bad!

Drawing: Ciarán Hinds in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway

Ciaran Hinds

 

Irishman Ciaran Hinds has developed an impressive film, television and stage career as a versatile character actor. In January 2013 he played the role of ‘Big Daddy’ in Tennessee William’s 1955 family drama CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF alongside Scarlett Johansson at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. He signed my sketch while featuring in Conor McPherson’s THE NIGHT ALIVE at London’s Donmar Warehouse in July 2013.