Way back in the mid 1980s a touring production of Philadelphia Here I Come! came to play in my school hall. I remember it was a big occasion as we never had professional companies come to us, and so the whole school was allowed to see it. It was my introduction to Friel and I have never forgotten it. I was 14 or so and I remember struggling to grasp what was going on with the Gar public and private personas at first, but when it clicked it was like a firework going off in my brain. It left me with the feeling that theatre was magical; if you can personify and articulate two sides of a person’s character, you could do pretty much anything.
When later on I had a wonderful English teacher (one Mary Morgan) who liked to take her classes on field trips to theatres in Limerick and Dublin, my fate was sealed. So Mr Friel, yourself and Miss Morgan led me to my career in theatre.