We had a chat with Aonghus Og McAnally, director of critically acclaimed ‘The Good Father’ by Christan O’Reilly, which runs at the Civic 5 – 9 December.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where did you grow up?
I’m Portmarnock born and bred, and I get stick from people for never shutting up about how much I love the place. Myself and my wife grew up there, and now our kids go to the same school we did and play GAA for the same club we did. We’ve the beach on our doorstep and all four grandparents within a 5 minute walk – it doesn’t get much better than that.
Tell us about your theatre career?
I’m 21 years in the business this month, so I’ve been around a while. I started when i was just 15, doing movies with Pierce Brosnan and Donal McCann, and plays here in Dublin and in London. I then trained for 3 years in Trinity, and have been working on stage and screen ever since. I’ve done a fair bit at the Abbey, and a lot with my own company Rise Productions.
If you hadn’t been in ‘showbusiness’, what would you have done?
I don’t think there was ever much chance of me doing anything else, I’m a third generation actor so I grew up in the business. Maybe if I wasn’t doing this I’d be more involved in Pro Wrestling. I currently work with Over The Top wrestling as commentator and it’s some of the best fun I have.
Tell us about your theatre company, Rise Productions?
Rise was formed in 2010 with a view to making my own work and telling the stories I was interested in telling. My grandparents and my parents had both run their own theatre companies, so I always just presumed it was something I would do. It’s been massively rewarding, but it’s a lot of work to keep a company like this on the road. I’ve been very fortunate though, the work we’ve made has been very popular with audiences and critics alike, and we’ve been lucky enough to pick up quite a few awards along the way.
Acting or directing, which do you prefer?
I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by how much I’m enjoying directing, because I dint think anything could ever give me the same buzz as acting, but the process of making the work is very similar. Directing requires a broader focus as you have to keep all the balls in the air, whereas with acting you have the luxury of focussing on your own character. I really do love both, and it’s great to be able to have the two careers in parallel, but if I had to choose only one, acting is my first love and it’d be number 1.
What is your favourite play you ever directed?
This’ll look like I’m just trying to sell the show, but honestly it’s The Good Father. I’ve been waiting 15 years to get my hands on this play, and I’m so happy to finally put my stamp on it. It’s a show that means an awful lot to me, and the response to it has been phenomenal. So many sold out shows where we’ve literally had to turn people away, and standing ovations every night, thanks in no small part to the great performances from Rachel O’Byrne and Liam Heslin.
What do you hope audiences will take away from watching The Good Father?
It’s one of those classic great nights at the theatre, where one minute you’ll be howling with laughter, and the next you’ll be in tears, or gasping in shock at a plot twist. It’s just a really satisfying evening out, a great story well told by two brilliant actors.
What is next for you?
First off I’ll be clocking up some Daddy Duty hours with my two girls, being on the road for the last 10 weeks has been tough and I’m really looking forward to hanging out with them again. We’ve
also just announced that we’ll be bringing The Good Father back out on tour in Spring 2018, so I’ll be into pre-production for that, and I’ll be doing my weekly interviews for the Rise Productions: Irish Theatre Podcast – check it out on iTunes!
Tell us a random fact about yourself?
I’m afraid of horses. I was knocked down by a runaway racehorse when I was two, and had to be rushed to hospital in an ambulance. They’re beautiful animals, but I don’t trust them!
Thanks for that Aonghus. We can’t guarantee you won’t encounter any horses here in Tallaght. But there are not many racehorses, so you should be okay!
The Good Father
Tuesday 5th – Saturday 9th December, 8:15pm
Tickets €16/ €14