Maeve Fitzgerald is an award-winning actress who has made her name playing Shakespeare’s heroines, from Portia, Desdemona, Cordelia to Ophelia. She is also known for her film roles in Withdrawal (2011), Rásaí na Gaillimhe (2009) and An Crisis (2010). She is starring with Clare Monnelly and Joan Sheehy in Tom Murphy’s play Bailegangaire at the Civic this September.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Kilbarrack in the heart of the Northside of Dublin and am very proud of it. I remember The Snapper and The Van being filmed around the corner when I was a kid.
Tell me how acting started for you?
I saw the Irish movie The Treaty when I was 12, it was the first time I’d seen an actual film with Irish actors it has an amazing cast; Brendan Gleeson plays Michael Collins and Barry McGovern plays Dev. I literally thought; Irish people acting. I’m Irish. I want to act! It was that simple.
When did you know it was what you wanted to do?
In transition year I did work experience in the Gaiety and Gate theatres. I would mitch off school just to go in and sort through old programmes, address envelopes, even just to sit in the auditorium. I was obsessed. I knew that’s where I wanted to be.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an actor?
I’d love to be an Egyptologist. A bit of a departure from acting but ancient Egypt has always fascinated me. I have a tattoo of the Eye of Horus. It was supposed to bring me inner wisdom. It didn’t.
Have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage?
I accidentally went on stage for a very important scene in Dancing At Lughnasa with an enormous piece of cotton wool stuck to my head. I couldn’t understand why my castmates found me so funny that evening.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My grandmother, she just keeps going and never fails to make me laugh.
In a couple of words, describe the rehearsal process for Bailegangaire?
It has been a beautifully collaborative process with really sound people.
What do you hope audiences will take away from watching this play?
I hope audiences take away what a majestic writer Tom Murphy is. If we succeed in that, we’ve done our job.
And finally, what was the last TV show you binge-watched? How many episodes did you see in a sitting?
Parks And Rec, 10 episodes. I was home sick, that’s my excuse!
BAILEGANGAIRE, Wed 14th – Thurs 15th September, 8pm, Civic Theatre Tallaght.
Starring Joan Sheehy, Clare Monnelly and Maeve Fitzgerald