Living legends with lots of respect for 'The Dead'
THE SOCIAL NETWORK:Between the living and the dead, there were high spirits at the Abbey theatre on Tuesday evening for the opening of Frank McGuinness’s dramatisation of James Joyce’s short story The Dead.
Attempts to photograph McGuinness failed: the playwright said no, but actors Karen Ardiff and Ali White were happy to pose.
Neil Jordan was at the bar with his wife, Brenda, and James Hickey, having recently returned from filming The Borgias in Hungary with Jeremy Irons. He said he would probably go away again for Christmas but he wasn’t sure where yet.
Director Patrick Mason, who will be directing a George Bernard Shaw play at the Gate theatre next year, was there with his partner Sean McCarthy and "international traveller" Marguerite MacCurtain
Sean Kissane, the curator of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the current Alice Maher exhibition at Earlsfort Terrace, said would-be collectors squeezed by the Budget could purchase a silk scarf by Maher and frame it, something Rowena Neville of Business to Arts will be doing.
Veterans of the Abbey stage, Bernadette McKenna and Máire Ní Ghráinne, attended and McKenna almost said the dreaded word: it is a superstition that the word Macbeth not be said in a theatre. But since we were in the bar, it was probably fine. She plays Mags in the RTÉ drama Love/Hate and said there was talk that night of a fourth series.
The singer Paul Brady attended with his daughter-in-law, Danielle McCallum from New Zealand. Brady has a Christmas song out at the moment called Working at Christmas, which is dedicated to the people who will be on duty in hospitals and emergency services while the rest of us overeat and sleep on the couch.
The play’s director Joe Dowling flew back to his home in Minneapolis the following day, but another group who will be working most of the Christmas period is the cast of The Dead.
Making her Abbey debut, Clare O’Malley remembered her own ghost of Christmas past – playing a shepherd in a nativity play with a towel on her head. Well, you have to start somewhere.
Who we spotted
Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn; Dublin Theatre Festival director Willie White; actor Kate Stanley Brennan; Moya Doherty and John McColgan; Prof Declan Kiberd; Joe Duffy; journalist David Davin-Power and his wife, the pianist Dearbhla Collins.