Ciara O’Callaghan: On My Culture Radar
Actor on the many faces of Cate Blanchett, Cork artist Sarah Walker, and why Line of Duty is compelling viewing
Ciara O’Callaghan: ‘I love all Cate Blanchett’s work. I’d love to see her on stage, I’d say that’s something else.’
Current favourite book
At Christmas, I was given a book about called Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, and it’s nice to drift back to. As the title suggests, the book is about how to achieve a happy life, with positive affirmations and things like that. But it’s different to The Secret in that it’s much more practical, with breathing and meditation exercises. You can dip in and out of it and read a passage at a time. I find it very calming, especially when I’m doing something intense like a play – it’s nice to switch to it and re-prioritise so I’m not always rushing. I don’t know if I would have bought it, but I’m glad I have it. I’d recommend it to anyone.
Nowadays, there are so many new restaurants popping up in Dublin but the Trocadero in Dublin is still my favourite. It’s rare that you can go to a restaurant with that old-school, family feeling to it. I know it’s very associated with the business but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re in it or not, there’s a lovely atmosphere and you’re made to feel so welcome. I love the pâté to start and cannelloni as a main course – I’ve simple pleasures.
Sharon Horgan is brilliant, and not only because she’s flying the flag. Catastrophe’s finish was perfect, they knew when to end it. Her work is so relatable, she says things we’d all love to say but we don’t have the balls to say it. It’s so female-driven as well – she’s in touch with the female psyche and its different aspects, from the tricky situations in Catastrophe, and although I’m not a mother, I can see the realism of Motherland. I’m looking forward to the next series of it. I also appreciate that in her work, there’s a voice for the older woman – she often depicts women who’ve been through life coming out the other side, or not even coming through sometimes. As a woman in my 40s, I feel we’ve a lot to say.
There’s a play that I came across called Swallow by Stef Smith, which was on in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2015. Afterwards, myself and [Sure Look It, Fuck It actor and writer] Clare Dunne were asked to read it in the Theatre Upstairs in Dublin. It’s about three women; one character has locked herself away in her room for weeks, and her neighbour suspects there’s something up. So she knocks on her door and throughout the play, she speaks to her through the door. It’s about the twists and turns in their lives, and what’s led them to the place they’re in now. They’re in psychological trouble, there’s abuse there, and it weaves in and out of dark situations. It’s a strong play.
I love the artist Sarah Walker, whose gallery is in the Beara Peninsula, west Cork. I came across her work while I was visiting, and fell in love with the work of the surrounding areas, whether it’s the different flowers or people. I treated myself to a painting of hers called Norah (who I later found out was her goddaughter) running across the strand. Her style is contemporary – she creates these huge blasts of colour in her work.
I love all Cate Blanchett’s work. I’d love to see her on stage, I’d say that’s something else. On screen, I could watch her all day, every moment of hers is so truthful. She’s like a chameleon with the roles she picks too. You see her in fantasies like The Lord of the Rings, serious dramas like Veronica Guerin, and voiceovers like How to Train Your Dragon.
I’m watching the fifth and current series of Line of Duty, with Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston, who are detectives investigating corrupt police. It’s brilliantly written, so well shot and produced, and the pace is amazing – it’s edge of the seat stuff.
Ciara O’Callaghan appears in Spotless by Gary Duggan, on tour until May 8th. See riseproductions.ie for full details.