It all started with a pretty face (doesn’t it always), back in 1978. I was studying at the College of Marketing & Design in Dublin city centre and had been shamed by a wonderful lecturer into participating in a public speaking competition.
The night went surprisingly well and I was the joint winner that night. The next morning as I entered the college I was approached by a girl with the pretty face, who informed me that she had seen me speak the previous night. She said really nice things about my speech and I fell in love. Then she informed me that she was directing a play for the College drama Society and that I would be just perfect for the role of a Transvestite Satan.
Now Aine wasn’t merely a pretty face, she was stunning and had this charismatic earnest energy with a sharp challenging mind and quirky personality. The word ‘No’ no longer existed in my vocabulary.
Three weeks later I made my stage debut at a student drama festival, in the worst play ever written with a cast stoned out of their happy brains. We ended up having to pull the curtains 5 minutes before the end, as I was the only one not wriggling around in uncontrollable laughter on stage.
Despite all that, I was smitten by the acting bug and became an active member of the drama society for my remaining years in College. Aine moved on from College shortly after that ill fated play, but I’m happy to say that I did catch up with her a few years later…
After leaving College with a Marketing degree, I concentrated on my work and abandoned all notions of an acting career. However it wasn’t long before a friend contacted me about open auditions for a forthcoming musical film that was to be shot in Dublin. I pounced on the opportunity and along with hundreds of others, queued up for hours for my chance to impress. The good new – I landed two roles. The bad news – it was for theatre not film. More good news – after Dublin, the producers were hoping to move the show to the West end in London. More bad news – the show was a disaster.
However out of that mess, the director and a few of the more serious actors and myself formed a new drama society. It was very ‘amateur’ in the beginning, but the quality improved over the years and the group itself changed in many different directions, finally settling down as a profit sharing entity. Some of my closest friends to this day came from that group, it was an enormous part of my life