A question of taste: Rory Nolan

Rory Nolan is from Co Wicklow. He plays Ross O’Carroll Kelly in the stage show Postcards from the Ledge, with upcoming dates including Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, Feb 5-9; UCH, Limerick, Feb 12-16; and Cork Opera House, Feb 19-23, writes Des O'Driscoll.

Postcards from the Ledge, starring Rory Nolan, written by Paul Howard and directed by Jimmy Fay. Picture: Patrick Redmond.

Best recent book you’ve read:

I reread The Dalkey Archive by Flann O’Brien recently. It started as research for a project I was involved in at the Abbey Theatre, but it wasn’t research at all.

He’s a riot, an excellent writer and I laughed out loud so much.

Other than that it’s playscripts all day long which is why I seem to seek out non-fiction more and more these days. I really enjoyed Sapiens and Homo Deus by Noah Yuval Harari. Insightful and scary.

And a real page-turner for a non-fiction.

Best recent film:

I don’t get to the cinema these days what with working nights and family, so we’re Netflix and Now TV bingers in our house. But I went to see Blade Runner 2049 last year when it came out and I loved it.

Best recent show or gig you’ve seen:

Dublin Old-school at Project Theatre before Christmas was really special. Emmet Kirwan has a really interesting, important voice in the Arts and society now and Ian Lloyd Anderson was excellent in it. I haven’t seen the film yet as I wanted to see the show first. It was fantastic. An explosion of talent.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old):

I’m loving St Vincent, above, at the moment, so anything by her. I’m more and more in to classical stuff these days too, and JS Bach is getting a good run out.

Money is no object — which instrument would you buy?

A 1959 Les Paul Standard. The Holy Grail of guitars.

First ever piece of music or art or film that really moved you:

I walked into the Musee D’Orsee in Paris and walked around the corner and Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ jumped out at me and mugged me and punched me in the stomach and I felt like I couldn’t breathe and that never happened before or since. Breath was literally taken away.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen:

Game of Thrones. Best TV I’ve ever seen.

Tell us about your TV viewing:

It’s very interrupted because I work a lot of evenings on stage. Game of Thrones is never missed, though. Sport is big, especially rugby and golf. And movies are a big one, especially when the kids are in bed and the fire is lit and the bottle of wine is open.

Radio listening and/or podcasts:

We listen to Marty Whelan in the car on the way to school because he sounds like the kids grandfather and he has a lovely way on the waves. I love listening to Desert Island Discs podcasts when I’m bussing to and from town.

Your three all time favourite acting performances?

In no particular order: Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski; Marie Mullen in Druid Synge; and Tara Egan-Langley in The Constant Wife.

Your best celebrity encounter:

Meeting Kris Kristofferson was excellent.

Kris Kristofferson.

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event... ?

Opening night if The Playboy of the Western World at the Abbey in 1907. It must have been electric. Yeats speechifying, Synge shrugging, everyone up in arms. I’d love to have seen Dublin then too.

Ernest Shackleton.

Do you have any interesting ancestors or family?

My mother is a Shackleton and we’re related to Ernest Shackleton, the explorer. We all still use the family motto — Fortitudine Vincimus (“By Endurance We Conquer”). Shackleton’s ship from his famous doomed polar expedition was called The Endurance.

You are king for a day — what’s your first decree?

Be excellent to each other.


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