A Question of Taste: Peter Gowen

Peter Gowen was born Youghal, Co Cork, and now lives in London. He is currently on tour with Decadent’s production of The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh. Upcoming dates include Everyman Theatre, Cork, 7-11 Nov; as well as Civic Theatre, Tallaght, 21-22 Oct; and Lime Tree, Limerick, Nov 4-5.

A Question of Taste: Peter Gowen

Best recent book you’ve read: All We Shall Know, by Donal Ryan. I love his work: Spinning Heart and Something About December are wonderful. Hurry up and write more Donal!

Best recent film: A horrifying documentary called The Farm about a prison in the southern states of USA. There are more African-Americans in prison now than there were slaves prior to the American Civil War.

Best recent show/exhibition/gig you’ve seen: Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, John Kelly, Paddy Glackin and one other in a gig in Dungarvan. At one stage there were 3 bouzouki playing. I play the bouzouki myself and it was great to see playing of such quality by wonderful musicians, including the grandfather of Irish Bouzouki

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): Joni Mitchell: Blue. A wonderful artist with such a beautiful guitar style. Brings me back to 1980.

First ever piece of music or art or film or gig that really moved you: I saw Polanski’s Macbeth when I was 17. We were studying it at school for Leaving Cert. I was completely blown away by it. Visually amazing and brilliant verse speaking.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!): Best show has to be Mark Rylance in Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth at the Royal Court in London. A fab play about a gypsy outsider that is commentary on Britain present and ancient.

Tell us about your TV viewing: Judge Judy when I’m ironing. Rugbaí Beo when I’m in Ireland on a Friday.

Radio listening and/or podcasts: I love Lyric, and Blue of the Night.

Who are your three acting heroes? Robert de Niro, Meryl Streep and Spencer Tracey.

Your best celebrity encounter: Meryl Streep. I was in a scene with her in the film of Dancing at Lunasa

Lovely person.

Most memorable animal encounter: Fishing with my friend Pat Kiernan (artistic director of Corcadorca theatre company), late one night on the Blackwater, catching bucket loads. Pat always talks about the serenity of the river, and the beauty of the moonlit night. I was about 30 yards away from him, and next thing I hear a terrible hullabaloo. Pat swearing.

I was astonished and called up and to him to see if he was okay. He was shouting at an otter that had come up to his feet and was trying to run off with one of his fish! I thought it was hilarious, but a few minutes later he was at my feet, trying to get one of mine.

Any interesting ancestors? My maternal grandfather was a professor of experimental physics at UCC, and was president of the college for a number of years. He got a scholarship to go to Cambridge to do postgraduate work with Ernest Rutherford.

Favourite ever item of clothing: Fishing jacket.

Unsung hero — individual, organisation or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve: Anyone bringing up disabled children. I know of several people in the profession who have moulded their lives around their disabled children, with complete disregard for themselves. It’s astoundingly selfless, and these couples could do with more respite funding and support.

You are king for a day – what’s your first decree? Give Donald Trump a haircut.

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