Draiocht's Nicola Murphy caught up with actor, writer and director Myles Breen, ahead of his performance in Draiocht on 5 November 2010 in his play 'Language Unbecoming a Lady':
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from?
I am from Limerick. Born and reared. Went to college in U.C.C, and graduated with a B. Comm. Much to my parents surprise after college I told them I didn’t want to be an accountant but an actor.
Q: How old were you when you got your start in acting?
As a child I did speech and drama and also was in a number of productions “as gaeilge” with Buion Phadraig an amateur Irish language theatre company in Limerick. My first big break was being cast in Clash of the Ash in 1986.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to act? Or What inspired you to become an actor?
My mother says I always wanted to act, and it is really her fault. She loves theatre and music so when me and my younger brother John (who also went into the business as a director and writer. He wrote Alone it Stands) were kids she dragged us to everything from musicals to plays.
Q: What other artists or people have influenced or inspired you in your life, and in what ways?
One of the performances that really inspired me was Donal McCann in the original production of The Faith Healer by Brian Friel. Even now nearly 20 years later I remember that performance vividly.
Q: What has been your favourite acting part to date?
Writing and performing my own one man show has been the biggest challenge I’ve had up to date, and I have been overwhelmed by the reaction of audiences gay, straight, young and old. A show which I am still all these years later proud to have been involved in is Island Theatre Co.’s production of Pig Town by Mike Finn.
Q: Do you have a favourite play?
Of course I would like to say my own play, but any time I have had the opportunity to see or perform in a Shakespeare play, I am amazed at his talent both for drama and poetry. A Midsummer Night’s dream is a particular favourite
Q: Are you a full time actor or do you have another job as well?
Like any actor you do a little bit of everything. I have worked as a director, choreographer, workshop leader, and performed on murder mysteries.
Q: What’s the hardest thing about being an actor?
In some ways the uncertainty about what’s going to come up next, though this is a downside it also means that surprises can happen.
Q: If you weren’t an actor, what would like your job to be?
Euro Lotto Multi Millionaire
Q: What inspired you to write ‘Language Unbecoming a Lady’?
The story started off with this image of a drag queen removing the costume, make up etc and revealing the man underneath the character. As I started writing it the drag queen persona and the real life of the man who created her developed. It covers one gay mans life from growing up in the 70’s to the present day, and so reflects the changes in society of how gay people are perceived and treated.
Q: How long did it take you to write?
The idea had been mulling around in my head for a year, but the whole play was written in about 2 months.
Q: What can audiences expect to experience at this show? Can you tell us a bit about the story?
The show covers many events and emotions in this one gay man’s life. Some funny, some sad, some ridiculous. Of course a big part of the story is his alter ego the Divine Diana. I hope audiences will like her take on life and love and also her taste in music, all the classics from Barbara Judy and Doris.
Q: What’s it like acting in a play that you’ve also written? Do you ever disagree with the Director because it’s so personal to you as a writer and actor?
As both the writer and the performer there really is no place to hide. Liam O’ Brien my director is also a good friend so his response to the material and his ability to push me without me knowing it has been brilliant. Though some of the piece is semi autobiographical other elements are taken from friends experiences as well as just imagined.
Q: What's the best bit of advice anyone has ever given you?
It’s a quote from the movie the Dresser. “Struggle and Survive”
Q: What advice would you in turn give to someone thinking of acting as a career or who is just starting out?
When I started it was possible to train on the job. However today it is important to go for professional training. It’s a very competitive world and the more skills you have the better.
Q: So what’s coming up next for you after this show?
After the tour I start rehearsals for panto. I have been playing the Dame in panto in Limerick since 1997. It is one of my favourite roles as an actor. It is hard work because it uses every skill you have. There is singing, dancing, comedy and pratfalls. Also panto is most people’s first experience of the theatre and I know that as a child I was blown away by it.
BOOK TICKETS TO THIS SHOW ON 5 NOVEMBER 2010, 8.15PM / TICKETS 16 EURO / 12 EURO CONCESSION
Thanks to Myles Breen for taking some time out of rehearsals to chat to Nicola Murphy.
You can find more information about Myles and Bottom Dog Theatre Company at: