Surely, Hugh Leonard writing his autobiographical play Da in the early 70’s could have hoped for no one better to portray his da than the well known Irish actor Des Keogh, now playing the role in Olney Theatre’s revival of its 1973 world premiere.
Mr. Keogh, full of wit and charm with just a touch of mischief, tells us that in Ireland, he is well known for comedies, and as a “David Letterman type” television personality. It’s when he comes to this side of the pond to work with the Irish Repertory Theatre among others, that he gets the chance at some of the meatier roles. So when the call came to play Leonard’s da, he leapt at the chance, even though it meant leaving his wife of 44 years, and his beloved collie.
We were delighted to bring Mr. Keogh together with Kerry Waters Lucas, actress and co-artistic director of Keegan Theatre’s New Island Project, which produces the works of Irish playwrights, and, for the past 10 years has joined other Keegan members in touring an American play throughout Ireland.
They easily fell into this late night conversation comparing notes on the actors’ process, Irish towns, and its well loved playwrights, old and new. Give a listen below.
Hugh Leonard’s Tony Award winning Da is autobiographical, and, as Mr. Keogh tells us, is very specific to Dalkey’s pubs and inhabitants. To learn more about the town, which is just south of Dublin, here’s an article written for the NY Times in 1981 by one of Ireland’s most famous Dalkeymen, Hugh Leonard himself.