'Hero' is the story of an angry young man as he voices his struggles in love. The play is an original work by Ken Rogan about a man overly focused on football and women. Life quickly grows complicated for Smithy (Daithí Mac Suibhne) after a chance encounter with Marissa in this show to be staged in Ramor Theatre on Wednesday, September 7.
Daithí may be familiar to soap followers as Emmet O’Brien from RTÉ’s Fair City. He has also been a regular in Ros na Rún for TG4. For this particular outing he is directed by his fellow TV colleague Amilia Stewart (another O'Brien from Fair City). The actor took a little time out to speak to the Celt about Hero.
“It's a one man show, essentially a love story. A twisted love story told from a perspective we don't usually hear about. It's one man's odyssey through love, ankle injuries and what happens when you don’t know how to lose.”
That allusion to the the Greek epic appears to be more than just a shallow reference. The protagonist has an Odysseus like journey: “Smithy is a 20-something year old mess. He's overly focused on football and women. He has very little else in his life. I think people will recognise a lot of themselves in Hero, regardless of whether they are young or old.”
That appeal to the “everyman” is a central plank in Rogan's offering: “He [Smithy] desperately wants someone to look after him, but he can't express himself and finds it difficult to put words to his emotions. He wants to love and be loved. There is a pathetic, recognisable aspect to him that we all can identify in ourselves.”
Daithí is eager not to give too much away about his character's location.
“The show is happening his head, but he brings the audience to a number of spaces,” he coyly says. Having enjoyed a successful run at Theatre Upstairs earlier this year the show is now playing in Smock Alley. The stage Daithí inhabited up to this will have to be adapted for the Ramor.
“It's a different challenge when you are playing a bigger space such as the Ramor or Smock Alley. I have to perform it a bit louder and project a bit farther and push it a bit more. It is a great challenge to have to fit the show to the space and then judge the audience.
“The advantage of a one-man-show is that I get to steer it and tweek it each night, responding to what the audience is giving back to you. This is the first time we have taken this show outside of Dublin. The audience plays a really important part of every show. There is an active relationship, a feedback between audience and performer. I feel the audience mood in the first few moment so of a play. Every audience is different, but I don't think there is huge difference between urban and rural audiences,” he told the Celt.
Teaming up with Amilia Stewart, the infamous 'Katy from the box' in the soap, has been very beneficial for the show.
“Myself and Ami get on great. I was blessed with the family I got on Fair City. We all just clicked from the word go. We have the same attitude and drive to make the work as good as we can. It is a great working relationship. It gives a female orientation, because it's quite testosterone fuelled at time and it needed that balance.”
Though a Dublin native, Daithí is no stranger to Cavan.
“My fiancée, Aisling Mulligan is from Cootehill, so I am often in Cavan,” he says.
If you want to see Hero by Ken Rogan it takes to the Ramor stage on Wednesday September 7. Admission: €18 & €16.