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Sinead Cusack & Ciarán Hinds

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Sinead Cusack and Ciarán Hinds are here with us today to talk about their new play The Birds at The Gate theatre in Dublin. The Birds is on now at The Gate Theatre till 21st of November 2009.

What the Critics have said.

'An absolute corker.superb'
Sunday Independent

'Deliciously chilling.exhilarating.pitch-perfect'
Irish Independent

'Keeps us on the edge of our seat'
The Irish Times

Sunday Business Post

Irish Examiner


The Birds Review from The Irish Times:

"Conor McPherson's new play The Birds uses Daphne du Maurier's famous short story as inspiration for an original theatrical gothic thriller. Set in an ambiguously anonymous rural landscape, the play is post-apocalyptic in both the religious and the material sense. The birds might represent nature turning in upon itself, but, as the refugees in the decaying farmhouse where the play is set turn upon each other, McPherson wonders not just if the world is ending but if God is dead.

Despite its' borrowed origins, The Birds calls to mind McPherson's earlier work - the gothic confessional of The Weir ; the metaphysical anguish of Dublin Carol - but never has he been more in control of the heightened naturalistic atmosphere than here. The nature of the relationships between the refugees - the conflict between their collective fight for survival and their individual desires - are given to us only gradually, as the hovering birds descend with the high tide, twice daily, to attack the house. Indeed, no sooner have Sinéad Cusack's haunted, heartbroken novelist Diane and Ciarán Hinds' sensitive, practical Nat appear to have settled into domesticity than the arrival of Denise Gough's vibrant, giddy Julia forces a new dynamic which shifts our expectations entirely.

As director, McPherson keeps us on the edge of our seat too, with piecemeal visual revelations. Even Rae Smith's declining grand set is revealed to us inch by inch with the curtains' slow withdrawal in the opening scene. Indeed, it is only with the gradual illumination which Paul Keogan's lighting design lends, as the scenes progress from morning to noon to evening to night, that the true extent of the house's damp dilapidation - the harbinger of this temporary family's doom - is revealed. Fionnuala Ní Chiosáin original score and Simon Baker's threatening wing-beating sound design contribute enormously to the building atmosphere.

If the structure of the play is essentially filmic (the voice-over device is effective, but definitely unusual in the theatrical setting), the single-set confinement of the theatrical space enhances the characters' claustrophobia and the tension of the tight drama. Indeed, the production itself is so taut, so well-conceived within the playing space, that any further elaboration risks ruining it for the non-initiated viewer.

But let's just say that there is always potential, even within this apparently open room, for surprises. Until November 22nd" .

Sinead Cusack:

Sinead is a member of the famous Cusack acting family, with both her parents, Cyril and Maureen also in the industry.

Cyril starred in The Spy who cam in from the Cold, The Taming of the Shrew, Dial M for Murder, My Left Foot, Strumpet City and Far and Away to name but a few of his film credits.

Sinead has been with Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons for over 34 years and they have 2 sons - Sam and Max. They married in 1978 and own a castle in Co. Cork.

Sinead left University early to join The Abbey, and in 1971, she stepped in for a heavily pregnant Judi Dench in a West End run of London Assurance. Since the she acted with her father in Chekhov's Three Sisters alongside her sisters Niamh and Sorcha.

Sinead has done so much theatre work that it is almost impossible just to pick out a few: Lady Anne in Richard III, Portia in Merchant of Venice, Lady MacBeth, The Three Sisters.

TV and Film work include: V for Vendetta with Natalie Portman, I Capture the Castle, A room with a View, Stealing Beauty with Liv Tyler and the late great Donal McCann.

Ciarán Hinds:

Ciaran was born in Belfast but now divides his time between Paris and London.
He won an award for Best Actor at the Tribecca film festival for The Eclipse.

In 1999, Ciarán won both the Theatre World Award for Best Debut in NYC and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Special Achievement (Best Ensemble Cast Performance) for his work in Closer.

Ciaran has previously worked for Sam Mendes in Richard III and on Road to Perdition, he played Carl a cover up professional assisting a group of assassins in Munich. He is well known for his part John Traynor in Veronica Geurin, and has even played Jonathon Reiss in Tomb Raider! He has also worked alongside Colin Farrell in Miami Vice, Conor McPherson, and in 2007 his won an IFTA for his work in Rome.