Mark O'Halloran is one of Ireland's most acclaimed scriptwriters and actors.

Mark's writing credits include Adam & Paul (in which he co-starred), Garage, Viva and the forthcoming Halal Daddy, and for television he wrote the IFTA-winning series Prosperty. His extensive theatrical CV includes appearances with The Abbey and The Gate, and he penned the acclaimed plays TRADE and The Head of Red O’Brien. 

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Later this month, he returns to his native Ennis, County Clare, for a special In Conversation event at the Ennis Book Club Festival.


Film:

La La Land. I am not the type for romantic or soppy films but this one had a real effect on me. it has a charm and a simplicity and a joy to it that, in these dark and uncertain times, I found to be very welcome indeed. Also: Emma Stone's performance is extraordinary. She and Natalie Portman are my favourite actors at the moment.

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Music:

I am a music obsessive. i have a large record collection and it gives me immense pleasure in life. My tastes are quite wide too, ranging from electronica to calypso. i have been buying a lot more jazz of late. (Yes, I am one of those people). My latest discovery is a Puerto Rican jazz saxophonist called Miguel Zenón. His record Típico is mind-blowingly good.

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Book:

I have spent the last year reading lots and lots of Georges Simenon. He was an extraordinarily prolific Belgian crime writer and the creator of Maigret. The books are all short and offer dark, psychological studies that are terrifically entertaining. perfect for reading on a plane or a bus journey. At the moment penguin are reissuing them in new translations with beautiful cover art. My favourite of the Maigrets so far is My Friend Maigret - of the non Maigret novels, The Blue Room is particularly stunning.  

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Theatre:

I am going to see Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well And Living In Paris in the Gate on Saturday. I have long been a fan of Brel's music and the chance to see this musical celebration of his work will be an absolute treat I am sure. The last time I saw a musical at the Gate was when they staged Sweeney Todd a few years ago. I went to see it three times. The late great Anita Reeves was particularly stunning in it.

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TV:

I am not the greatest of TV watchers and I tend to be way behind on the latest 'thing'. Of late though I have been rewatching Twin Peaks in anticipation of the new series. I had forgotten how bonkers the original was; funny, absurd and terrifying at the same time. it is still as fresh as it ever was too.

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Gig:

the last gig I was at was in Cuba. i was travelling through the island with my friend Arturo and we'd arrived at the town of Holguin. the mourning period for Fidel was still in place at the time and there had been little by way of nightclubs or live music for the previous ten days. Much to our surprise, we found a small club in the city that was staging a salsa band. I didn't catch their name, they were all local musicians I think, but it was an utterly joyous event. Watching Cubans dancing is also a great joy to behold!

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Art:

My new fascination is with the work and life of Sarah Cecilia Harrison. She was a painter who mixed with the great and the good of the celtic revival and was also the first woman ever to be been elected to Dublin City Council where she was a terrific advocate for the poor. She was also a fierce supporter of Hugh Lane and his attempts to have a municipal gallery built in the city. Indeed after his death she claimed (preposterously) that she and Lane had been secretly engaged. Her work is beautiful I think, the self portraits in particular. Some can be seen in the Hugh Lane Gallery.

Sarah Cecilia Harrison, Self Portrait

Radio:

i wake with the radio in the morning and listen to the news. then in the evening I always take a listen to Arena, RTE's flagship arts program. They always have an eclectic blend of what is currently on and interviews with various writers, artists, musicians, etc. The music selection is always top notch, too.

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The Next Big Thing:

I am currently acting in a film called Cellar Door which is written and directed by Viko Nikci. this is his first feature and it is a great script. He is also enormously inspiring and runs a very exciting film set. I feel sure he is going to be very very successful indeed.

Mark O’Halloran will be in conversation with Seán Rocks as part of the Ennis Book Club Festival on Saturday, 4 March at 8pm (preceded by a screening of Viva @ 6pm) in Glór, Ennis. Booking via Glór Box Office 065 684 3103/www.glor.ie