Rory Nolan | The Government Inspector
Interview by: Lauren O'Toole
So last year with Arrah na Pogue, and in previous year's productions, The Abbey have established a tradition of staging fairly light-hearted shows around the festive season – is this the case with The Government Inspector?
Certainly audiences are looking for more upbeat theatre during the festive season, perhaps with more spectacle than usual, and The Government Inspector delivers in spades. It's a fantastic comedy and like every great play of its genre it has a dark side too. It's fantastic as an actor to be performing in a play that gets riotous laughter and an uncomfortable silence in the same paragraph. Its great festive fun mixed with lots of laughs directed at all of us as a nation.
You appeared in Arrah na Pogue last year also, is Farce a style of theatre you enjoy specifically or is it coincidental?
I've been very lucky in the roles I've been offered. There's been great variety and I've been lucky enough to perform in all sorts of genres. Arrah was more comedy melodrama while The Government Inspector slips easier into the farce category. So you could say it's a coincidence. But they've both been wonderful experiences, very different in their own right and extremely rewarding. Boucicault to Gogol in the space of a year is a treat for an actor.
Marrying the work of an early 19th Century Russian playwright with Roddy Doyle's signature style must result in an interesting script! This isn't the first time you've been involved in an adaptation by Doyle of a more traditional piece, having worked on The Playboy of the Western World. Can you tell us a little more about the outcome of this collision of styles and eras?
Working with Roddy and Jimmy Fay (director) with a gang of seriously talented actors is a dream. Roddy has such an important voice in this country, but he's also a very, very funny guy. And in both Playboy and The Government Inspector he's demonstrated a huge understanding of the texts and a great reverence for these classics. Which is why and how Roddy's adaptations are so fresh, inventive and funny. Adapting plays from a hundred and almost two hundred years ago and making them relevant to today is in itself a very specific art-form and I can't think of anyone better to do it than Roddy. These are great stories told for us today by a master storyteller. We're spoiled rotten!
You play the commissioner in The Government Inspector – can you speak a little about your character?
He's a sleeveen, slimy politician who is looking out for number one. More ambitious than politically talented, he's more interested in taking bribes and stabbing his political allies in the back than looking after the public institutions he's in charge of. Sound familiar?
While you're obviously busy in all manner of genres and productions your name has become somewhat synonymous with the Ross O'Carroll Kelly phenomenon – will we see you delighting the masses as the D4 ignoramus again anytime soon?
No plans as far as I'm aware! But always happy to step back into the 'dubes'!
So obviously you have a busy Christmas ahead – do you plan to take it easy or is there much in store for 2012?
I can't think of a better place to work at Christmas than the Abbey Theatre. It's not just a great institution, it's full of wonderful, talented people on-stage and off. The show, while busy, is a joy to do. The couple of days around Christmas will be spent quietly with my family. The Government Inspector runs till the end of January, then I'll be in the Gaiety with Rough Magic's 'Improbable Frequency' followed by DruidMurphy, a retrospective of the work of the great Tom Murphy. A busy year ahead thankfully. But I wouldn't want it any other way.
The Government Inspector runs until the 28th of January in The Abbey Theatre. Tickets range between €13-40.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Tuesday 13th December 2011 | Theatre
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