Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Great Craic with Micheal and Marian.

The brilliant producer Micheal Colgan fired me once.
And he was right to. It had a knock on effect that was to shape my life as an actor in a very positive way. But at the time it was a miserable experience. I had let my colleagues down, I had let myself down. (He did recently make an overture to have me back at the Gate, which unfortunately , I couldn't take up). It is not something I am proud of. I wish I had immediately learned something from that experience. I never got fired again, but the source of my problem, or rather the manifestation of my problem, alcohol consumption , was something I didn't  deal with for years to come. Needless to say I hurt a great many people during that time.
I'm sure Micheal Colgan hurt a great many people with his interview on the Marian Finucane  show. (btw I'm not suggesting he was drunk!) Lets face it, if you are a producer on that show and you want to have a person come and explain what Waking The Feminist is ....... Micheal Colgan may not have been top of my list. Unless it was an opportunity to finally hear about his record and what he had to say about it. But that didn't happen did it.
Instead I listened to one of the most brazen tone deaf interviews in a while.
You see, unlike Fiach , who will undoubtedly bounce back , be stronger and loved , Mr Colgan sounded like some General who has no idea a revolution is taking place. Comical Micheal , if you like. The group started the discussion about WTFem with laughter. It was revealing in that it genuinely felt like they were all talking about something for the first time together. In a back room. And that it didn't matter much. Which was alarming when paired  with interviews with Fiach and Garry Hynes , both of whom it seems this will be a defining moment in their professional and personal lives.
Not so with Mr Colgan. He was dismissive from the beginning, with valid reason. He couldn't get a seat for the Abbey event. No seat was kept for him. He even called only 25 minutes after the seats were released and couldn't get a seat. Somehow this showed how silly WTFem was.  He couldn't think of the word "viral" , one must presume because he is immune to whatever virus WTFem is spreading. He talked about Fiach's  "house" and had a dig about  budgeting. He gave us a lovely image of himself ( away from those horrible computer thingys) not only a voracious reader of novels, but of female novelists. That's how comfortable he is with women. He did feel that the whole thing had blown up rather too much but conceded that everything had in fact changed . And yes, eventually he said there was a disparity. But you got the feeling listening that everything was grand. Although as the discussion progressed I got the feeling Comical Micheal started to hear distant rumblings of tanks progressing up Abbey St and making a difficult right on O'Connell St.
Nobody asked Mr Colgan anything. They just let him talk. And give his opinions. Shine the brass on his shoulders.
I really didn't know what he was doing . Until he played his trump card. Or cards. Turns out Mr Colgan had 6 queens in his back pocket all the time. He placed them gently on the table before us. He has six women working for him he told us. Six women and himself making the decisions for the Gate Theatre.
Why has the Gate not been held up as an example of  how to do things correctly ! Talk about righting the wrongs of the past. Six women. And Mr Colgan.
This information threw up so many questions for me I momentarily stopped worrying for any women related to Kevin Meyers. If every women in Irish Theatre was clamoring to get to the Abbey to voice their , well, voice , were these six women there also? . Do they diagree ? Why have we not heard from them? The Gate 6 . Showing how they run a Theatre ( with Mr Colgan) the right way. Not like the Abbey.
I would love to hear from them. Or hear them talking with Mr Colgan.
Something doesn't add up.
And doesn't the fact that there are no men seem a little odd. Maybe I'm old-fashioned and not the progressive that the Gate courts, but I don't know. That just seems odd.
Equally odd is the fact that I haven't heard much from the WTFem about his interview. Maybe thats not what they're about . I haven't seen much reaction online . Maybe Mr Colgan is right and its all over. Maybe I've read it all wrong.
Mr Colgan has presided over many storms. I will forever be jealous of him. Having had relationships with Beckett, Pinter , Friel in the manner in which he had, would fill any producers resume with such quality that everything must seem mundane.
Even women making noise in the Abbey.
Maybe those gallant women driving those revolutionary tanks from the Abbey have actually made a left. Maybe they are not interested in The Gate. Its full of their own, surely.
But if they are , and if they listened they way I listened, we'll be hearing more of Comical Micheal soon. At least I hope we do.



1 comment:

  1. Great piece Brian. I was amazed at Colgan's very being! And Marian has been in that job too long unfortunately - horrendously cosy. Here 's what I wrote above the excellent article by Nadine O Regan Sun Biz Post last Sun via FB the other day....

    'I caught a last bit of M Finucane on Sun and the male-majority guests waffling on. M Colgan pontificating and opining to beat the band and speak 'authoritatively' incl on Lady Gregory! There seemed to be no women from the theatre on it. Oh dear. Mc C should resign and the 'Rising' program should be changed.'

    And a suggestion to the Online Petiiton just now: 'Could we update this petition to calling for Fiach McConghaill's immediate resignation - why is he still in the job? - and the changing of the Rising Program forthwith?'

    Here is Petition - apols for the long URL:
    https://www.change.org/p/the-board-of-the-abbey-theatre-wakingthefeminists-equality-for-women-in-irish-theatre?recruiter=421868418&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

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