(2016, April) Gav Guilfoyle talks about his love of theatre and reasons for choosing to direct Pillowman in October 2016.
What is your first recollection of going to the theatre?
My first recollection of the theatre was when I was cast as the Sergeant of Police in “Pirates of Penzance” in Primary School, I was around 9 or 10. I don’t think I went to a real theatre until a few years later when I went to see my brother in “A Midsummers Night’s Dream” – he played one of the mechanicals, I think it was Wall! That is my first recollection of being at a real theatre, watching a real play.
When did you get the theatre "bug"?
When I first came to Luxembourg in 1992, my sister was acting in a play called “Wait Until Dark“ directed by Margaret Love. I did not know many people at the time so I volunteered to help build the set. One of the set organisers was Pen Turner. Later that year he went on to direct a one act play for Round Tower Players (“On the Outside” by Tom Murphy) and needed young Irishmen. He persuaded me to audition: I did, I played and I loved it!
What/who inspires you?
There’s not one single person/thing that inspires me. We are very lucky in Luxembourg because we get to see a wide variety of high quality shows that pass through our town. I go to see as many of them as I possibly can and I find that when I see something that catches my eye, that I’ve never seen before, it inspires me.
You have acted and directed. What do you enjoy about each?
For acting I enjoy the work which can be more personal and more internally focused. With directing I enjoy watching the big shapes, big pictures and the creativity that everyone else brings with them.
What do you look for when auditioning? For me one of the most important aspects is seeing how people work as an ensemble. Actors can be brilliant at auditions yet not be great working with other actors. Other actors can lack confidence at auditions but within the rehearsal process they can shine and be creative. So, for me, the hardest part in an audition is seeing which of my actors I can put together in order to make the ensemble which will give us the best chance of telling our story.
Our most burning question– why Pillowman? Many, many years ago I was at drama Summer School and one of the courses that year was the art of story-telling given by the late great Noel Greig. I fell in love with the concept of theatrical story-telling from that moment. “Pillowman “came at me because my partner was in Galway for work and I told her she should go and see what’s on at the Druid Theatre. “Pillowman” was on. She didn’t enjoy the production so much but was really intrigued by the play, so she went out and bought a copy. After she finished reading the play she gave it to me and said “you have to read this!” I was hooked.