My great disappearing act took place at the height of my professional theatrical fame. For the princely sum of £5 and a bottle of Fanta (a night? or was the £5 for a week?) I trod the same boards the feet of Liam Neeson, Ciarán Hinds and Adrian Dunbar had before me. I played the eldest of Macduff’s sons in Shakespeare’s Scottish play at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast.
My main role was to die defending my Mum against the king’s hired killers – a bit of dramatic struggling and swooning after being stabbed. But it wasn’t all action. Oh no – I had lines too. A couple of Yeses and then that immortal exclamation.
Thou liest, thou shag-hair’d villain!
That’s what everyone remembers from that play, isn’t it? Never mind all that hubble bubble toil and trouble or being steeped so far in blood. Oh yes.
On the final night of the run, the usual murder happened. (Obviously I could have beaten the killers if I’d wanted, but I had to let them get away with it for the sake of the play. Just wanted to make that clear.) The murderers fled, leaving the bodies of me and my mother and brother strewn across the stage. Then the lights went down completely, leaving the stage in complete darkness to allow us to drag our carcasses off stage.
As usual, I quickly nipped through the side drapes, but Continue reading