herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Love/Hate star Peter Coonan keeps it in the family as he uses late mum's script for play

Actors Peter Coonan and Lauren Coe, at the first read through of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge at The Gate Theatre. Damien Eagers
Actors Peter Coonan and Lauren Coe, at the first read through of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge at The Gate Theatre. Damien Eagers
Peter Coonan and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in Love/Hate

Love/Hate star Peter Coonan is hoping his late mother will inspire him when he appears in the Gate Theatre's production of A View From the Bridge next month.

Coonan's mother Betty, who died of cancer when he was 12 years old, starred in Arthur Miller's classic play as an amateur actress.

Coonan is learning his lines from his mum's annotated script and believes she would have been "so proud" to see him tread the boards of The Gate stage.

"Everything connects back to my mother, which is weird," he told the Herald.

"The script I've been working off is the one she used when she played the part of Beatrice.

"For a lot of the classic plays I've done, I've used my mum's old scripts, which have her highlighter all over it.

"She was an amateur actress and that's how I got into it," he added.

The Sandyford native admits it means a lot to land a role in the theatre where he auditioned as a young boy.

"The Gate is somewhere I've wanted to act from when I was 10 or 11," he said.

Delighted

"I auditioned to play the boy in Waiting for Godot and I couldn't do it because my mother wasn't well and I had to go to boarding school in Ring, Co Waterford for the year.

"That was the last time I was on The Gate stage so it's nice to be back here as an adult acting in a play," he added.

Coonan (29) plays the part of Marco, an illegal Italian immigrant fleeing to America after World War II, desperate to support his family back home.

"I have to do an Italian accent. I've been practising a bit already but we'll have to wait and see how it goes," he laughed.

Speaking of family, he says he hasn't popped the question to his partner Kim O'Driscoll just yet but their young daughter is doing very well.

"Beth is great, she's coming into her own now. She's 15 months this week," Coonan said.

Since Love/Hate wrapped, his co-star Tom Vaughan-Lawlor has landed a part in Hollywood film Infiltrator, opposite Brian Cranston, and Coonan is delighted for him.

"Tom landing that role is amazing, he's an incredible actor and he deserves everything he gets," he said.

"I've no doubt he'll go up and up. He's one of the finest actors we have."

While he has focused on honing his craft on the theatre circuit in Ireland, Peter admits he may move to Hollywood in the future.

"At some point you have to go for the jugular and give it a go and have no regrets," he said.

He previously said it can be "soul destroying" waiting to hear if you've landed a part.

"It can take a while to hear back, especially in the US," he added.

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