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Rex pens his own play and lands the leading role

LAST time we saw him, he was getting busy with model Rozanna Purcell in a steamy music video.

But now Rex Ryan -- eldest son of legendary broadcaster Gerry -- is showing he is more than eye-candy, penning his first play.

The Park is billed as "a tale of friendship, culture, family, anger, heroism and a look at the animalistic jungle of growing up in a Dublin park".

The play is running as part of the Jack Burdell Experience, a drama festival showcasing the work of 31 emerging artists.

All the plays will be performed in Smock Alley Theatre from February 22 to March 9.

Rex's play takes place over the course of a day and centres on two troublesome teenage boys hanging out in a park.

Luke and Bob come from radically different worlds, always seeming to end up in trouble.

"It's about culture and nurture," Rex told the Herald.

"The play is showing that it doesn't matter what your background is: you determine your own circumstances."

The son of Gerry and Morah Ryan, Rex has spent the past few years studying at the Gaiety School of Acting.

He appeared in Gonzo Theatre's award-winning play The Circus Of Perseverance, which scored rave reviews at last year's Dublin Fringe Festival. Rex will play Luke in The Park.



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The 22-year-old has also set up his own theatre company. "Me and a few of my friends in The Gaiety set it up. It's called Monkey Back Stage," he said.

Rex originally wanted to become an movie actor, but has fallen in love with the theatre and writing since joining the Gaiety.

"I grew up on film. My mum and dad love film. I didn't really go to the theatre as a kid, but now I can't get enough of it."

He is now in his final year at the Gaiety and is enjoying writing plays.

"As part of the final year, all the students are given a mentor. Most were assigned an actor but mine is a playwright.

"Writing is great because it's your voice. You're not just saying lines, you're presenting something you feel really strongly about."

A strong performing gene runs through the Ryan clan: Gerry's godfather was the legendary Eamonn Andrews and Rex's grandmother's family were also in show business.

And, of course, his sister Lottie (26) already works in broadcasting and has a slot on Colm Hayes's show on 2fm.

Gerry and Morah's middle daughter Bonnie (19) has dreams of becoming a professional singer.

hnews@herald.ie