Passion and truth are key as Ruairí embraces latest role

Ruairí Heading (right) with director Andrew Flynn rehearsing for Decadent's premiere of The Thing About December. This stage adaptation of Donal Ryan's novel is by Jarlath Tivnan. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy 

Barely five minutes into conversation with actor Ruairí Heading, the theme of identity is firmly on the table. Dubliner Ruairí is appearing in Decadent Theatre’s new production, the world premiere of The Thing About December, based on Donal Ryan’s novel of the same name. It opens in the city’s Town Hall Theatre on June 17, with previews from June 13.

He’s on lunch-break from rehearsals, but earlier that morning, the busy actor had been sitting a video exam for a Diploma in Irish that he’s studying in UCD.

“The identity thing is really important to me,” he says of his decision to study Irish.

As for Ruairí’s acting career, “at the start, it was probably an act of rebellion but it was something I was good at and was always really happy doing. It’s the most fulfilling job in the world when you get it right”.

Just now, his focus is on getting his latest role right. Ruairí plays Johnsey Cunliffe in The Thing About December, which has been adapted for stage by actor and writer Jarlath Tivnan in conjunction with Decadent Theatre’s Artistic Director, Andrew Flynn, who also directs.

It’s set in rural Tipperary at the turn of the 21st Century and Johnsey is a naïve only child in his 20s who is grieving the loss of his parents and struggling to survive alone. Victimised by bullies and excluded by his peers, Johnsey becomes even more isolated when the farm he has inherited becomes seriously valuable after being rezoned for development.

A group of locals attempt to persuade him to give up the land for development but this unlikely hero tries to hold on to what he holds dear.

Ruairí’s preparation for a role depends on the character he’s playing, but the aim is always the same.

This is a preview only. To read the full article, see this week’s Tribune.

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