Owen O'neil


Q & A with Owen O'Neil who starred in his own sole play Absolution, which played Off-Broadway at 59E59's Theater C from 8 Sep - 3 Oct 2010.

Place of birth?
County Tyrone Northern Ireland.

You now live in?
London.

Did you go to training school, if so which one?
Doing stand-up for twenty five years is the perfect training school.

As an actor, do you have a preference for stage, tv or film?
Probably the Stage. Especially if it's an intimate space. I like to see the whites of the audience's eyes.

Your first stage performance was?
I played a Yokel in Edward Bond's 'The Sea' I was twenty and thought I knew everything.

Career highlight to date?
Playing the Henry Fonda role in Twelve Angry Men with eleven other fellow stand-up comedians. We toured Australia and New Zealand and had a ball.

What roles would you most like to play?
Too many to mention, but I think Shelley, in Glengarry Glen Ross and Teach, in American Buffalo.

Whats the best advice you have ever received?
Learn your lines inside out, then work on the character and also play every role you can.

What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
Walking on to the wrong stage at a festival and doing two minutes of my stand-up act, whilst behind me, two singing Nuns where about to do their act.

What is the most annoying part about your job?
Nothing, it's the best job in the World. I used to be a Bricklayer, so I know what it's like to really work.

Briefly tell us what inspired you to write Absolution?
I decided to write it after I saw a documentary a few years ago about a group of people from the four corners of the World who were abused by priests. I found it very moving and it also made me extremely angry. A perfect combination for a writer.

Briefly tell us about the character you play in Absolution?
The character I play is psychologically damaged goods, but he is not crazy. He sees himself as an avenging Angel.

If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
Probably a truck driver, travel writer, documentary film maker.

Who are your favorite actors/actresses?
Marion Cotillard. Jeff Bridges, Jack Palance, Edward Norton, Gary Oldman, WC Fields.

If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
I'd like to meet Jesus and ask him to explain why he had to die.

Favorite after-show haunts?
I don't the apres show thing but I'll be looking for somewhere to have a game of soccer during the day.

What was the last book you read, and name some of your favorite authors?
The last book I read was 'The Wrench' by Primo Levi, I think Levi was a real genius. Other writers I like are Raymond Carver, John Banville, Don DeLillo, John McGahern.

What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favorite movies?
Last film I saw was 'The White Ribbon' a devastatingly powerful piece of film making from Michael Haneke. Other favourite movies are 'Little Miss Sunshine' 'Grapes of Wrath' 'Everything is illuminated' 'My little chickadee' 'Dog Day Afternoon'

Favorite TV programs?
The Simpsons, Nurse Jackie, (Edie Falco is amazing) Damage, (Glen Close what a performance)

Favorite holiday destinations?
I like the West of Ireland and New Zealand is the most beautiful country in the World.

Do you have any hobbies?
No Hobbies, I just like playing soccer when I can.

Do you have any superstitions?
Not superstitions exactly but when I switch off my TV at night it has to be on the BBC when I do it. I have no idea why.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
I would take a soccer ball, a valve to blow it up and a pump to blow it up with.

What are your future plans?
I never have future plans as such but I'm definitely going to write a musical, because I hate them and want to write one I can enjoy.