Mo O'Connell and Mary Tynan: From Ireland to England and Back Again

February 04, 2021 00:58:22
Mo O'Connell and Mary Tynan: From Ireland to England and Back Again
The Plastic Podcasts
Mo O'Connell and Mary Tynan: From Ireland to England and Back Again
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Show Notes

Maureen (“Mo”) O’Connell and Mary Tynan are actor-writer-directors who went from Ireland to England for professional reasons and who both returned to Dublin and Galway respectively in 2015/2016.

Mo is an award-winning film maker whose feature “Spa Weekend” is currently being feted with awards wherever it goes. She is also the founder of the Dublin International Comedy Film Festival

Mary is the creator of Notes From Xanadu, “probably” the world’s first online arts centre, and its sister institution Xanadu Theatre

Plus Nathan Mannion of EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum raises Paul Boyton – the fearless frogman – onto The Plastic Pedestal

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:01 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:00:22 I'm Doug Giovanni and you're listening to the plastic podcasts, tales of the Irish diaspora. We're going in reverse order here today at the plastic podcasts, not so much plastic as elastic with two women, artists who returned to Ireland from Britain, Maureen O'Connell or Mo is an award winning writer, actor and director based in Dublin at her films. Spar weekend is currently garnering laurels at festivals around the globe. Meanwhile, actor writer, director, Mary Tynan speaks to us from Galway where she has founded notes from Xanadu, which she describes as probably the world's first online art center and hosts everything from music to talks to theater and stitch and bitch sessions. I'm in the middle of the curiously named storm Christoph when we talk. So my first question is a wild and wind swept. How you doing? Speaker 2 00:01:08 Good. Yeah, I'm doing great today. Speaker 1 00:01:11 All right. Um, I suppose for the benefit of both of our listeners, uh, if you'd like to say hello with your names and that way they can tell who speaks. Speaker 2 00:01:20 Sure. Um, my name is Maureen O'Connell or everyone calls me about, hi, my name is Mandy Tynan Speaker 1 00:01:27 And I'm Doug. Um, just in case there was any confusion. So, um, but if we can go back to, uh, the, the first thing would be that you both left art and in order to go over to, to England and specifically London. Um, so if I can ask her, first of all, Mary, um, you, uh, you, you were born in England, but raised in Gallway essentially. Yes. Speaker 2 00:01:46 S Y S I was born in, um, uh, West London, very West London out near here for a little while in ESX as well, and then moved to on, in front of us. And I basically went back when I was early twenties and spent most of my adult life, North London, West London, East London, London, apart from South the South, I lived in Waco in the countryside and the steaks for a bit, but back to Dublin then went to RADA in 2009. Um, and then did three years there, uh, graduate 2012 and then stayed by two years in London, two and a half years maybe. And then came back to Ireland in 2015, the end of 2015. And, um, I started doing research for a 1916 short film I wanted to make for 2016 to 17 right. Of the rebellion. So, so I said that and then, and then I stayed. Speaker 1 00:02:47 So, um, you came across in order to be part of the course in RADA, first of all. Yes. And Mary, what brought you across to back across the London? Speaker 2 00:02:56 Um, I suppose just suppose opportunities really. Uh, Speaker 3 00:03:00 Um, I came over like at a time when, uh, I think it was just before the boom started to not. And so there wasn't really any, uh, any work here and, um, I just always loved London anyway. Um, I'd always kind of wanted to live there and, um, in terms of doing things like acting and stuff like that, um, just, I dunno, just general opportunity. I just, like, I did really, really love London, always. I just felt like it was, um, as those television programs I saw once with Chad and at its best, a city's like a gigantic playground. And, um, that's what I like about London. There was just, you could work all sorts of places. You could visit all sorts of places. You could go to the British museum. You could go sit by the river. You could, everything you could think of was there. Speaker 3 00:03:49 And, um, yeah, I just thought it was, it was, um, a better place. Um, especially since I've mostly always been single, I've always thought it's, um, uh, at that a place for a single person to live, but did you still have one foot in Gallway? Um, well I had family and go well. Yeah. Um, I had like, um, uh, uh, my parents, um, well, my mum died quite a while ago, but initially I had her as well. My dad, my brother, my sister, and now their children as well. So I did have that. Um, but my, um, neither of my parents are mushy from goal-wise, so we're not like go away and such, I wouldn't have had like loads of cousins or anything like that. Yeah. And what was London? Life humor Speaker 2 00:04:34 And, yeah, it was fun to me. And I suppose the first three years really get to know that well, because I had to so intense and, um, we were totally in off to work and stuff because it was so intensive, you know, you'd be too tired. I kind of had to work. So I worked at an Irish bar and second year, uh, to help pay bills and things like that. Um, which actually was a nice relief from Ryder as in like is great. Fantastic. But then to be in this crazy Irish bar, you know, people killing each other and stuff literally like all the time, it's just been honest. It was very funny Irish Polk. And, uh, then to go back into rather than the next, but it's quite rich the contrast. Um, but yeah, no, I, I love London. Everything think that Mary was saying, but I do think that it was difficult being an actor because you take a job that is, uh, low paid so that you can remain free to audition if you get an audition. Speaker 2 00:05:37 Uh, and then if you get a part in something you can say, okay, is the job. So say something like, Oh, ushering in a theater or doing bar stock, you know, those types of jobs, you can pause, go off for a couple of months, do your theater job, whatever, and then come back to it, you know, Bush, that means that you can't always successfully pay rent or bills. And you're constantly stressed about that. And then just to have like a bit of crack, you always kind of want to type, wait, can I, can I actually spend this money on drink? Can I have a party? Because like you just don't have the money. Um, because it's so low paid and the rents are, so the bills are so astronomical. So, so yeah, it was, it was kind of, um, it was it a bit tricky. It would have been nicer if I was just bitter and then I would have enjoyed it a lot more, but there was lots of enjoyment and say friends that worked in the old Vic theater, and that was great. I was saying there, and then we'd get cheap drink cause we're staffed. So we we'd hang out then in the bar downstairs afterwards and we'd have the crack. And that was great, but it just meant you didn't get to go to all these, you know, famous nightclubs. It might be in London because it couldn't go, Speaker 3 00:06:55 It would have been easier if I'd had more money that may well be my gravestone. When w when you did get parts where you generally typecast because of your Irish accent, Speaker 2 00:07:03 What do I know? The thing is I only got to audition priors parts, so it's kind of annoying cause I did, I can, I can do every accent and I love, I love the English accent and I love all, its very different accents within it. And I looked playing those parts, you know, so, and a lot of Americans out of all different types of accents, but because they're my name's Maureen O'Connell I just get typecast and just getting into the Irish part. So it would be up against the Turkey, Turkey, sixaxis, maybe all the time. Um, and yeah, I got a good few, which was not explode also me that you'd be like, Hey, you should write rejections because you're constantly competing against, uh, them the same people like over and over again. Um, yeah, no, but it, it was great when, you know, once he got something, he just delighted to play anything really. Uh, but yeah, I obviously, I would've liked more auditions. That would have been nice. Speaker 3 00:07:58 I mean I ended up like, no, I wasn't, the type of class is Irish, but I did actually end up doing an awful lot of Irish stuff because it wasn't a lot of opportunities in that area. Um, I did a lot of work with, uh, um, something called London, Irish station. Um, uh, so yeah. Um, which was great. Um, it's I find it great to be able to do both and have to, um, have this sort of, uh, I don't think there's a word for it sort of jewel accent because I kind of have like do have native accents because from growing up in both countries, uh, so that's um, very handy and I think it also made it easier for me to learn other accents as well in Irish theater. Like it was, it was good. It was interesting. Um, it was, it was, um, I ran out of the London Irish center in Camden. Speaker 3 00:08:47 So that's why by the, but it's named the producer had previously used a different name and then we came past there. He, um, he did that. It was a great way of meeting other people. I hadn't been massively involved in sort of the Irish scene in London before that. Um, and uh, and then when I started working there, I met a lot of Irish people. I met a lot of second generation, Irish people, third generation, Irish people, also people who've just arrived from Ireland. Um, people who'd been working actors in Ireland or people who'd like Mo come to inland, you know, straight away to go to summer school or whatever, a lovely history of people. And even some English people who wished they were Irish, they were working with there as well. Um, yeah, and also I think it got me involved with the Irish center, which then lets me, um, uh, sort of revising my Irish language, which I initially did so that I could audition for, um, language arts. And then I kind of a bit carried away with that. And it became my main hobby that led to me joining a group called Erin parallels, where we went out drinking in Irish twice a month. And so then I sort of became part of the whale community in London as well. So, uh, I think that's all of that sort of happened because my first audition with London, Irish data, cause I'd never actually been into the ocean before that. And I'm fascinated about this pub of yours. Speaker 2 00:10:14 Yeah, it was, it was just fun. I remember one time, I don't know what happened, but I was really busy serving all these pints and I think it was around March, there was a March there had been a match or something or maybe it's arsenal or someone I don't know. And, um, it was like nearing, it was probably after midnight or something, but anyway, I was getting all these drinks, then all of a sudden I just looked up and the whole, it was like a C O B. Everyone was really, really drunk, but they're also in a fight the whole of the Pope. And they're all kind because they're so drunk, they're kind of moving in slow motion. So things like a wave of humans drawing to drunk and we punch each other and it just, I dunno how it kicked off, but it just, I was like, Oh my God. And there was, it was like, there was glasses broken as well, but in slow motion they did this, no one got hurt. It was just a ridiculous, funny of almost cartoonish Feis and in slow motion. And we all had to stand back or staff to stood by and was like the spray. Speaker 2 00:11:23 It was just nice kind of anarchy, uh, opposing what I was going to that erotic. You know, Speaker 3 00:11:30 You guys went to for when you did your, your, your, your drinking in Irish. Oh, we went to a place called the Al triangle in, um, since we parked and it was actually a girl got up, the owner came from Connemara. It was also an arsenal pub as well. So it's kind of a strange mixture. Um, but we used to have to cancel our, um, our meetups if there was an ice on that, on that day or the day after, because it would be totally swamped by time. And it's a lovely place. I originally used to stay up really late, late license, um, until the neighbors complaint, uh, probably about us. I mean the first time I went there and ended up sitting there, um, the three other Irish girls at four o'clock in the morning singing his mission on June. Speaker 1 00:12:13 Did you find that, that, that, that, that, that, that was, that was, uh, also a tendency that sort like a coming to coming across to England that you would say you could kind of seek out areas that also had had a big Irish contingent? Speaker 3 00:12:24 Um, not really. I originally, when I, when I first went, um, I went, yeah. Um, I went to stay in a squat with some other Irish people, but, um, then I went back briefly and came back again and I just went on my own, but I, um, it was only really when I sort of started working for London, Irish data, basically when I just saw, um, you know, that being Irish could be an advantage to me and booking parts and stuff like that. And then, like I say, I got really into the art language and I made an awful lot of friends. Uh, um, it, it seemed to be actually an awful lot of Irish people live in sort of Harringay area because, um, nearly everybody, I end up working with inland and Irish geisha would end up living within 10 minutes walk my, my class, which was quite strange. So yeah, a lot, an awful lot of people live around like sort of the green lines. Um, I think probably cause there's a lot of flats and rental properties there. What about you Mo Speaker 2 00:13:22 I know, I didn't see gay that the, I feel I don't really like doing that, going away to another country and seeking out my own people. And, but actually just inadvertently kind of ends up happening in a weird way. Cause I suppose places I was looking to rent would have been cheap, cheaper places, an awful lot of the places where Irish people ended up in London because they were the workers, you kind of build London and stuff like this would have been possibly kind of, you know, places that wouldn't have been as rich, I suppose. So there, they would be the place that I ended up renting, you know, in those areas, uh, in poor areas, cause I didn't have enough money. And so then there'd be loads of Irish people there and lots of black people there, you know, uh, lots of different people and not as many English people as you'd want, because you want to get to know English people, you know? Um, but, uh, yeah, so like usually like, uh, I ended up, um, having kind of French and riding with English people or, you know, uh, people that I worked with. So that type of thing, but not a lot of where I lived was, you know, the Irish people, right? So the Irish, you know, Speaker 1 00:14:28 <inaudible>, y'all are listening to the plastic podcasts. We all come from somewhere else. Now I often say that I never show where these interviews will go. And here's a prime example with both Mary and Moe, having worked as actors, the question of accent and authenticity with British and Irish voices sprang to mind. I wondered Speaker 2 00:14:52 How they dealt with a variety of accents from both countries. What follows is an education? Speaker 3 00:14:58 I find that, um, the fact that I actually switched countries when I was seven, I think that's always given me an advantage in that area because I, um, basically when I, I remember making a conscious decision, um, to start speaking in an Irish Jackson, so that I'd fit in better because, uh, they used to be, uh, I don't know if it still goes on, but it used to be an awful lot of stuff at school where kids were like, you go on about how they hated the English because of my history is taught in Irish skills basically. And I'm like, what of, I remember one of our neighbors saying to us, your grandparents killed my grandparents and I'm like, I'm parents came from willing. Ah, but, um, you know, the, um, so I, I just kinda, I made a conscious decision, I think that's so maybe because I did that, that was my first experience of learning accents. Speaker 3 00:15:43 And then it became something where I just sort of gave me take people off television and stuff like that. Um, so I kind of, I kind of was very aware as I'm always, I know a lot people, English people especially say they don't have an accent. If they have an RP accent, they say that they don't have an accent. And I just say them well, if you went to America, would people think you were American? Uh, but some American people are the same. I don't have an accent if they speak, they don't America. And I'm like, that's Paris and see if you've got an accent. Um, so I think it's just, I think it's being very aware, being aware of it and being able to listen and see what the actual differences are. Um, and um, sometimes it's like, it's less than you think. I find a lot of English people when they do our checks is totally overdoing. Speaker 3 00:16:31 This they're taking sort of the main, like each part volume has got a sort of a signature sort of note to it, but they take all of those and make them into one accent. I actually had an American and um, later I was in recently that was directing and he's saying, I'm losing my dish to the sea by the day I'm saying, and he, I had a little separate session with him on, um, on the accent. And he's, he's, he's told me he specialized in art since in his drama school. And he'd, he'd love this play. He'd studied it there as well. And so when I was working with him, he was telling me how he'd actually actually taught him in drama school. And they, what they actually taught him is what you see, you know, those terrible Hollywood RF Texans, but it's actually, they actually get taught that by their teachers. And so I was like, he's got, Oh, right. So I'm actually taking this blow out from cork. And this is apart from Belfast. And this is apart from going apart from public, that's taking them all together. And it's this really weird, um, weird mixture. Speaker 2 00:17:35 I think it's interesting that that guy who had an RPX and said he had a neutral accent, you know, as in like it's normal, like he doesn't have an accent. So, so it probably comes from a psychology that they are the norm. When you look historically at RP, it's called received pronunciation. It was made up by queen Victoria and she administered it to her, her loss basically to the people she wants to differentiate the novels in inverted commas because they're not noble at all. And so that she would know them by how they spoke. And so the peasants didn't get taught this, that absence. So they would have what's called Jacksons. They have all different. Yeah, they were putting in, I said all different types of actions, but, um, uh, they certainly wouldn't have received pronunciation cause they would have been wealthy enough to have had someone come to her house and teach them as a kid to receive this accent. Speaker 2 00:18:30 So it was there. So the fact that that guy, I mean, it just shows a that he had. And I mean, the reason why, you know, Irish history is told the way it is, you know, you hate the English. It's because of a backlash at colonialization. There's a reason for it. We were shadowing entirely English for 800 years. So there's a reason why it's taught education's as much better than the English. I'm sorry, but it is. I went to RADA and they didn't even know that the Irish had their own language as it was a girl who went to incredibly rich, wealthy, young girl went to RADA and she went to boarding school and she's, you know, had all the airs and graces of almost like royalty. And she went, Oh my God, my mom, do you have your, your own language? And I was like, Daisy, get away from me. Speaker 2 00:19:18 Don't talk to me, come on. You know, we're just over the sea, you know, you've got to find out if your teachers aren't telling you, you know, uh, read a book maybe or come over and visit us, talk to us. You know what I mean? So there's a reason why there is that anger, uh, in schools and Irish history. Let me teach you. But we do teach history very well at re I would say, you know, with regard to the world, but far more worldly, uh, then, uh, the English, because English is, are taught it. So when I went to write and when we did the Irish season, they didn't know at the Cromwell was not to beast. They, they, they think that he's a hero. Um, they don't know about the mass graves all around Ireland of what he did to us, uh, that he is a mass murder, that he is, you know, a psychopath. Speaker 2 00:20:07 They don't know any of these things. They don't know any of the effects of colonialization. And to, and to have that guy say who, who speaks in received pronunciation, not even an actual prop it's formed by the land. Cause the reason why they do is because they have the wind coming off of the sea into their miles, which is why they speak the way they do, which is really beautiful accent. And also they love the Dubliners that came in as well to Linfield. It's called the second Dublin's twin city. So it's all mixed up with double knots and, and also from the land and from the weather. And that's why they speak that way. So received pronunciation comes from nowhere. Do you know what I mean? It just comes from purely tourism. And so he has an accent more than any of us has a bloody accent. Speaker 2 00:20:52 It signals his absolute lack of awareness. And that's why there's such a backlash. And there will be a lamb meat. And like, you know, English has stopped having their, their statutes torn down and stuff will be, you know, at least no one's getting killed. You killed us. You know what I mean, generations of us, we're not telling you, we're only digging in your statutes and it all comes down to us and all these things, they filter down into ask them the very, very important to get them. Right. And to know where your own accent comes from the fact, he didn't even know that and thought his accent was normal. Oh, Jesus. It just makes me so angry. You know, Speaker 3 00:21:30 I always have people say that to me too, who don't even like, like a friend who was, neither of her parents were from English. She was like first generation in England. She sent me because I don't have an accent that as she was the one I said, go to America and see if you've got an accent. And uh, and I've had another friend again who was, uh, not, um, you know, her parents weren't English either and they don't know what's going on right now either because I was last time I was over in a visit and she said to me, isn't darlin very homophobic. And I said, well, the prime minister is gay. Speaker 2 00:21:58 You know, that like we, one of the very few countries to vote ourselves, you know, um, eh, to, uh, a repeal, the eight and older for gay marriage, you know, it wasn't just put in, you know, just automatically by a government that came in, we actually voted for it. And now I know, you know, the Catholic church had its way with Ireland and I'll see their tones of really stupid people in Ireland, but we did. Right. Like we did. Right. And we're coming. Right. And we're getting out of that, you know? So we're far more open. I wear like a beacon of light in your most, especially within comparison to Brexit, England, you know? Speaker 4 00:22:35 So when you came across to England and so I'm going to ask modus, first of all, what were the differences that you felt? Speaker 2 00:22:42 Uh, well, I suppose I was going right into rod, which is a different kind of a place that it's not just kind of, I mean, I know, I mean, I think, you know, English people are very, very nice. I just think that, that there seems to be an, like a, an unawareness of their own, uh, history, I would say. Um, and it's the way it's taught and the, and there doesn't seem to be, they're not critical of it. Like I'd still be critical of the way I know why I'm taught, you know, certain things, you know, in Irish history. And I know that as well, for instance, in history and women are, are, are eroded diplomas. That's another thing that we're kind of all kind of, you know, examining that as well. So, but I, I know these things, the reason why I know these things because there's education to be critically thinking, you know, where I think sometimes that, you know what I wanted to speak to people, especially in Ramadan, maybe it's a class thing or something, maybe it was people who are, who went to, I know, Cambridge or something. Speaker 2 00:23:33 They just, I don't know. They just didn't have any critical awareness of the education that they had received. They didn't question it. And what's the point again, education, we don't question it. So I just think that it, it frustrating an awful lot of people coming, not just from Ireland, but from different countries, like say Mexico, um, uh, uh, Sierra Leone, where we felt that there was such a, uh, kind of an almost condescending patronizing kind of a way that we would be communicated to because we were from these countries at this type of thing. And yet you can see the people are lovely and they're really, really nice. It's just like, it's, it's, it's, it's like awareness isn't there necessarily, but I don't think that that's necessarily with everyone. I saw, you know, I went straight to RADA, which is this institution and it's, you know, um, you know, the Royal Academy, you know, so it's the British Royals and stuff. Speaker 2 00:24:26 So it's, it's, it's a different place. Whereas when I went diet and I worked in, in kind of say the old Vic and the rain London and stuff, like, you know, in English, people are loving the really they're like anyone, you know? Um, so I suppose I'd just be kind of thinking about the establishment and you find establishments everywhere, I suppose, in Ireland and England. And I suppose, because they wouldn't have been so powerful for quite some time and right. It is like, and ironically, right. It was set up by George Bernard, Shaw and Irish mantras. Interesting. Um, but like, yeah. So I suppose it's just, uh, yeah. I, I mean, I, it's kind of more to do with, uh, people who, who who'd be very wealthy, who would be in RADA and you would be kind of stoned by, by, by their lack of awareness. And yet you can still see simultaneously that they're lovely as well. And you really do like them, you go Christ, Oh my God, that's so racist. What they, what, you know, the way they're going on. Oh my God, you know, that type of thing. But I saw eight errata. Uh, I love the, I loved English people. Speaker 3 00:25:35 I came know a lot earlier than, um, then murdered. And, uh, it, it was, I came when it was actually really, things were really good in England still. So, um, one thing that I noticed is like, um, was everything was half the price. I mean, and at first I thought you could get good wages as well for temp jobs, stuff like that. And I'm thinking it was, it was more expensive and there was, um, rent, um, everything else was really cheap. And I used to be met, go into the supermarket. I'd be amazed at like what I could come home with, like from a Tanner and stuff like this. Um, and, um, I didn't eat, I didn't go anywhere, like, rather than I did my acting training and the situation that I didn't actually get to meet that many of those kinds of people. Um, uh, um, so I suppose most of the English people I met were just spoken to, you know, pull us all to do sort of the social farm work in offices and stuff. Speaker 3 00:26:28 Cause I w I attended in the city and I didn't meet the people that, but the kind of people I made friends with were all more sort of six girls and people like that. And, um, yeah, I suppose I asked you just at the time we're talking about totally different times. I actually found it was, it was a lot easier place to live than Ireland. Things were very hard to navigate when I left. And, um, you know, it was like, there was massive competition for soccer, for like a very low level job. Like I could clerical officer or something, people would leave university and do secretarial course. Um, I knew somebody who left college because she got offered a job in the counter, in the post office. Um, that's what, that's what it was like when I was in England, it was like people, people didn't even bother staying at school after 16 because they could get such good jobs. You only wouldn't, you only did journey levels. If you going to go to university and they couldn't understand how anybody who did them was like, what is the secretary? Um, so it, yeah, it was a totally different time. Um, and it's, you know, obviously the England I left and the reason why I left was completely different from that. But I assume you want to get onto that one a bit later, Speaker 1 00:27:43 You're listening to the plastic podcasts, find [email protected] or alternatively on Amazon, Apple podcasts or Spotify. And now quick word, if you haven't already subscribed to the plastic podcasts. Well, why not try now simply go to that [email protected] scroll down to the bottom. And there, you'll see a little box to put your own email address in one confirmatory click later, and you'll be getting details of each and every fresh podcast in the time it takes to blink. We'll be back with Moe and Mary in a moment. But first it's time for the plastic pedestal, where I ask one of my guests to nominate a member of the diaspora of personal cultural or political significance to them this week, Nathan Mannion from Epic, the Irish immigration museum with the story of human daring do, or maybe it's daring dome. Speaker 5 00:28:40 There's a guy called captain Paul Boyden. Um, he was an immigrant. He left as a very young child during the latter part of the great Irish famine from <inaudible> County to there suddenly moved to North America. And he was definitely an innovator. He was a culturally significant person in his. You wanted to improve the safety of people at sea. So he invented a vulcanized rubber suit that you could wear and that you could paddle along the surface of the water without being submerged. Um, and it was, and it was supposed to prevent things like hypothermia. And in the case that people didn't chip backdoor accidents at sea, that they could survive. Um, but obviously inventing it wasn't enough. You needed people to be aware of it and you'd be able to adopt us. So it became a kind of self publicist. He decided he would stage a series of very dramatic stones all around the world to draw attention to his invention, to get people interested in it. Speaker 5 00:29:30 Um, there were by modern standards, he would be a Daredevil and they were a bit not. So one of the, one of the most interesting ones he did is he boarded a ship in New York that was bound for, for Britain. And he wanted to jump off at 250 miles off the coast, into the sea to show that, and then paddle back to show that his invention was safe. Um, he approached a number of captains in New York Harbor about this, and they weren't that keen on voluntarily letting somebody jump off the ship. They thought it might be bad for the press. So they said no. So eventually he decided to stole away on a ship, um, which he did wait until they were out at sea stuck on his vulcanized rubber Suge had enough food for 10 days and rubber bag next to him. He brought a double-headed ax just in case any sharks came along while he was trying to paddle home. Speaker 5 00:30:19 And as he was making his way up on deck, he was stopped by a crew member. Obviously there's quite a strange sight display and a big black vulcanized rubber suit on, on, on the, on the ship. And the captain had him locked up until they were nearly in Ireland. Obviously it must've been a smooth talker because by the time they got near the coast of Cove and County cork, he had convinced him to let them try it. So he jumped off the ship, um, near Cape clear, um, with this lighthouse, um, on the horizon, um, as night was coming along, a storm kicked up. He was paddling towards the shore in very rough conditions. Um, he was submerged a couple of times, but he managed to get true. He reached the shore, but unfortunately for him, it was the cliff. So he had to scale the cliff, um, in the date of noise, obviously in, in this sort of suit, he climbed up, um, made its way to the nearest house he could find, which was the coast guard. Speaker 5 00:31:12 And the coast guard opened the door in the middle of the night of a two or three in the morning to this on godly site. He wasn't sure what was standing there until he heard the accent Boyd and told him what he had done. And he thought he was mad. He thought it was, he had actually just banged a sadder. He was insane. So humored him and he led him in. Um, but didn't believe a word of what you told him the next morning, then point and tried to make his way to the nearest big town screen. So he could send a message to the captain saying he wasn't dead and that he'd survived. Um, and by the time he had got this green a crowd and started to follow him, they'd heard about what you don't. This is the biggest thing anybody had ever heard of at the Italian Minow was crazy local news. Speaker 5 00:31:50 Um, so he had a huge group of people there when he sent it off, the papers all picked it up. It was in New York, it was in London, his fees were acknowledged. And then from then on his star was on the racy. He crossed the English channel. He crossed the straits of Gibraltar. He did, uh, several thousands, my leg of the Mississippi river. Um, he ended up working with PT, Barnum, uh, for the, for his circus. They built an artificial Lake, so he could do his, his performances, um, demonstrated for queen Victoria. She took him on board, the Royal yacht, um, apparently him, his stock, uh, one of the ladies in waiting for the queen and approached her first because she was a little bit better dressed than queen Victoria. Obviously she was in her job and her Blackie didn't recognize her, which was an incident, um, a diplomatic incident that was very cleverly avoided, uh, locally. Speaker 5 00:32:37 Um, but yeah, and then he ended up working in the world's first water park in Chicago, Paul Boynton shoots, and then later opened one on Coney islands. And so he gave the world water parks. He gave the world a safety device that is still used today, but the deep sea fishermen, um, uh, in a slightly modified version all over the world, um, he, he, you know, he created press sensation and yeses barely, barely remembered to sell it today. So he went by the station and with the fear of this frogman. Um, but I think he deserves recognition for all of his achievements, Speaker 1 00:33:10 Nathan Manny in there. And if you want to hear more of Nathan's interview or indeed any of the other plastic podcasts, simply go to our website, www.plasticpodcasts.com, click on the episode button and feast your ears. You can also find our archive on Amazon, Apple podcasts or Spotify. Now back to our guests, Mary Tynan and Maureen O'Connell from London back to Ireland, Mary Tynan's return journey was prompted by her diagnosis of myalgic, encephalomyelitis, or Emmy, and the treatment that she received in Britain. So we start by talking about that. Speaker 3 00:33:46 No, I am. I first bought it around. Um, I was diagnosed in 2004 actually. Um, I, uh, I, um, I got, I think I got basically what happened was I thought some kind of flu or prob possibly glandular fever. It never went away. And then after about six months, um, I was, uh, I basically, I had loads and loads of other tests to rule out anything else that could possibly be. And then my doctor diagnosed me with my Africans consent for my license. And I was, um, I was, I was actually living in Ireland for a while because it was just after I'd been in Poland. And I was, uh, I was staying in, uh, in gold for a few months at that point. Um, and sort of between jobs does it work? And I am, uh, so it's, it's a neurological disease that often comes on after, uh, after, um, a viral illness, which is quite a lot of people think maybe what that's, what long COVID is as well. Speaker 3 00:34:45 Um, but they haven't had it for long enough to know. So I, um, so basically I got a little bit better and I was working for a while. And then, um, um, and I, uh, I had some, I have a Pratt check work and it kind of went into remission for a while. Um, I looking back now, I think maybe that was just a coincidence because it turns out it often happens like that, that you go into remission and then it just comes back worse later on. So I was kind of in remission from about 2005 to 2000 and Campbell, never like a hundred percent, but you know, well enough to, you know, I was acting all the time. I was a supply teaching at the same time. I was like, you know, something, I was doing three or four jobs at the same time. Speaker 3 00:35:27 Um, so, um, but then it gradually just started studies come back in about 2010 year on year. It was like getting worse and worse than I do last and last things. And, uh, and during this time also the political and social climate in, in UK was changing an awful lot. And we had austerity and we had television programs, things like benefits streets, and we had disabled people being yelled at on the streets. And the, uh, we had people like Atlas taking over the benefit system making you basically have to go to court with every year in order to just to get your basic disability benefits. Um, so once it became clear to me that I was too low to continue working and, um, I got turned down for one thing and I didn't bother appealing it. And I sort of can make my plans to, um, come back on land and things here had changed a lot in the meantime as well. Speaker 3 00:36:22 So it was kind of like to start off with like, you know, England was up there and Ireland was down there and then he kind of, he kind of <inaudible> went down and down and all that. It was going up and up. And, um, uh, so I kind of gave myself as a deadline. I said, if things haven't improved by, by this point, I will add list of things. If any, one of those things that happens, I would probably have stayed, uh, none of them that, and like I say, I got Ella and Ella and, uh, uh, I wasn't, uh, I'd been on statue stick pay for a while. And then I was like on the, the employment support allowance, but I was, I had been told that it don't bother you while you were on your 13 weeks to whatever that, you know, come up with your stamps. Speaker 3 00:37:06 But once you, and after that, once they start assessing you and I was just like, I can't, I just can't handle this because, uh, if I was well enough to handle this, I would be, I would be well enough to be working. Um, and, uh, so that's when I came back to Ireland and I just find that the attitude of right, it's just much, much kind of country now, it's, it's just, you know, it's gender, the people are just more accepting. Um, but there's a few exceptions as well on, um, on, uh, radio stations, um, uh, on classic hits who tells his talk show and he's very aggressive and comes up with stuff like, Oh, well, the people in the doctor's surgery or medical co Munchhausen's and stuff like that, but in general, you don't get as much of that here as you do in the UK and people don't demonize. Speaker 3 00:37:56 It don't think, Oh, all my comes down to you, sick people and poor people, you know, they don't think that people are far more like, is it like then they asked blame the knee or unemployed neighbor, um, if they're having problems, um, and the government as well. And I said, assume, um, you know, th they're not perfect. Um, yeah, you know, this, and we could have a much better health care system and stuff, but I've never felt like here that anybody's, anybody's going to look at me in a wheelchair or whatever, and think scrounger, um, and that's a big difference, and that's not the England that I moved to in the first place. It's not the England I was born in. It's not Speaker 6 00:38:36 The England, my parents moved in sixties, but that's what it's like now. So yeah, I feel safer here basically. Thank you. Thank you. Um, Mo you, um, you also moved back across to, to Ireland and around about the same time, 2015, 2016 years later. Um, uh, and what prompted that, Speaker 2 00:38:56 Um, was I been doing acting, um, in London just after Rodan and say it was kind of only being seen for Irish parts kind of a bit frustrating. So there's very few auditions, but I was feeling like before I went to ride anyway. And, um, so I wanted to come back for anyway for 2016 for the centenary, which was the 100 years since the 1916 rebellion. And so there's gonna be lots of celebrations about that. My granny was involved in it and, uh, um, she was put in prison and then reconciled. So, um, so I felt I had to do something. She was like, come on, I'm on the Irish female freedom fighters. And so I researched that when I came home in 2015 and, uh, that was a bit too Africa didn't have enough money for that. So I got money really. So I stumbled upon the story of the Irish proclamation of pay that was made. Speaker 2 00:39:52 And it's a great story. Uh, they to do it in one night in secret, and they didn't have enough tools to do it. And James Conley, the gravitation, he came to mass and to do it, and there's 29 mistakes on it because they had to do that. They were doing it, you know, under duress kind of thing. And, uh, the, the, you know, the British were kind of, uh, watching them knew they were up to something. And then what the, um, uh, there's like, uh, yeah, so there's also any users, like different fonts and all this stuff, which I never knew before. And it's a beautiful document as well. It's so beautifully written and the, you know, the thought energy behind it is amazing. It's, it's like, it's, you know, Shakespearian almost when you read it. Um, so yeah, so I decided I'd make that, uh, and I didn't start my granny intuition. Speaker 2 00:40:39 Uh, so I played my granny and I thought the one person's Claire would be me. So, uh, one of the things that she did do, she, she kinda made bullets and she trance, she transported the bullets and she transformed them and potatoes and baskets of potatoes with winter potatoes. So I put that into the story. Um, just that little scene as it Camille, I play. Um, but, uh, yes. So then it's the three printers have to print this, um, document, they get a printed and then they give it to project peer super claims, uh, and the steps that GPO on Easter Monday. And so we shot outside the GPO and everything. And, um, yeah, so, so that's what I kind of came home to do is just make my own stuff. I missed that I was knocked down anyway and I'll have in your own voice, you know, and you always obviously have to give over to the director. Speaker 2 00:41:28 So I just trust the director, but I had directed already. So kind of had developed a voice and I find it, I love acting whatever every now and again, if I do too much acting, I start to get on and I want to kind of direct, and I want to say something directly from me and then what to do that for a, I was like, Oh, I'd like to do with acting. So, um, CSS, I've been doing, been making films and I've been doing, uh, acting in, in Ireland. And, uh, yes, it's going pretty, pretty good at the moment. Speaker 7 00:42:00 Clean your own grandmother. Yes. Yeah. Was that weird? No, no, not at all. Speaker 2 00:42:06 Never measured that cause she died before I was born. Um, but I had read an autobiography that she read that she written and, uh, she just said that being coming along and everything was the best time for life and that, um, she just had the best crack, you know, G adventurous spirit. She was locked up in limit prison and stuff. And then when she got out, she was applauded on horseback with her and her mates there. Uh, you know, um, she mentioned a lot of the history books and stuff. And then of course, when devil era came in, what he did was as a president, he took the rights away from women after the proclamation saying, you know, equal rights for men and women. And this is the, you know, one of the big reasons why they, you know, why they were successful was coming to more, you know, they were brilliant what they did to support and to not just support, but they did as, you know, several things. Speaker 2 00:43:00 Um, we, can't just Mark a bit cheating, um, you know, uh, you know, female or your soldiers into battle in 1916 and stuff, you know, so it's like they were proper, they were properly part of the whole Shabbat buying, you know, devil era that just was like, yeah, yeah. Back into the kitchens, you know, fucking, just have your babies showed up. And, um, so obviously she's not big trying to Delaware and stuff. He didn't like that. And she, uh, she found that very difficult and my dad says, he thinks she finds it very difficult having to, he thought you would have been a good teacher and, uh, she loved the community and stuff. And what she, she, she found that difficult than having to just retire almost into just being, you know, into the house, milking the cows, just, just being a mother, you know, not that that's a, you know, not a worthy thing to do. Of course it is. But if you want to do something else, we should be late too, obviously. Yeah. Speaker 7 00:43:58 Yeah. So you used to make your own films as a kid. Yes. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:44:03 Yeah. I shot, I shot like fairytales, uh, because people would know, but you know, my friends would know what happened. And so I went up to write a script. Do you know what I mean? I don't, you know, it's the bit where that red riding hood gets attack. No one teaches action. Um, so, so yeah, so I shot for each as also shot funnily enough. Uh, I never seen cycle, but I used, I basically shopped psycho. It's terrible though. It was very funny. It was meant to be scary obviously, but no, it was, um, it was a comedy and accident company. <inaudible>, Speaker 1 00:44:49 You're listening to the plastic podcasts. We all come from somewhere else. That's a hashtag and a philosophy all in one having spent so much time looking at the past, we spend this last session talking about the present and the future Mo O'Connell talks about filming in Ireland and founding the Dublin international comedy film festival. Well, Mary discusses notes from Xanadu. And we talk about how that project went from review blog to being the world's first online art center. Probably. Speaker 3 00:45:18 Um, I was kind of, I've done a lot since COVID started because, um, I'd got involved in this online school and I'd been doing a lot of stuff with that. And I had also some strange reason got madly into it again, I'd learned Python programming and stuff. And, um, kind of just all the sort of thinking outside of the box stuff was coming. Like, I, my ideas were just going from everywhere. Um, and I, um, I, uh, so I just thought, I, you know, obviously I know a lot of people in the arts and I just easily contacted loads and those people, um, some of them professionals, some of them semiprofessional, some of them amateurs, um, uh, people like singer songwriters that I knew it was like, can I, can you give me some of your videos or some of your recordings, uh, photographers, painters, uh, a friend, uh, you just puppetry? Speaker 3 00:46:09 Um, uh, as on the film that I was in myself, I asked if I could use that, um, a lot of writers as well. Um, I have a couple of friends who write negative columns for us and, um, and I got the Oscar for a launch. We can put yours over the may bank holiday weekend. So for four days we had seven different things coming up each day. Um, it was, um, I promoted it very heavily as well. And we had a lot of visitors from, I lost count of the amount of countries originally. I was counting. I was going in everyday and checking book Evo, you get bored of that after a while. But I think the last count was about 60 or 70 different countries. And there was every continent apart from Antarctica. Um, and it got to the stage where I do actually get people that I don't know who contacted me with submissions and, and asked to have exhibitions. Speaker 3 00:46:58 Um, and we've had people from Ireland do that. And people from America do that as well. And I'd always had the, I'd had the theater in my head before, um, the arts center, um, because that's what came into my head when I was doing the school. Cause that's when I got into the whole business of doing stuff in video calls, which I had no experience already before. COVID I could've counted on the fingers of one hand, how many times I'd been on a video call and they would have been auditions. So, um, um, so yeah, I was in the deep panel, I think I used about 12 different software packages here. Yeah. Um, but yeah, so I had the idea of the theater. And so then I thought, well, the theater will be part of the art center. It's like, you know, if you had a building that was an art center, part of it could be a fitter. Speaker 3 00:47:45 Um, so it's, it's separate as well because there'll be, there's give a little boats to the theater who will never look at the art center. Um, so I just called it down to do online theater to try it. And, and we had a launch concert in September. So again, that was me contacting different people. Some of them were existing contributors. Um, so that was just a one night only, it was invited audience. Um, but then obviously the plan was always to, um, to, you know, have a proper hub plays and stuff like that. So, uh, we decided to do two, um, classics number one because wouldn't have to, uh, pay, um, rights obviously. Um, uh, and yeah, and also I wanted to short plays. I want to play with small costs and I also wanted something that's not going to have very much props in it. Speaker 3 00:48:35 Something that could be easily adapted to an online theater. Um, so that's why I ended up choosing the proposal and writers to the C um, things, other plays are all actually very prop heavy, something like, um, in the shadow of the Glen, uh, Oh, the sinkers wedding is like there, the other two short ones, I looked up by it's like, Tinker's wedding. It's like probably got about a hundred bucks to that. Whereas I'm riding to the sea. I could cut it down to about three, a lot of us in the Emmy community and chronic illness community more widely have lived a lot of lives online, but it's more being, you know, you've on Facebook messenger and you're typing to each other and stuff that wasn't the video side to it. And then, um, when, when COVID started and everybody got onto zoom and you'd see in Skype and Facebook live and whatever everybody's on there now. Speaker 3 00:49:27 So it's kind of all everybody else into the sort of the boat that we were already in, because we don't already been doing this. We kind of had an advantage over other people, certainly a psychological advantage. We're used to the isolation we're used to, um, you know, not seeing people for a long time. We're used to all of that. And, um, so I think we were bad. We weren't, it wasn't a shock to us. We were about a place to sort of jump in and, and adapt to the new normal as they say. And, uh, and then everybody else was with us. So I'm not sure if any of the actors, um, um, well, possibly one of them, but I've heard her, if any of the other actors would have been interested in, um, being in an online, online play two to three years ago, if I'd asked them or it, or if I'd put up like the crossing call and backstage, I'm not sure who would have applied for it. Um, so I think that because that's changed an awful lot, I just hope that it stays that we, you know, they're new art forms that Speaker 6 00:50:28 We've created during this time last, when things do, if they do go back to normal, um, Mo when you came across about red cross, why would you say that you, um, uh, did that in order to, to make a film about 1916, uh, had you tried making films, uh, whilst you were in London? Speaker 2 00:50:46 Um, well, so I was saying just about London and I think there's like a big, um, kind of infrastructure as regards to the, uh, film industry. Does it, there's an industry, basically. There's a lot more money. So if you're in any way talented, you get sucked up into the industry, you usually become like an 80 or something, you know? And, um, so you had to pay your bills. And so you don't get to direct very early on that quickly. Uh, or at least I find that difficult anyway. I mean, it just seemed that you needed a lot of capital to begin. So I, in Dublin, I would say that there were, there was a film scene. I was it's, um, I think it's becoming an industry. I think that we have a really good studio choice studios and they're McKnight, and we're getting another one that's going to be coming up in Greystones that's just been okay, but we can't cancel. Speaker 2 00:51:36 So we have element pictures and everything, and, uh, which are putting production company to make like normal people and stuff. Um, so yeah, so I think things are really changing our, but I still think that aren't so small that it kind of has to be a part of, um, England on the U S in a way, at least right now, anyway. Um, but so what it does live for is there's a of talented people on the grind. So if you want to make something as director, you want to break your teeth and you don't have any money, you can just kind of say, well, listen, I've got no money, but does anyone want to make this I'll pay for expenses? You want to make some you like my script or whatever. And so, because I had girls shot already, cause I shot her before I went to RADA. So I had a short film to show people that I was able to make them. And so we just, uh, people just said, yeah, that's, I mean, there's a making community in Dublin. Ireland is lovely and everyone's really helpful and every just wants to make stuff. So I started to make films and like immediately direct write direct produced edits. And it was also, whereas in London I found that more difficult Speaker 6 00:52:43 That, that, that, that smallest of what you call a scene that gives you more freedom. Do you think? Speaker 2 00:52:48 Uh, yeah. So is there any start out, like to take on a big role and to cut your teeth immediately to start doing it immediately? It helps definitely. Um, there are advantages and disadvantages to each kind of, to being in London or to being in Dublin, but at least in Dublin, you can make a Reiki shorts. And if you're in any way talented, that starts to show, and then it can kind of go, you know, to the funders or to whoever I want to be a director, look a directed this, you know, with no money. Um, and then you get, then you start to get breaks, which the job. So I, I, I was standing, I was, I did a screen art in shorts there in the middle of COVID make home written by like Akash. And so I directed that and that primarily the cork international film festival there in November, and it's a night going to be having it still in premiere and the Dublin international film festival, uh, in, um, things March night coming up. So I've just been told and putting the laurels now on the poster and everything. So, so the boat kind of major film festivals, you know? So, uh, yes, that's great. But I mean, that's, that's a lot of work that, that went before. Speaker 6 00:53:59 Speaking of film festivals, you made your own. Speaker 2 00:54:02 Yes. Yeah, it did. So there was a, I thought it was odd that there wasn't like a comedy film festival and that often comedy films can be kind of pushed aside a little bit in the film festival circus, certainly an art in many ways, because you've got to say, Oh, you know, drama, it's important. I don't know why they, why are they going to seem to hold a little, a little bit higher sometimes at least. Um, and so I just thought, well, there should be a comedy festival though. I suppose I'll do it because no one else had done it. Uh, it was kind of waiting for someone else to do for a few years. And I saw sure here, listen, let's just do it myself. So I did myself and it will all way down done line this year. And it was great actually really cool. And you know, people from all over the world coming into zooms and, uh, talk to us about their films, great films, brilliant filmmakers out there. And, um, yeah, then we had standup comedians as well, performing on zoom and all the audiences coming in for that, that was, it was great. It was Henry the bows around it was really enjoyable and the films are so funny. So it's a great relief during COVID, you know, Speaker 6 00:55:07 I do have one final question actually, and you both inspired me to edit. It kind of comes in two parts, but bear with me if you will. And that is one having lived in both England and autumn, would you call Ireland home? And if so, what does home mean? Speaker 2 00:55:24 Um, yeah, I suppose, I mean, I it's, it sounds too, I feel most comfortable here. I suppose I feel more comfortable here than I did in England. Um, um, I suppose it just means basically put down your roots and basically you can grow, I suppose it wasn't much growing in England reading because, you know, you can get auditions and, um, you know, you couldn't make the films that you want to make because didn't have the capital just needed money to be there really, whereas margins you don't and, um, better or worse, you know? So I so much happier because I get to express myself here. I mean, there's still a fight. Uh, always there always is when you're a creative. Um, but it's just, it's much more doable here, Speaker 6 00:56:15 Um, up until, you know, well say seven years ago, I would've said that London was my home. Um, I was say as it's like, I lived Speaker 3 00:56:24 There by choice for most of my adult life. I mean, on your new mobile algos and England, and I do an Island, they seem to be easier to speak Irish in England than it would in London than it is here. And I would have, it would have definitely have been my home, but I think the London that was my home has gone. Um, the country that was my home has gone up it's I don't want to get too political, but I think it has, it's been gradually destroyed over the last 10 years. And it's just accelerated. I mean, that's why I laughed really. It takes, it takes a while to settle into a new place. And, um, like I didn't build up my London network overnight. Um, but now I'd say, yeah, Ireland is definitely my home, but to me it needs a sense of security. And also I think it means a sense of sort of knowing what's going on and, you know, knowing how, how things work, which is why I suppose I couldn't have said it was my home initially. Um, so you're figuring out how do you do this? Where did you go? How did you meet people? Um, how does, how does even the industry, you work in work in a different country? Um, yeah. Well, all of that sort of stuff. Um, that's what, yeah. Security, safety, friendship, family. Um, yeah, all of that, I suppose, safety, Speaker 8 00:57:47 You be investing to the plastic podcasts, tales of the Irish diaspora with me, Doug Nevada, and my guests Mo O'Connell and the Mary title, the plastic pedestal was provided by Nathan 90th music. My Jack to that find [email protected] Email us the plastic podcasts, gmail.com, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Firstly podcasts are sponsored using public funding by arts council.

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