Myles is no Bottom Dog as he takes top acting award

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Myles Breen and Liam O'Brien of Bottom Dog with President Michael D Higgins and Sabina at a reception in celebration of the festival, founded by fellow Limerick man George C Heslin
LIMERICK actor Myles Breen has taken a top acting award at a New York Theatre festival.

LIMERICK actor Myles Breen has taken a top acting award at a New York Theatre festival.

Breen won best actor at Origin’s 1st Irish Festival this week, which is itself founded and run by Limerick man George C Heslin.

The actor and playwright’s hit one-man play Language UnBecoming A Lady has been playing to huge acclaim in Manhattan’s Cell Theatre as part of the festival.

The Bottom Dog Theatre Company, directed by Limerick’s own Liam O’Brien, received standing ovations throughout its run in New York and O’Brien said the plaudit for Myles was “the culmination of seven years work for Bottom Dog and a lifetime of work by Myles Breen”.

The play is set in the dressing room of an ageing drag queen who reveals his life and loves, victories and defeats, ranks among veteran actor Breen’s finest performances, with the actor also writing the piece and pouring his heart into a very loosely autobiographical story of one gay man’s life growing up in Ireland.

Asked recently if it ranks among his favourite characters Breen said when he started writing it, “this character suddenly took on a life of its own.

“And obviously playing it as well - it is very close to my heart and one of the biggest challenges I ever had, both as a performer and a writer. When I did it first, you just don’t know, but the response from audiences, both old, young, gay and straight, was overwhelming. So in one sense it is my baby and to bring it across the pond, is very exciting,” he added.

Myles was making his debut, he joked, “off-off-off-off-off Broadway” and said he was “excited to see what their reaction is to it, because it tells a very Irish version of gay rights, I suppose, and gay liberation, which would be very different in 
America. So to see how things worked here, and worked there, will be interesting to see what it is like,” he explained.

Comedian Pat Shortt, who was also nominated for best actor, took home the festival’s Origin Award for his performance in his show Selfie, in which he created comic havoc at the Irish Arts Center in New York.

In all, seven mainstage plays - from Belfast, Dublin, Limerick, and New York - were seen in competition during the five-week festival which began on September 2, and continues until October 4.

See Origin Theatre for more.