Rory Keenan plays Ian in Shining City at Theatre Royal Stratford East, directed by Artistic Director Nadia Fall. Written by Olivier Award-winning playwright Conor McPherson (The Weir, The Seafarer), Shining City is a poignant and unsettling exploration of guilt, loneliness and the spaces between us.
Rory Keenan stars alongside Curtis-Lee Ashqar, Michelle Fox and Brendan Coyle in this first London revival since premiering at the Royal Court in 2004 to critical acclaim.
Shining City is at Theatre Royal Stratford East 17th September to 23rd October 2021. Tickets are on sale here.
You’re starring in Shining City at Theatre Royal Stratford East, what can you tell us about it?
This is the first major revival of the play in many years and Stratford East is the perfect venue to host it. We have a superb cast and creative team and we’re all very excited to bring the play to audiences who know the play but more particularly to those who don’t.
What was it about Conor McPherson’s script that made this play really appeal to you?
What I find most appealing is Conor’s character detail and dialogue. It’s a joy to perform. He writes in every-day speak but with a very succinct rhythm. Within each speech there is a failure of communication – as there is in real life. He heightens that and makes it thrilling to watch.
You play Ian, tell us about the character and what you enjoy most about the role?
Ian is embarking on a career in therapy, having left the priesthood. It’s a new start but there are consequences. Like all the characters, Ian is running away from something. But it is not readily apparent. I most enjoy the aspect of his character that shields secrets. He encourages his clients to be open and honest while his own traumas are killing him inside. I love playing that internal struggle.
How have you been helped to shape the role by director, Nadia Fall?
Nadia is superb with text. From day one she has been forensic with examination of the play, and it’s paying dividends. She really understands the delicate shifts of each characters’ motivations. She’s also an excellent communicator, and it’s been a very rich, good-humoured rehearsal period.
What’s your favourite experience of the rehearsal room?
Michelle brought some delicious home bakes a couple of times. They didn’t last.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Shining City?
If you don’t know Conor’s work I would urge people to come and see this play. It’s a stunning piece of work. And if you do know his work, this will be right up your alley. I think we’ve very faithfully served the play. We have beautiful performances and a gorgeous design. And it’s well under two hours.