"Awake The Dead": Maria McDermottroe in Conversation with Seamus Hosey

Portrait 1 Maria McDermottroe (Photo by Sarah Fitzgerald)

On Saturday 4 January 2014 actress Maria McDermottroe will be in conversation with broadcaster Seamus Hosey as part of their illustrated celebration of John Huston’s 1987 adaptation of ‘The Dead’. The Dead was John Huston’s last film which he directed in Los Angeles in 1987 at the age of 80 with a distinguished Irish cast including Donal McCann, Anjelica Huston, Donal Donnelly, Helena Carroll, Cathleen Delaney, Marie Kean and Maria McDermottroe as Molly Ivors.

Writing of the film in The New Yorker the distinguished critic Pauline Kael said, “Huston never before blended his actors so intuitively, so musically.” Set in Dublin in 1904 at an Epiphany dinner party held by two elderly sisters, the story was adapted for the screen by John Huston’s son Tony and directed from his wheelchair by the ailing director. This illustrated public interview at the James Joyce Centre will focus on the vivid, often funny and sometimes very moving personal memories of Maria McDermottroe of the making of the star studded movie who talks for the first time about the unique experience of filming The Dead over six weeks in a studio at the edge of the desert in Los Angeles in 1987.

The film won a series of international awards and The New York Times Film Critic Vincent Canby described the adaptation, direction and acting as “close to faultless.” The evening with Maria McDermottroe and Seamus Hosey will be a unique celebration of a landmark film interpretation of Joyce’s greatest short story revealing the fascinating behind the scenes stories of one of the greatest Irish films ever made, directed by one of the world’s greatest masters of cinema.

Maria McDermottroe was born in Sligo Town and her acting career has spanned a wide range of distinguished work in theatre, film, television and radio. In John Huston’s film of The Dead she played the feisty Molly Ivors. Among her other film credits are This Is My Father, The Boxer, Angela’s Ashes, Blackwater Lightship, Bogwoman, Trojan Eddie, Veronica Guerin and Swansong. She has created two of the most memorable roles in Irish television in her characters of Venetia in Glenroe and the hilarious and irrepressible Mrs. GIlhooley in Killinascully created by Pat Shortt. Her theatre work started with Hilton Edwards and Michael Mc Liammoir in The Gate and has embraced playing in most Irish theatres in an acclaimed career as one of our finest actors in such notable productions as Dancing at Lughnasa, Carthaginians, Philadelphia Here I Come, The Risen People, The Field, Moll and Baglady. In RTE Radio 1 she has been directed by Seamus Hosey in interpretations of several Irish Short Stories in The Francis Mac Manus Short Story Competition Series.

Seamus Hosey worked until 2012 for almost 30 years as RTE Radio Producer and Broadcaster in the Arts and Features Department of RTE Radio 1. In the course of a long career in RTE Radio he produced The Arts Show, The Poetry Programme, The Francis Mac Manus Short Story Competition, The Book On One, The Thomas Davis Lecture Series and worked in a wide range of popular programmes with presenters Mike Murphy, Miriam O’Callaghan, Tom McGurk, Rodney Rice and Des Hickey. In the Arts and Features area he also produced and presented several acclaimed radio documentaries including programmes chronicling The Abbey Theatre’s visit to Russia in 1988 with The Field and The Great Hunger, The Gate Theatre in Jerusalem in 1986 with Juno and the Paycock and The Abbey Theatre’s historic opening night of Brian Friel’s play Dancing at Lughnasa on Broadway in 1992.He has written extensively on theatre, the arts and travel for several newspapers and magazines in Ireland and abroad. His book Speaking Volumes based on his radio series exploring the favourite reading of dozens of eminent Irish people was published by Blackwater Press. He has lectured and taught workshops on Writing for Radio and contributed to the volume Maeve Binchy’s Writing Class. Over the years he has been closely involved with Listowel Writers’ Week as Literary Adviser. Since leaving RTE he is working as a freelance television producer, lecturer and regular columnist in An Irishman’s Dairy in The Irish Times.


To book your seat at this talk call us at the James Joyce Centre at 01-8788547, or email [email protected], or click here to book your seat securely via PayPall through our shop.

 PLEASE NOTE: The Centre will be closed between 22 December until 2 January – during this period please phone 0851127942, if you wish to make a booking by phone during this period.