An American girl, Deirdre O’Connell, is the heroine of this unusual history of a Dublin theatre.
Born and raised in the Bronx, of Irish immigrant parents, O’Connell studied acting at the New York Dramatic Workshop and then with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. There she was introduced to The Method, the Stanislavski System, which became the ruling passion of the rest of her life.
Incidentally, she was not alone. American method actors include Marlon Brando, Sidney Poitier, James Dean, Paul Newman, Rip Torn, Eli Wallach, Geraldine Page, Shirley Knight, Al Pacino, Karl Malden, Ellen Burstyn, Ben Gazzara and Marilyn Monroe.
(Dustin Hoffman portrays an overly devoted method actor in “Tootsie.” He once held up the filming of a commercial by questioning the motivation of his character, a tomato.)
The Method was a thoroughly established training technique in the United States, but not in Ireland, when in 1963 Deirdre O’Connell, age 23, moved to Dublin and established her teaching studio and repertory company, Focus Theatre, finding its physical home in an abandoned clothing label factory on Pembroke Place. Working on a shoestring, she kept the workshop and the small, 72-seat theatre going until . . . . .
Read the rest of the story at APR.org.