Emma Kiely sits sits down with Dramsoc’s Trainspotting star and aspiring comedian, Hugh Carr
Dramsoc most recently produced and staged an adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s bestseller Trainspotting, a cult classic film starring Ewan McGregor, directed by Danny Boyle. At the centre of it is gaeilgeoir and Donegal native Hugh Carr. Known to many as “that hilarious guy in my English tutorial”, I got to sit down with the aspiring actor and comedian to talk all things drama, film and comedy.
Everyone in UCD was talking about Dramsoc’s Trainspotting and it’s no mystery why. Hugh combined the perfect amount of comedy and drama to climb into the iconic shoes of Ewan McGregor and bring Mark Renton to the UCD stage. Hugh was quick to tell me that it wasn’t easy work, “it was so intense, emotionally and physically draining, but so worth it and I would 100% do it again.” The role was perfect for him as he says that he enjoys roles that embody elements of both drama and comedy. He enjoys the gratifying elements of drama saying, “you do drama and it’s so rewarding”, but it’s clear due to his comedic-like demeanour and constant joke-cracking, comedy is his passion. Hugh has been involved with Dramsoc since his first year, beginning with The Freshers Project and playing Master Boyle and Tom in Philadelphia, Here I Come, although he claims the character of Garr in that play is one of his dream roles.
Prior to starring in the play, Hugh says that he has loved the film since he saw it for the first time when he was sixteen and “just used the play as an excuse to watch the movie as much as possible. I just love it.” Heroin-addict Mark Renton was a far stretch from Hugh’s own character, who not having an in-depth knowledge of drug addiction, said that “everything that I knew about drug addiction, it was from PSAs and school. That was the extent of my information.” The play shed great light on the issue of drug addiction, with Hugh making a speech after every performance offering details of charities and organisations that help addicts and reminding us that this is still a prominent issue, not just something that existed in 1990s Edinburgh. Prior to college, Hugh was with the Letterkenny Youth Theatre for three years and the National Youth Theatre for a year. You can check out some of his amateur short films, including the masterpiece “Piña Collider” which chronicles Hugh escaping from a killer coconut.
Hugh’s talent is not just limited to acting alone. He has also ventured into directing, having directed the Irish-speaking play An Triail with Dramsoc last year. Hugh also dabbled in comedy, co-writing and directing the Dramsoc pantomime with John Sherry. On writing comedy, Hugh noted that when writing comedy “it’s better done in teams”, as getting a second opinion on jokes makes for better content. He also says that you have to suspend your attachment to the first draft and “be willing to kill your darlings.” Hugh is also an aspiring comedian saying “I love doing comedy so much, it is genuinely the thing I’m most passionate about.” He cites Lee Mack, Dara O’Briain and the rest of the Mock The Week cast as comedians he likes, and one of his posts on the “Ireland Simpsons Fans” Facebook page has accumulated over a thousand likes.
When discussing the correlation between his acting and his studies, Hugh attests that the study of theoretical drama is extremely beneficial to any aspiring actor, “I think it definitely helps you understand the technical side of it.” He says it also helps in gaining a
more cohesive understanding of the original text, because “if I want to do this as accurately to what the author was intending, it helps to understand what they meant.” Hugh likes to stay as true to the text as possible, wanting to preserve the authenticity of the original text in his performances saying “I take whatever is on script.”
In terms of his favourite works, Hugh states Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Macmillan is his dream theatrical role: “It’s one of the shows I would love to do so much.” The play is a one-man show, usually played by a comedian, the original performer being comic Jonny Donahoe, who discusses all of the reasons why his suicidal mother should stay alive. Hugh says it is the perfect mixture of comedy and drama and is an interactive play, calling for the audiences to list out some of the reasons for the mother’s will to live. In regards to directing, Hugh says that Freedom Of The City by Brian Friel would be his dream directorial project.
I asked Hugh if he had to adapt a film for the stage, which would one would it be. He suggested Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 picture Drive saying “I think you could do something really cool and stylistic with it.” Resorting back to comedy, he says “I would love to see a stage adaptation of The Thick Of It, the British governmental satire show, that sort of pressure-cooker comedy.”
In terms of his next movements, Hugh will travel to Belfast with Dramsoc for another run of Trainspotting and will be in a production of another Macmillan play Lungs back in Donegal. Hugh will be studying a masters in Irish Literature and Culture in UCD, so you have another year to check out his brilliant performances and stomach-aching comedy.