Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Gerard Murphy 1948 - 2013

Publicity image of Gerard Murphy c. 1975
On Monday afternoon, we received the very sad news that actor Gerard Murphy had passed away. Gerard made a huge impact on the Citizens stage and was an audience favourite at the Theatre in the 70s and 80s. He returned to the theatre last year in Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape directed by Artistic Director, Dominic Hill.
Dominic said “I feel deeply honoured to have met and worked with Gerard on Krapp’s Last Tape, and, subsequently, to have been able to call him a friend over the past 12 months. He brought to rehearsals  huge physical bravery, a fierce intellect, a burning desire to give the best performance he could and a wonderful and mischievous sense of humour. His portrayal of Krapp was both hilarious and heart-breaking. He is a Citz legend.”
Publicity image for Krapp's Last Tape. Credit Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Born in Newry, Northern Ireland in 1948, Gerard Murphy first came to work at the Citizens Theatre in 1974, and was a regular on the Citz stage for the following three years. Gerard continued to appear at the Citizens in various productions until 1998. He performed in plays by Brecht, Wilde, de Sade and Shakespeare, appearing as Macbeth opposite David Hayman as Lady Macbeth. Other defining performances included the title role in an epic production of Chinchilla, written by Robert David MacDonald. Gerard also had a long association with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he was an associate artist and played the lead role in Juno and the Paycock opposite Judi Dench.

Gerard in Chinchilla in 1977
As well as appearing on stage, Gerard worked in film and television, appearing in Hollywood films Batman Begins and Waterworld and television programmes Father Ted, Spooks, Waking the Dead and 1998 series Vanity Fair.

Gerard made his return to the Citizens in May 2012, appearing in the title role in Samuel Beckett’s solo play Krapp’s Last Tape. Krapp’s Last Tape was performed as a double bill with Footfalls in Dominic’s first season here as Artistic Director, a season that also featured David Hayman as King Lear. As well as receiving 4- and 5-star reviews, Gerard was nominated for a CATS Award for Best Male Performance for his role, with Dominic nominated as best director for the same production.
Speaking to Neil Cooper in The Herald about returning to the theatre where he began his acting career, Gerard reflected “Coming back here, it feels like coming home.  It is home to me in so many ways. It’s where I started, and it’s the most important theatre ever.” Read the full article online 
Reviewing Gerard’s performance, Joyce McMillan in her 5*review of Krapp’s Last Tape noted
 “...in Gerard Murphy, this great play finds a near-perfect voice and stage presence, full of that dark relish for language, and for the absurdity of life, that is – for all of us – part of our essential human armoury against the dying of the light.”
We have collected some of the tweets about the news of Gerard's death on Storify

1 comment:

Edward Harkins said...

Really sad news. I had the privilege and the pleasure of speaking with Gerard in the bar after his superb performance in Krapp’s Last Tape at the Citz. He was still hot, flushed and happy with the performance and delighted to have come back to the Citz. he was also a delightful guy to spend time in the bar with that night. I'm lucky to have such fond memories of both the man and a performance of his.