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Domhnall Gleeson Feels That Crackle in the Air

Tell me about you and Enda Walsh’s plays. What is it about them?

I really didn’t understand Enda fully, I don’t think, or get the full dose of him until I saw “The Walworth Farce.” Which I saw in a tiny room in Galway. It blew my head off in a way that was totally new. I was shocked to my core by it.

It’s a father and two sons, and he forces them to put on this farce every day. And what we’re watching is one day when the farce breaks down. They’ve been doing it for like 15 years, 20 years, this farce, and this other person arrives into their midst, and things just go off the rails. I left like, shook, really shook. I’d laughed so much, but I’d also never fully cried — like fully just wept, twice.

In a theater, you hadn’t ever fully cried before?

No. I’d been moved to tears, maybe, but not like this. Not mouth agog and tears just going as you were still engaged. And I was like, I don’t know what this is. Enda makes me react in a way that I don’t understand, and I just love that about him.

When people ask what “Medicine” is about, what do you tell them?

It’s a play partly about how we treat those that we describe as mentally ill. And the role of empathy in that and the role of medicine, good and bad, in that, and the importance of care, you know, and love. I think that’s at its core what it’s about. But it certainly doesn’t let you know that up front.

I mean, the lobster costume is a distraction.

[Laughs] Yeah, I know.

Your character, John, dreams of being invisible. Are you able to go out and be a regular person around here, anonymous on the street?

There are days where you feel much more anonymous, in a nice way. I’m living close to the theater, so just getting to see the skyline and feel New York and all the rest of it, it’s amazing. Being able to walk around and feel like you just disappear into the fabric of that is gorgeous. I love that. It makes me feel very young and reminds me of when I was back here when I was 22. I just love soaking up that energy, and I love the cold air. And then other days you do feel a little bit like, “Oh, no,” conscious that maybe people have recognized you.

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