Month: January 2021

Elkhart teen used faith, hope to beat cancer

first_img *** It was every mother’s worst nightmare. Tonya Ebright of Elkhart was only 22, juggling a toddler, an infant and a full-time job when her daughter started sleeping more than usual and complaining that her bones hurt. When she took 3-year-old Destinee Smith to the doctor’s office, she was told her daughter had strep throat. Another time, it was scarlet fever. But Ebright knew something more was going on. Eventually, Ebright obtained an appointment at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. There, Ebright got an answer: her daughter had leukemia. “It was a huge life adjustment,” Ebright said. “Your normal becomes different.” After the diagnosis, Destinee had to be taken to the hospital three times a week for treatment, and was often hospitalized for days at a time as she battled high fevers. During those bouts of fever, Destinee sometimes experienced hallucinations. “That was very scary … She told me one time that she was talking to her angels,” Ebright said. “I was like, ‘Please don’t take her home right now.’” As her treatment progressed, Destinee lost her hair more than once. “That was hard,” Ebright said. “It would come out in clumps and she would just cry.” Sometimes, hospitalizations could last up to a week, during which Ebright would drop everything to stay with her daughter. Meanwhile, she had a full-time job and was still breast-feeding her six-month-old son.   “My son couldn’t be around Destinee at all, because he had been exposed to chicken pox,” Ebright said. “As a mom, that was the hardest part, was trying to be the mom to both of them and be with Destinee the whole time, and then be with him too.” Ebright said her family’s Christian faith and support from loved ones helped her family stay positive during Destinee’s illness, but there were moments when she feared her daughter wouldn’t make it. At one point, Destinee’s blood counts got dangerously close to zero. Ebright had been told that when that happened, that would be “the end.” “We just immediately got on our knees and started praying,” Ebright said. Smith has lived out that message in her 17 years, and is determined to take advantage of what she views as a second-chance.   “I have big dreams and goals that I want to see come true,” she said. Smith wants to turn her love of cooking – she makes a mean lasagna and chicken enchilada – into a career, and plans to go to culinary school after high school. She hopes to open her own bistro one day, striving for the perfect mix between Starbucks and Panera Bread. Smith said her family now goes on with life as normally as possible, letting her battle with cancer fade into a memory. Like most mother-daughters, Smith and Ebright strive to find a balance between independence and staying safe, and next weekend, Smith will attend her junior prom. But since a high school friend died of leukemia a few weeks ago, Smith said her fight with cancer has been on her mind more than usual. “It’s just kind of a ‘That could have been me’ kind of thing. It kind of just gives me a different perspective to live every day to the fullest,” she said. “I want to make sure that I do everything that I’ve set out to do, just because I could not have had that chance.” Ebright said she thinks there is a certain serendipity to Smith’s experience and her namesake. When Ebright first became pregnant, she decided on the name “Destinee” because she felt God had given her a child for a purpose. But in watching her daughter fight leukemia so early in life, Ebright sometimes wondered what that purpose was. Now, Smith’s namesake has come full circle. “I think she’s still a work in progress, but I know she has a purpose and there is a reason for her to be here,” Ebright said. “I, at one point in time, said, ‘I know what her destiny is.’ I think that she really will be a good helper and mentor to others because of things that she has gone through in her life.” And Smith shares her mother’s vision. “I just want to see that something good comes from me staying here,” she said. Contact Sarah Mervosh at [email protected] *** That was 14 years ago. Now, Destinee Smith is a cancer-free high school junior who relishes her long, brown hair. She’s what her mom calls a “fighter.” And she’s also a giver, as she volunteers to help those currently fighting their own battles against cancer and other medical conditions.   She will speak tonight at the kickoff event for The Bald and the Beautiful, an annual event at Notre Dame where students donate their hair to raise funds and awareness for cancer research. “I like giving hope to those that are going through it, to know that it doesn’t all end badly,” Smith said. “There is still hope that they’ll make it through it, and live the life that they want to live.” Seventeen-year-old Paige Robison, who also overcame childhood leukemia and was in South Bend Memorial Hospital’s pediatric oncology program with Smith, will attend the event as well. Both girls experienced hair loss as a result of chemotherapy treatment. “I remember definitely being taunted, being called a boy and stuff,” Smith said. “I always wore a bow on my head so they would know that I was a girl.” Robison said as a young girl, she found an upside to being bald. “The best thing about it was that my mom would take gel pens and would draw on my head,” she said. “It was just the coolest thing, I loved it.” Robison said students shaving their heads and donating hair through The Bald and the Beautiful means a lot to children who are currently battling cancer. “I just think that makes it so much easier for them,” she said. “They can see older adults supporting them, and I think that just makes all the difference.” Both Robison and Smith have previously donated their hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit that provides hairpieces to children suffering from medical hair loss. Smith said she did it “to give back,” but added, “I love having long hair now that I can have long hair.” When Smith speaks at The Bald and the Beautiful tonight, she hopes to share a message with children in attendance fighting battles with cancer. “Have hope. [Don’t] let it bring you down, because there is always a fighting chance that you are going to make it,” she said. “Be happy, and live life as much as you possibly can and experience everything that you want to do. To just celebrate [life] because it could be taken away from you.”last_img read more

Five hall rectors leaving Notre Dame at end of academic year

first_imgResidents of Farley Hall are used to knocking on rector Sr. Carrine Etheridge’s door to ask for advice and to walk Etheridge’s dog, Farley. But after 19 years as rector of Farley Hall, Etheridge will take Farley the dog from her namesake hall when she returns to Virginia to be closer to her 91-year-old mother. In addition to Etheridge, the rectors of Breen-Philips Hall, Keenan Hall, Stanford Hall and Zahm House will leave Notre Dame at the end of the academic year.   Reflecting on her time in Farley, Etheridge said she values not only the character and history of her hall, but also the accomplishments of the women who have lived there.  “They come in as little high school girls, but they leave as young women who are ready to do amazing things,” Etheridge said. “[They] fly jet planes and do research. We’ve got people who work in Congress. We’ve got people who are doctors now. We’ve got women in the law. We’ve got one who’s been on the [University] board of trustees.” Etheridge said she remembers Sept. 11, 2001, as a particularly memorable day in Farley’s history due to the strong sense of community fostered between residents and across campus. “We had women here in the dorm who didn’t know whether their parents were safe or not,” she said. “That was really scary. I think the plane struck at 9 or 9:30 in the morning, and I think it was like [by] 2 o’clock or 3 o’clock we had a full orchestra, we had 10,000 chairs up. We had a couple hundred priests. It was amazing.” Etheridge said the most important lesson she has learned at Notre Dame is what it means to be a member of the Notre Dame family. “Every year I tell [graduating seniors], you never really leave Notre Dame,” she said. “It’s so true. Sooner or later, everybody gets back.” Fr. Tom Gaughan became rector of Stanford Hall in 1992 after serving as an assistant rector in Sorin College for five years.   Like Etheridge, Gaughan said seeing the Notre Dame community unite on Sept. 11 stands out as a special moment during his tenure on campus. He said he remembers his residents coming together, praying and wanting to give blood in order to help relief efforts. “What stands out about that day is the Notre Dame community coming together to support one another and to pray for each other and for the world,” Gaughan said. Above all, Gaughan said mentoring students has been the most fulfilling aspect of his role as rector. “I have always found and felt such an amazing privilege to be invited to walk with people in their lives,” he said. “That’s such a humbling and awesome privilege.” Gaughan, who completed his Doctor of Ministry in preaching in 2009, said he plans to turn his dissertation into a book when he leaves his position as rector. “I’m hoping to have a little sabbatical time, but then to return to this ministry, hopefully in residence in a hall,” Gaughan said. Rachel Kellogg has served as rector of Breen-Phillips Hall since 2005. During that time, she said, her conversations with students in the early hours of the morning became an important part of her Notre Dame experience. “By our front door, we have a table and a couple of chairs. People often end up starting conversations there,” Kellogg said. “Notre Dame students are so intelligent and so interesting, and for me, it’s really fun to talk to so many bright people who have so many ideas and enthusiasms.” Serving as a rector in a Notre Dame residence hall has reinforced the true meaning of Holy Cross and Catholic teaching, Kellogg said. “For me, being a rector has really brought home the Holy Cross charism of hospitality,” she said. “I’ve learned that hospitality of spirit is the most important thing, because if you show people that you are ready to listen to them, and that you care about them, that can really change people’s lives and it can change your life too, because you learn from other people.” Zahm rector Corry Colonna has led the hall since 2007, and he said his relationship with his residents has been the most rewarding part of his job. “The best part about being a rector is the opportunity to walk with people on an important part of their life’s journey,” Colonna said. During Colonna’s first year as rector the men of Zahm recreated the “Here Come the Irish” banner that hangs on the front façade of the hall during football weekends. “We rented out the Stepan Center, and probably 60 to 70 guys were involved from helping to lay it out and paint it to figure out how to hang it up,” Colonna said. Colonna said the most challenging aspects of his position are itseround-the-clock responsibilities and having to be prepared at a moment’s notice for anything. One such experience occurred when a Zahm resident’s mother was involved in a car accident in the middle of the night. “I had to wake [the student] up and talk to him about it, and actually then went with him to the hospital,” Colonna said. “You want to be there for your students, but it’s also hard to find some balance in your own life.”last_img read more

Film highlights families

first_imgThe documentary “Project Hopeful” first premiered at the 23rd Annual Notre Dame Student Film Festival in January 2012. In just 10 months, the film has been accepted to more than 15 national and international festivals, earning “Best Picture” at the RE:IMAGE Film Festival 2012 and second place at the LA New Wave International Film Festival 2012, among other honors. 2012 graduates Kelsie Kiley and Grace Johnson created the film, which follows three families from Joliet, Il.: the Twietmeyers, Heims and Allens, who have doubled the size of their families by adopting orphans with HIV/AIDS. The families then created Project Hopeful, a non-profit organization trying to provide homes and support for children with HIV/AIDS. “The premise of our story is just to give you a glimpse into their everyday lives and how manageable these diseases are,” Kiley said. The documentary was a project for professor Ted Mandell’s documentary production class, Kiley said. “Grace and I both knew that we wanted to create a social change documentary, so we began searching for positive human interest stories that might fit what we were looking to create,” she said. When the two found out about Project Hopeful, Kiley said they knew this was a message they wanted to spread. “We have helped to get so much press and recognition for this non-profit, and that has become the greatest accomplishment,” she said. “This reflects our greatest goal, which is to find more homes and families for more children and to spread awareness about how manageable it is to live with HIV/AIDS. Spreading this message has been such a blessing for us, and hearing how many people it has affected is more than we could have ever imagined.” Johnson said the idea of the documentary was to let these families’ stories shine through without manipulating them in any way. “We aimed to let the stories of the families speak for themselves,” Johnson said. “That is why we are so proud of this project because it feels real and a truly unobstructed account of their lives.” Kiley said she and Johnson didn’t have to do much to show how special these families truly are. “We didn’t want anyone to feel like we were trying to make these people seem inspirational,” she said. “They do all of that on their own.” Kiley and Johnson received the Broad Avenue Filmmakers Award, a grant through the Film, Television and Theatre Department, to fund “Project Hopeful,” Kiley said. “We truly couldn’t have made this film or had it seen on such a grandiose level, if it wasn’t for the FTT Department,” Kiley said. Because the grant enabled them to use professional equipment, Kiley said she and Johnson realized the potential the film had for reaching wide audiences. “After the first day of shooting, I think we realized how much good this film could do,” she said. “We had the power to use professional equipment to make a film that could be seen across the country, spreading news about these inspirational families and their incredible work. Our hope was that we could create something that would be meaningful, but not manipulating.” Even though Kiley has a job at Lionsgate Films and Jax Media and Johnson works at Bravo, Kiley said they plan to make a sequel to “Project Hopeful.” “We are currently in pre-production for a follow-up documentary. Our working title right now is ‘Adopted: The Project Hopeful Story,’ where we will be following the Twietmeyers and the Heims as they both travel to Ukraine this fall and winter to adopt more children for their already amazing families,” she said. Johnson said she would like to see more Notre Dame film students help out with the sequel. “Whether a joint venture between current documentary students at Notre Dame or another solo project, we’re hoping to receive assistance or funding in capturing more moments with these families as they continue to build their families and assist children in need,” Johnson said. To learn more about “Project Hopeful,” visit www.projecthopefulmovie.comlast_img read more

Simulation educates campus

first_imgOn Tuesday afternoon, Saint Mary’s students had the chance to participate in a simulation that showed what it is like to get behind the wheel drunk or while texting. The Student Government Association (SGA) and Women’s Health Center co-sponsored “Arrive Alive” to promote safe driving. The event brought in UNITE, a group that promotes safe driving by encouraging students to drive sober and put the phone down. Student body president Maureen Parsons participated in the simulation and said she was surprised at how hands-on it was. “I wasn’t expecting to have to use the steering, gas, and brakes. I was only expecting the goggles,” she said. The simulation included a Mazda 6 SUV with front wheels placed on optic sensors that feed data into a computer, according to UNITE representative Jan Griffith. The steering wheel and pedals featured sensors as well “basically turning the car into a controller,” Griffith said. The participants wore the goggles when driving the car and they altered the driver’s vision as they navigated the computerized roads. In addition to the simulation itself, participants were asked to take a survey before and after concerning their distracted driving habits. Griffith said that students are drawn to the simulation because it helps educate them and increase awareness of distracted driving behaviors. “Because [the simulation] is set up like a video game it gets people to participate and educated…the results of the survey show that as well,” he said. Josh Hull, a UNITE representative also at the simulation, added that participants are inclined to stop texting and driving after taking part in the testing. “You find a majority of people [who participate], 83 percent said it would cause them to be less likely to drive distracted,” Hull said. Meghan Casey, student body vice president, said the simulation was harder than it looked. “I was really terrible. [The simulation] was really difficult,” Casey said. “I didn’t even get far enough to realize how much it was affecting me.” Casey, along with the other participants, received a mock citation upon completing the demonstration that listed the driving infractions she committed during the experiment. When texting while driving during the simulation, Casey was cited for speeding, swerving, failing to stop and collision. She fared even worse in the mock drunk driving segment where she swerved, failed to stop, and committed vehicular manslaughter by hitting two pedestrians. “Receiving the citations and infractions that occurred during the simulation showed that [driving] under influence or being a distracted driver can cause a lot of destruction on the road,” Casey said. Parsons said that she thought the experience of the simulation was eye-opening. “The texting and driving [experience] was really difficult. It’s interesting. The car is really good at simulating situations you could potentially be in,” she said. The computer program used to run the simulation takes into account delayed reaction time. Even if a participant thinks they are braking quickly enough the computer slows down the reaction time, imitating drunk driving. The simulation also allowed students to try texting while driving. Junior Jarusha Lang said that before the simulation she would text at stoplights but now realizes that even texting then is dangerous. “I will never pick up the phone [now],” she said. “The average text takes 4.6 seconds to read and reply,” Hull said. “You go a whole football field before you look up.” Hull also said that UNITE is currently developing an app for smart phones that will lock the phone when the person is driving over 15 miles per hour. He said that the app is able to do this by using GPS. He said that the app will be free at events but will also be available for purchase at a low cost. Until the app comes out, UNITE will pass out key chains with participants’ pictures on the back to remind them to drive safely. For Parsons, however, that won’t be a problem. “I will not be texting and driving or drinking and driving any time soon,” she said.last_img read more

Visting fellow delivers ‘Last Lecture’

first_imgDr. Andrew Bacevich, a visiting fellow from Boston University, gave his “Last Lecture” Thursday as a series of talks hosted by the Notre Dame Student Government. Their talks highlight a different visiting professor every week. The professor is asked to give his “Last Lecture” where he or she discusses his or her ideas on life and lessons learned throughout it. Bacevich, a professor of International Relations, teaches a seminar course called “Ideas and American Foreign Policy” to students in history, peace studies and political science at Notre Dame. He is a visiting fellow through the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Bacevich’s lecture focused on three main themes: vocation, history, and rootedness. He discussed regrets about mistakes he has made in his life in relation to these themes. “This is an invitation to reflect on one’s life,” Bacevich said, “And it tends to unearth a sense of regret. There are things I would do differently if given the chance to do it all over again.” Bacevich said what he had learned about life’s vocation in the context of his own upbringing. Raised as a Catholic and sent to Catholic schools until college, he said he heard often of three paths of life. “The nuns taught us that there are three vocations – religious life, marriage or the single life,” Bacevich said. “What they did not teach is a broader understanding of vocation – primarily the question ‘What am I called to do in my life?’” Bacevich urged all students to address this question earnestly before they leave Notre Dame. “The key to life is to do work that you find fulfilling and satisfying. What the world thinks about that work does not matter,” Bacevich said. “Deciding on your calling is your business and no one else’s.” Bacevich then discussed his second theme, history. He urged all students, regardless of whether or not they are a history major, to use their time at Notre Dame “to think about the past and illuminate the present.” Another point he made about history had to do with dealing with the past. “The best thing we can do as human beings with history is cope with it,” Bacevich said. Bacevich said he moved from place to place, never staying rooted, and said only when he began working at Boston University as a professor did he finally establish roots. “ “Being a part of a community is what makes us human,” Bacevich said. “I really wish I had discovered that earlier.” Bacevich left the students with a final piece of advice. “I encourage you to go have an adventure or two, but when you are finished, go back home, wherever it is, and put down some roots. It’s important to belong someplace,” he said. “Regret is not the theme of my existence. … I have had many blessings, including being here at the University of Notre Dame.” Contact Katie McCarty at [email protected]last_img read more

Author shares work at SMC

first_imgSaint Mary’s hosted author Karen Lee Boren on Thursday for a reading and signing of her recently-released collection of short stories, “Mother Tongue.”“‘[Mother Tongue]’ is a book of hope in that it is a sort of literary Cinderella story,” Boren said. “It renewed my belief in literary humanity.”Boren said this novel was submitted to New Waters Press 10 years after submitting it to the Headwaters Literary Competition. She said the original reader of her work for the competition submitted an updated copy without telling Boren.“Out of the blue, I got a New Press e-mail that said [they wanted] to publish [my] book.” Boren said. “Fairy tales do come true.”Boren said the meaning of a written work lasts longer than most writers think.“We are always looking for the next sentence, the next word, the next theme, the next idea,” she said. “It’s surprising how many of the themes stay with me from when I was writing in my twenties.”Boren said she used inspiration from her life growing up in Milwaukee.“I draw from real life as much as I need to,” she said. “Usually more than I think at the time.”Dionne Bremyer, Saint Mary’s associate professor of English, met Boren while studying at Rhode Island College and said they have maintained their friendship over the years.“My admiration for her has grown every day since I’ve come to understand how amazingly good she is — as a teacher, as a writer, as human being,” Bremyer said.Boren said this is the second time the College has invited her on campus. Boren also visited the college after the publication of her novella, “Girls in Peril.”“It is … my pleasure to see [Bremyer] in her environment.” Boren said. “My mother had six kids and she told us all we were her favorite. Unlike her, I’m going to be honest and say that [Bremyer] has always been my favorite.”Tags: department of english, Karen Lee Boren, saint mary’s, visiting writer serieslast_img read more

South Dining Hall evacuates for small fire

first_imgSouth Dining Hall was evacuated and the start of dinner delayed Sunday afternoon due to a small fire in the serving area, dining hall staff said. Dining hall manager Dennis Smith said the open flame was not big enough to trip the fire alarms, but it was close enough to an oil spray can to risk a small explosion, so dining hall staff evacuated those who would be in the affected area — the serving area and Reckers. The announcement, made through pager and PA systems, did not reach the Observer office in the basement of the building.The building was closed for about 30 minutes past the start of dinner hours at 4:30 p.m. Notre Dame Fire Department officers at the scene said the cause of the fire was still under investigation. Tags: fire, Notre Dame Fire Department, South Dining Halllast_img read more

I-86 Westbound Closed Following Wreck

first_imgGoogle Earth Graphic.BEMUS POINT – Interstate 86 Westbound between the Route 430 exit and the Chautauqua Lake Bridge is closed following a truck crash.Chautauqua County Fire Dispatch reports indicate the westbound lane is blocked after a load fell off the truck.The unspecified cargo also reportedly fell from the bridge to the 430 underpass beneath.Crews are asking the public to avoid the area. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Weekend Poll Top Three: Fans Want Benedict Cumberbatch on Broadway

first_img 3. Hugh Bonneville — 6% Downton aristocrat Bonneville naturally has the pedigree. He’s an alum of Britain’s prestigious National Youth Theatre and has treaded the boards for both the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare company, where he played opposite none other than Kenneth Branagh in Hamlet. Although we loved Bonneville as the bumbling Brit in Notting Hill, perhaps he could tap into his Wilde side—so many believe already that he’d make An Ideal Husband. Calling all producers! Bryan Cranston 1. Benedict Cumberbatch  — 42% As those Brits are fond of saying…No sh*t, Sherlock! We completely agree with this week’s overwhelming victor. Cumberbatch certainly has the experience—for his performance in the National Theatre’s 2011 production of Frankenstein, the Sherlock star won the “Triple Crown of London Theatre:” the Olivier Award, Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Actor. Cumberbatch has also appeared in productions of Hedda Gabler and After the Dance, is in the Oscar-nominated film 12 Years a Slave and the star of a recent viral Sesame Street spot. The Star Trek actor is rumored to be playing the titular role in Hamlet in the West End this fall, which we’re all for, as long as it transfers to the Great White Way! View Comments Emmy winner Bryan Cranston makes his Main Stem bow today as he begins performances in All the Way as the 36th U.S. President, so we wanted to know: Which of TVs leading men should be next in line to make his Broadway debut? The results are in from the weekend poll and two British boys—with a little American madness thrown in the mix, have made your top three. Check out the results below! 2. Jon Hamm— 10% Hamm would be a mad man not to follow his partner, Tony nominee Jennifer Westfeldt, to the Main Stem. The actor garnered a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Don Draper in Mad Men and definitely has the acting chops to make the move west from Madison Avenue to Broadway. Although Hamm played Judas in Godspell in high school and as a young actor roles in various Shakespeare productions, we’d like to keep The Town star suited and booted. So it would certainly rock our boats if Hamm stepped into the role of Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. Star Fileslast_img read more

Brian Cox Reveals What He’s Really Drinking on Stage in London’s The Weir

first_img Star Files Brian Cox moves between stage and screen work in London, New York, and L.A. with ease. The Emmy-winning Scotsman can currently be found anchoring the director Josie Rourke’s revival of Conor McPherson’s lyrical and mournful play, The Weir, playing the heavy-drinking bachelor, Jack, who finds his life upended one night in a rural Irish pub. The amiably bearish actor spoke to Broadway.com about everything from pub culture to how best to drink Coke Zero to McPherson’s genius as a writer.The Weir takes place entirely in a remote Irish pub, where people trade stories and have a drink or 10. Do you recognize the sort of world McPherson is describing? I very much know what these pubs are like. They can be quite brutal, actually, because the pub represents a fortress of sorts for men behaving badly where you’ve got all the bile and the rue and the alcohol mixing with the hierarchies and philosophies of pub life.What’s so fascinating about The Weir is the way in which this particular pub allows for the possibility of great kindness—even love.That’s absolutely right. What happens during the play is that Jack is actually encouraged to get back to the roots of who he is and his sense of self, and [the play’s lone female character] Valerie draws that out of him so that he gets rejuvenated.It must be something eight times a week to hear [co-star] Dervla Kirwan deliver the emotionally harrowing monologue towards which the play builds.She’s pretty unbeatable—the way she opens up to that moment and just goes with it. There’s a structure there of course—it’s quite crafted—but at the same time, Dervla is just so open to the experience of the moment. This really is the best bunch of actors I’ve worked with in years and what’s so good is it’s a real ensemble.You all consume a lot of drinks![Laughs.] There is a lot of drink! I’ve actually got to take it easy because I’m sort of trying to clean up my act as a type-2 diabetic—though I do drink my Coke Zero with a modicum of Guinness to give it the color it has.You mean that’s not just colored water?No, you can’t get colored water like that because it has to have a head on it.Was it a challenge following Tony winner Jim Norton in a role that he originated in London and then on Broadway some 15 years ago? What’s fantastic is that Jim and I go back so many years; he was a lodger at my house in London in the ‘70s, so we’ve known one another well over 40 years. That said, when I knew he was going to be in the auditorium on the first night at the Donmar I was just shitting myself, but in fact he made me cry—that’s how generous he is.What about him made you cry? He’s just got such a generous spirit about the work. What he made clear to me is that, like all great parts, Jack is going to be open to a range of people, so that if you can cut the mustard, you will be able to do it. I then realized that it’s not about appearances—as you know, Jim and I could hardly look more different—but about inhabiting the character: Jack is a great role in that he has sort of marginalized his own life, so that gives you a lot to act.You’d had prior success acting Conor’s plays on stage, with St. Nicholas and Dublin Carol. Was this offer a no-brainer for you to accept?It had been such a great theatrical event the first time around that I thought, I don’t know if I can follow that. But then I read the play and all these incredible vibes came off it, and I thought yes, I’ll do it, so that was it. What I want as an actor when I do theater is a reason to sit on the stage, and Conor gives you that and so much more.In some ways, the testosterone-charged flavor of this play isn’t that dissimilar from That Championship Season, which you performed on Broadway in 2011.Very much so, and it’s Irish, too. Jason [Miller, that play’s author] was of Irish ancestry, so that also is a play about coming home as well as the people who never left. Interestingly, in The Weir Jack tells us that he tried to go live in Dublin on several occasions but couldn’t make it: the archetype of the play is so powerful—and yet so particular about people’s journeys at the same time.You act on stage on both sides of the Atlantic and juggle screen work so well. Where do you consider home?Brooklyn, without a doubt: that’s where I live with Nicole [Cox’s second wife] and my two young sons. I mean, I can see the allure of L.A., and I like it, but it’s quite reclusive in a way—all those houses tucked up in the hills.As you get older, does it become easier to manage that nebulous thing known as a career?You just have to do it, you know? I mean, it’s exhausting and it’s getting a bit more tiring now, but on the other hand as actors it’s what we do and who we are: we follow our mercenary calling and we draw our wages.How lovely that you choose to return regularly to the theater unlike others who have kissed the stage goodbye.My feeling is that there is a certain kind of personality who also becomes more dedicated to the theater over time like Antony Sher or Simon Russell Beale, and we’re all the luckier for that. My feeling about doing theater is that I don’t ever want to give it up. I want to keep coming back so that I’m able to say, “I’m part of this as well, you know”—and then goodbye. Brian Coxcenter_img View Commentslast_img read more