Documento 3 - Letters from Cyril Cusack to Grace Watt.

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IE DCUA C2/3/3/3


Letters from Cyril Cusack to Grace Watt.


  • 17 September 1990-7 January 1994 (Produção)

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10 letters

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17 September 1990 - C2/3/3/3 (1)
Typed and signed 4-page letter. Cusack writes from London where he is acting in a production of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters at the Royal Court Theatre. He discusses how he had met Colum Kenny at an event at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, [in 1989] and that Kenny had mentioned 'that a woman called Grace Muggeridge' had called to his house in Bray and that he had a letter from her which he would like to show to him. He mentions that Kenny subsequently shared some letters from Watt with him. Cusack notes that it is 70 years since Watt and he have been in contact and goes on to recall various individuals and events from his time living with the Muggeridge family in 1922 (such as seeing the local barracks in Bray on fire during the Civil War). File also includes a photocopy of the letter.

29 March 1991 - C2/3/3/3 (2)
Typed and signed 1-page letter. Cusack writes from London where he is 'selling [his] soul to the Devil' [sic] doing a commercial. He mentions that he is travelling between Dublin, Paris and London over the next few weeks and regrets that he is neglecting to write his autobiography. He agrees with Watt that it would be good to meet and suggests doing so during his 'next trip over'. He also mentions that 'I think you must have had the news of Jeremy's win before I did. I'm glad he got it, he's a good lad as well as being a good actor.' [This possibly refers to Jeremy Irons winning the Academy Award for Best Actor on 25 March 1991 for the film Reversal of Fortune. Jeremy is married to Cusack's daughter Sinéad].

11 April 1991 - C2/3/3/3 (3)
Typed and signed 1-page letter. Cusack writes from Dublin that he has also read 'the Tim Pat Coogan, a big job of work, with a big bias against Dev [Eamon de Valera]. And I'm something of a Dev man, like it or not' [this may refer to Tim Pat Coogan's book, Michael Collins, which was first published in 1991]. He discusses one of his own poems relating to the Anglo-Irish Treaty from his book, Between the Acts and Other Poems, and ponders he and Grace could meet up. He suggests 'somewhere in the Chiswick [London] vicinity' but 'wish[es] it could be here' [Dublin].

23 April 1991 - C2/3/3/3 (4)
Typed and signed 1-page letter. Cusack writes from London where he is 'just back from Paris' and 'on-going to Dublin TO-DAY' [sic] and is thus unable to meet Watt. He mentions that at the beginning of May he will be in Stonyhurst [Lancashire, England] 'on a documentary about the Jesuits (!!!)' [sic], and in the west of Ireland 'on a film for Hollywood.'

14 May 1991 - C2/3/3/3 (5)
Typed and signed 2-page letter. Cusack writes from Dublin detailing his 'tiresome' schedule of work and travel including having to travel to Dingle, County Kerry, in two days to rehearse 'with current film idol, Tom Cruise' [?for the film Far and Away]. He writes of recent experiences as an 'octogenarian in solitary near-confinement', including locking himself out of his house three times, and of another 'crisis' when he forgot to bring money to the supermarket, had to borrow 'a tenner' from the local newsvendor, and having his 'lamb chop' stolen on his return home by a stray cat because he left the back door of the house open.

5 June 1991 - C2/3/3/3 (6)
Holograph letter 2-page letter. Cusack writes from London that he is 'chasing back to Ireland in a day or two' having worked on a documentary 'for American TV’ on Stonyhurst, '[t]he Jesuit College'. A further day of filming is planned for early July in London and he wonders if 'we might strike up then?' Mentions that he 'has to come up with the "few words"' having been asked to open the Synge Summer School [Cusack opened the inaugural John Millington Synge summer school in Rathdrum, County Wicklow].

8 August 1992 - C2/3/3/3 (7)
Holograph 2-page letter. Cusack writes [from Dublin] and opens the letter with: 'a Ghráinne, a ghráibh (did you know your name in Irish?)'. Mentions that he has 'to be brief this time – as time is running out' and that 'my recent effort on stage – The Cherry Orchard – sees me out ... curtains for Cusack!' [Cusack acted in a production of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard at the Gate Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1992].

20 September 1992 - C2/3/3/3 (8)
Typed and signed 1-page letter. Cusack writes from Dublin saying that he 'may not properly have answered [Watt's] letter of the 30th July'. Mentions 'volley' of photographs Watt has received from him and that his 'actor's ego is unsurmountable; can't help it.' Also mentions a previous query from Watt which he failed to answer about 'Colm Kenny's request regarding my stay with the Muggeridge's' [sic]. He tells Watt to 'go ahead with whatever you may like to say' [Colum Kenny was writing an article at the time about Cusack and Number 1 Herbert Terrace. See Watt's letter to Colum and Catherine Kenny dated 8 October 1992; item C2/3/3/1 (11)]. He also notes that he never referred to a letter from George [Muggeridge, Grace's brother, who lived in Australia] to Sir Garfield Barwick, [seventh Chief Justice of Australia, and George's wife's brother-in-law], and Cusack notes that 'George didn't take too readily to Ireland or the Irish' [Cusack and George were childhood friends when they lived in Bray. See Cusack's letter to Watt dated 17 September 1990; item C2/3/3/3 (1)]. Cusack mentions that he is '(supposedly) engaged [...] on an autobiography' but is 'slipping into fatigue, whether permanently or otherwise [...]' An attempt was made to block out part of a line in the letter with black marker [?whether this was blocked out by Cusack, Watt or Colum Kenny is unclear]. The line appears to read: 'Possibly for that reason three of my progeny appear to have alienated themselves from their father.' A typed note by Watt addressed to Colum Kenny is included with the letter in which she gives the context for Cusack’s mention of Kenny in the letter.

14 December 1992 - C2/3/3/3 (9)
Typed and signed 2-page letter with handwritten annotation by Cusack. Written in Dublin, the letter discusses Cusack's salary at the Abbey Theatre 'in those happy days', his recent health and reminisces about various childhood sweethearts. His handwritten annotation discusses his first wife, Maureen Cusack (née Kiely), whom he describes as a 'good actress' and a 'favourite of [Micheál] Mac Liammóir' [co-founder of the Gate Theatre]. Included is a typed note from Watt to Colum Kenny giving further context to Cusack's remark in his letter that he would 'not have been quite up to [Watt's] requirements and regulations even for a proposal.'

[?1993] - C2/3/3/3 (10)
Holograph 2-page letter. Cusack writes from London that he thought they 'might meet up this time but now it seems not like it.' He says he is 'afraid that my acting career is at an end, due to increasing deafness – a rotten complaint – on the stage [...]' He suggests though that he 'may yet be able for cinema or TV'. Letter also includes a typed note from Watt to Colum Kenny saying: 'On reading this again it seems rather prophetic.'

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