I was the first woman to win a Tony for directing, but the second woman came along five minutes later.
As far as Irish writers being great, I think the fact that there have been two languages in Ireland for a very long time; there has obviously been a shared energy between those two languages.
I wouldn't call myself religious. I'm spiritual. Everybody's a bit more so as you get older. I'm a cultural Catholic; it's inescapable, but I think I have to believe.
I had spent time in New York, where I loved the idea that theater could be done up in tiny little rooms rather than for lots of money on a big stage, and be tied to ordinary life.
There wasn't anyone in my family who was involved in the theatre. I saw a few amateur plays when I was growing up, but I can't think of anything that happened or anybody in particular who inspired me; it all came from within.
I remember thinking, 'I can't act.' Pretending to be someone else is a terrifying thought. The thing was that, along with other people, I could create a whole world. I felt absolutely right directing.
I think women are in much the same place in the Irish theater as they are everywhere else. Certainly, we have wonderful Irish writers, and we have quite a number of Irish women directors. But there could be more, and there should be more.
I still get called 'a stick of dynamite' or 'pint-sized dynamo,' stuff like that. Actually, I was too busy to notice there was anything unusual about being a woman director until the early 1980s, when I looked around the professional theater and realized there weren't many of us. You have to make more of a case for yourself than any man.
Plays by people like Martin McDonagh and Brian Friel attract huge audiences, not because they're Irish, but because they're brilliant plays.
The English playwrights of the '50s and '60s didn't really keep writing or getting produced, while the Irish did. There's encouragement for the younger ones also in the fact that Ireland is exceptional in its ability to make theater part of the national dialogue, and it reaches to all four corners of the country.
The odd thing about 'Cripple of Inishmaan' is it's never actually been performed on the island.
I was born in Ballaghadreen, but I grew up in Galway, and when I went to the University College of Galway, I became involved in the drama society there and started directing plays.
My father, Oliver Hynes, was an educator. He was originally just a teacher, a very good one, but then he was promoted to be in charge of education for the entire area. He was always an inspirational teacher. He was my big personal supporter, always coming here for the Tony Awards. My mother, Carmel, was a homemaker.
I think I'm attracted to writers who tell us something about ourselves.