Born into an Irish family of musicians, Jonathan Arun (right), the great-grandson of an Italian trapeze artist, is playing a Spaniard who moves to Germany, then goes to do archeological research in the Lebanon. In rehearsals for My Goat after the first preview, Arun is delighted by the audience's response. 'We were very surprised by the laughter. You can never tell where it's going to come.' Billed as a comic love story, it's the latest play by Michele Celeste, author of the award-winning Hanging the President. 'There's a lot about racism in the play, but it's not exactly about that. I love the raw emotion of the writing. My character leaves his wife and family behind, is taken hostage and falls in love.'

Arun came over from Dublin four years ago with the Gate Theatre's The Three Sisters and stayed. He was in the original King's Head and Drill Hall productions of Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens 'an instant party: there were 34 of us in the cast' and played the lead in Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come at Wyndham's Theatre.

My Goat is directed by Burt Caesar. 'He's got a really interesting handle on it. He and the sound designer have come up with an atmosphere track which is like having Miles Davis playing. Also, having been an actor himself, he genuinely understands what an actor needs. We've had our rows of course, but they've been about the important things.'

'My Goat' opens tonight at the Cockpit (071-402 5081)

(Photograph omitted)