Play Mongering

A couple of my plays are now for sale on Playography Ireland if you’re the kind of person who likes buying and reading plays. Here’s what’s for sale at the moment.

Taboo (2016)

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Taboo is a black comedy about the first date between a girl who doesn’t get out very much and a man who has trouble meeting new people. Lily cooks a three course meal. Tom brings flowers and wine. On the surface, everything seems fine. But in the modern world, dating is a surprisingly complex thing with a lot of unwritten rules.

“Morton’s script is by turns hilarious, and heart wrenching; and there is a good balance of well-observed naturalism and heightened drama” Emily Elphinstone, No More Workhorse

 “A smart critique of dating in a modern world dogged by endless apps and devices” Chris McCormack, Exeunt Magazine

War Of Attrition (2013)

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War Of Attrition is a comic thriller about a girl who attempts to track down the man behind the viral video that destroyed her life. With the help of a homeless drifter, she ensnares him. Soon all three develop a tense friendship that leads towards revolution.

“…funny, sharp, relevant and delivered with panache” Una Mullally, The Irish Times

“An Easter Rising / Wikileaks mash up … the bang-on zeitgeistsy script is backed up by excellent use of live technology, and a completely believable spiralling chain of events.” – Susan Conley, Irish Theatre Magazine

Smitten (2008/2011)

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Smitten is a musical comedy about Claire, a former nurse, who returns to her hometown to try and fix the emotional wreckage she left in the wake of her emigration years previously.

“Morton uses all characters to convey the myriad of emotions we all experience, whether female or male but he encourages us to fight against them and think before we act.” Darragh Doyle, Yay.ie

“As ever, there is a newness, a freshness, an in-your faceness about Morton’s work” Liam Murphy, The Munster Express.

If you’d like to purchase any of them you can do so from the links on each title or right here.

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Pulled

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I have nothing to do with this but I’m posting anyway because it’s going to be great and I can’t wait to see it.

I’ve just come off working on the first two parts of Devious Theatre’s Devious 10 programme, Heart Shaped Vinyl and The Hellfire Squad so I just get to watch the third one like a proper fan. And that third and final part is Pulled by Niamh Moroney.

A comedy about two girls fightin’ the fear. Who will pull through? Amanda or Michelle? Maybe they’ll just pull the heads off each other… Join these two man eating club stomping wans as they battle one of the worst hangovers of their lives as they attempt to follow a trail of snapchats, texts, and selfies back to memories long lost to shots- what and who they did last night?! How did Michelle end up here, where the hell was Amanda? Or… do they even want to know? 

The show is a collaboration between Devious Theatre and Central Arts down Waterford way. Pulled will be performed by Niamh Moroney and Andrea Bolger who makes her debut with us. The show is directed by Ita Morrissey and produced by John O’Connell of Central Arts.
Pulled premieres in Central Arts, Waterford from September 13th-17th. It follows up with a three night run in the Set Theatre, Kilkenny from September 29th-October 1st. Do go see it.
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Squad Goals

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The Hellfire Squad kicked off last week for its run in Project Arts Centre. It went down an absolute storm thankfully and we were very surprised (not to mention delighted) to sell out the 7 performance run.

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We’ve been bowled over by the reaction to it. Considering how long we’ve been developing it for, it’s great to see it go down so well with audience members. Here’s an article Peter McGann and myself wrote about the writing of it.

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Devious Theatre complete the home leg of the run from Thursday July 28th to Saturday July 30th in The Watergate Theatre as part of this years AKA festival. We’re delighted to bring it home and hopefully it will be met with the same reaction it was in Dublin. If you fancy a ripping yarn about the origins of Michael Collins’ hit squad, you can book your tickets on 056 – 7761674 or get them online here.

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Here’s some of the plaudits the show has received during its Dublin run.

“McGann and Morton’s script manages to be historically accurate and hilarious”Sunday Business Post.

“A modern Irish classic”Pure M Magazine

“Admirably, the playmakers are more interested in a reclamation project, restoring these secret fighters to the record.”Exeunt Magazine

“The play zips along at breakneck speed under the tight direction of Sarah Baxter”The Kilkenny People

“An innovative view of the period and shows that we don’t have to treat the heroes of yesteryear with solemnity.”No More Workhorse

We’ve also made two trailers for the show which you can view here:

God bless the work.

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The Hellfire Squad

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Say your prayers, The Hellfire Squad have risen.

Here’s the first look at the titular band of assassins assembled by Michael Collins in the aftermath of the 1916 Rising. They will be brought to the stage in Devious Theatre’s newest production next month.

A work blessing, gun running, porter swilling, scheme hatching, agent killing, hooley throwing, ballad singing, yarn spinning, card playing, hurl swinging, bomb rigging, shit kicking, freedom fighting, bullet spewing, hell blazing shower of miscreants as you’ll ever meet. God bless the work.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to put anything on the stage and I don’t think I ever will be again. Peter McGann and myself have been working on it for the past number of years and Sarah Baxter is currently doing a damn fine job of directing us into shape. The great costumes here are designed by Helen McGinty with some damn fine photography and design from Ken McGuire.

The show plays Project Arts Centre, Dublin from July 18-23 and Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30. For more visit devioustheatre.com

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Heart Shaped Vinyl

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Devious Theatre kick off their Devious 10 programme with a new version of my first play Heart Shaped Vinyl.

I’m directing it here for the first time, as well as back in the acting saddle with Simone Kelly, playing the 1960’s section of the play which we first performed in 2006 and again in 2007.

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In synopsis form:

Heart Shaped Vinyl is a theatrical mix tape focusing on pop music, relationships and a whole lot of heartbreak over the course of six decades. Originally set between 1963 and 2006, this new version adds a brand new story set in the years 2014 and 2016. The play is broken into Side A and Side B, both of which tell different sides of six different stories featuring an ensemble cast of 14 actors.

After the last few years of writing and making plays, it’s been an odd experience to revisit the first play you wrote and try not to ‘improve’ it. We’ve been using the word ‘reissue’ in a gimmicky way to promote the play but after watching the dress rehearsal last night, I think it actually does the best job of describing it. What we have now, aptly enough, is a play that’s a mix of old and new. There’s such a brilliant cast and crew and the craic that we’ve been having can be seen up there on the stage. It’s been pretty nostalgic making it, particularly 10 years after we set up the company and it’s been a very humbling and honest return to the roots of how we made it the first time: no bullshit, no pressure, no budget, no limits. Just playing for the love of playing. All we need now is an audience and we can shut up and play the hits.

Heart Shaped Vinyl plays for the next two weeks from May 18th-21st and 25th-28th in Cleeres Theatre on Parliament Street, Kilkenny at 8pm nightly. Tickets can be booked here.

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Daffney Molloy And Other Catastrophes

With Smitten gone off the RTÉ Player it seemed as good a time as any to put Daffney Molloy And Other Catastrophes online.

It’s a short comedy based on the same play with a lot of the same characters and actors (except me and Niall Morrissey who are the ‘Pippas’ of this short) and it’s set after Smitten so it kind of works as a follow up episode! And there probably won’t be a follow up episode so best enjoy this one! The film can be summed up as “Drowning their various sorrows at a housewarming party, four friends trade stories about a near mythical girl from their past.”

It premiered at last years IndieCork and also played this years Chicago Irish Film Festival. Enjoy!

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God Bless The Work…

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After 7 years of mild to intensive labour, Peter McGann and myself have finally given birth to The Hellfire Squad. It’ll be the first play focusing solely on Michael Collins infamous hit squad, a Dirty Dozen style adventure about the assembly, training and deployment of a bunch of mismatched assassins in the aftermath of the 1916 Rising. I’m very excited to debut this new play as part of Devious Theatre’s 10th birthday programme, handily entitled Devious 10. The production will be directed by the brilliant Sarah Baxter, who I mostly recently worked with on Taboo, and produced by the bold Ken McGuire, who I have worked on a stupid amount of theatre with over the past 10 years. It will take its debut bow in Project Arts Centre, Dublin from 18-23 July and Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from 28-30 July as part of this years Alternative Kilkenny Arts programme. God bless the work.

We are about to launch a Fund It campaign for the play so keep an eye out for that and maybe help support the cause.

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Taboo

Taboo_poster_webIn an ideal world, I’d write a play and it would be put on and people would show up and you could just afford to let the work speak for itself. But the machinery of theatre hustle needs oil so here are some words on my new play Taboo and maybe you’ll read them and consider coming to see it.

Taboo is about the first date between a boy and a girl. Their names are Lily and Tom. Lily doesn’t get out much. Tom finds it hard to meet people. They don’t know each other very well but that’s what a date is for, right? You get to know someone a little bit better. The play unfolds in real time over a three-course meal. They chat. They eat. And then the rest of the story plays out and I’ll say nowt.

What’s it about? It’s a dark comedy about dating in a roundabout way. It’s also about loneliness in all its forms: social exclusion, fear of dying alone, incompatibility, as well as having trouble connecting to people. In a world where more of our interactions take place online (including dating) I thought it would be interesting to look at two people trying to connect in a very traditional way.

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It’s my fifth full length play to reach the stage (and first outside the nurturing bosom of Devious Theatre). With every play you write, you’re trying to do something different and stretch in some way. Although I noticed that by the time I’d finished this one, I had a habit of writing plays in pairs, usually taking different angles on whatever themes or preoccupations were on my mind at the time. My first two plays (Heart Shaped Vinyl, Smitten) were both musical comedies, set in Kilkenny with large ensembles and twenty something characters trying to figure out whether they were staying or going, both geographically and in terms of relationships/friendships. The next two (Scratcher, War Of Attrition) were angry, dole fuelled, media baiting, paranoid slices of agitprop about being angry with the establishment and fighting back. Taboo is number five but it wasn’t supposed to be. That was actually Tenterhooks, which I’ve had staged as a short play and a work in progress. But Taboo came along and got itself ready first and a lot of the themes I was interested in for Tenterhooks bled into that. Which is when I realised that I was writing in pairs and now I’m hyper aware of it so I really should stop doing that thing. Those themes were loneliness, people falling through the cracks of society and I guess, toying with settling down. Tenterhooks is still being worked on and will hopefully arrive in time but Taboo is getting served up first.

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The title, and indeed, the germ of the idea came from Lisa Fox and we developed it for Collaborations in 2014. It was a 20 minute one woman piece about a girl nervously preparing for a date. I pretty much just creeped on the audience watching it and the reaction was interesting. Some audience members were silent, maybe a bit shocked, but there was a sense of discomfort that was punctured by the ones who were laughing loudl. It was split down the middle. And that’s kind of what we were hoping for. Some people not getting why other people find something funny or conversely people not understanding why other people wouldn’t find it funny. This schism is the play itself in a nutshell and the relationship between the characters. Connection isn’t an easy thing to find.

The real time chat, for me, was one of the challenges of this play. I’ve never written anything that unfolds in real time so I got to scratch that itch. It’s a lot more challenging than I had expected. Particularly when you include a full three course meal. I didn’t make it too easy on Sarah Baxter, our wonderful director, who has risen to the challenge impeccably and made a story about two people sitting down and eating even more dynamic and layered than I ever imagined when I was writing it.

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I’m acting in it alongside the aforementioned Lisa Fox, who has brilliantly cooked her role over the last two years and I’m very excited to be bringing it to the stage. There’s a fantastic team working on it and it’s been ably supported throughout its development by White Label, Rough Magic and DCC who have been a great help.

It feels like I’ve said more enough about the play now and I hope my ramblings here have given you a taster and persuade you to indulge in the full three courses. Speaking of tasters, here’s an interview we did with RTÉ Arena about the show. Buy a ticket and ideally, go for a meal beforehand. It’s good to get in the spirit of things.

Taboo plays The New Theatre from February 15th to 27th at 7.30pm nightly. You can book tickets right here.

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Smitten

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Smitten has hit the RTÉ Player as part of the line up for Storyland 2016.

We went to the launch on Monday which was good craic. The other pilots look great so I’m looking forward to catching them. Here’s a picture of us trying not to look uncomfortable for press photos.

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It’s been great to get the episode out there and I’m very humbled and heartened by the support. I wouldn’t have gotten to do this without such a powerhouse cast (Aoife Spratt, Clare Monnelly, David Thompson, Jack O’Leary, Amy Dunne, Pete McGann, Leah Egan and Gus McDonagh) and crew (too many toppers to mention but an extra special thanks to Ruth Carter for producing the hell out of this) and the support of everyone in Kilkenny which, in case you haven’t heard, is a pretty fucking great place.

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And thanks so much to everyone who supported the various theatrical runs of Smitten, the short film version, the pop up book etc, over the years. It was great to make something for RTÉ about the hometown and even if it goes nowhere else, it’s nice to have had this opportunity. I don’t know if we’ll get to make other episodes for the rest of the characters but I guess the more people who like it and watch it, it’ll do the series prospects no harm. So if you do watch it and like it, please spread the good word. Thanks again.

Here’s some more words I wrote about the long pregnancy of Smitten.

You can watch Smitten right here.

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Shut Up And Play The Hits

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Over Devious Theatre way, 10th birthday celebrations are about to kick in for 2016 and the first announcement of what we’re calling Devious 10 has been made. The first Devious Theatre production (and my first play to boot) Heart Shaped Vinyl is getting a fresh spin in a new version in May 2016.

Heart Shaped Vinyl is a theatrical mix tape focusing on pop music, relationships and a whole lot of heartbreak in Ireland over the course of six decades. Originally set between 1962 and 2006, this new version adds a brand new story set in the years 2014 and 2016. The play is broken into Side A and Side B, both of which tell a different side of six different stories featuring an ensemble cast of 14 actors. Here’s the very first poster:

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First performed in Cleeres Theatre in August 2006, the show was restaged in June 2007 and again for a one off Rockfall show in October 2007. It’s had a good life since then with a lot of college drama socs and am dram companies producing it. First time we did this show, we were so scared of being a ‘grown up’ theatre company that I didn’t have my name on it as the writer (god bless you Billy Shears) and we made up a fictional director for it (the late Tony M. Everard). Pups we were. It’s weird to return to your first play after 10 years and curse all the things you did when you were starting out. That being said, it seems like a fitting way to cap off what’s been a great 10 year run with a little theatre company we set up in a coffee shop in Kilkenny back in May 2006. So yeah, we’re shutting up and playing the hits. Heart Shaped Vinyl returns to Cleeres Theatre, Kilkenny for eight performances only from 18th-21st and 25th-28th May 2016. The rest of our Devious 10 programme will be launched in the new year. If you want to grab tickets for the show, they’re already on sale right here.

Also, this here is some solid work from Paddy Dunne, who designed the very first Heart Shaped Vinyl teaser in 2006 and who delivered another cracker here for the reissue.
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