Last month I directed a music video for Replete, the musical guise of a very talented man I know called Peter Lawlor. It was for his tasty new track ‘Wait For You’ from his current EP.
Our idea for the video was to do a kind of a messy, succubus inspired fever dream about the concept of waiting. And that’s kind of what we did. The video was produced by Mycrofilms, was beautifully shot by Ross Costigan with some slick editing from Alan Slattery and a scuzzy design from Niamh Moyles. The actors who gave themselves over to this debauchery were Eddie Murphy and Connie Walsh, both of whom I have been delighted to work with before and boy, did I take advantage of that!
I’m currently gearing up for production on the new short film from Mycrofilms, a crime comedy called Swerve. Although having written it, most of my work should be done but no, I’ll be using both my producing and my acting too. It’s basically a whole lot of scheduling and making sure there are sufficient tea and biscuits on set and then learning my lines. Handy out.
I’ll be playing a character called The Mastermind. It’s equally handy out because I wrote him. This means that I’ll take for granted learning the lines. Which is not handy out. That being said, the film crams 32 characters into 17 action packed pages so I’m far from front and centre on this one. Ross Costigan is directing and he’s assembled a fine cast to play those 32 character, some of whom have been revealed and some of whom will be soon (As of this morning, the cast has been finalised). We’ve just released a teaser poster for the film which sums up the central mystery of the film: what’s in the bag? We’ve also just released a synopsis for the film which goes something like this:
Swerve is about a deadly game where it’s every man for himself as a group of ambitious criminals do battle for a mysterious bag.
This game has been going on for as long as anyone in the criminal underworld can remember. If you play, you play to win. If you lose, you die.
1. No girls allowed.
After that, all bets are off.
If you want to keep tabs on the production, hook up with our brand new Facebook page here.
I spent the bulk of my time last year working on the Irish stage premiere of Night Of The Living Dead for Devious Theatre. It had been a few years since we had done a ‘marquee’ play and our own take on Romero’s zombie horror fest was something that we had put into the works back in 2009. Sometimes you just need to do a big crowd pleasing comic horror, y’know? (See also, Cannibal! The Musicalin 2007).
During In The Future When All’s Well in 2011, myself and Connie Walsh started writing it and then last year it all came together. Getting to co-write and direct the show was too much fun and the team we put together were fantastic. All in all, it was exactly the big zombie play set I always wanted to fool around with. I would have loved more performance time for the show as I think it could have really clicked but with only 5 nights to play with, we made a bloody glorious mess with what we had. In the end, it is by far the biggest hit show Devious Theatre have ever done and more people came to see it than anything we’ve done before… which was nice.
In the past few weeks, we’ve managed to release some new material from the show. Ken McGuire cut together a really nice look at some of the show highlights which you can see above. Ross Costigan has also released some new photos from the show, including the above photo of myself in cameo zombie mode, and you can check them out here.
I’ve been writing a short film called Swerve which will be directed by Ross Costigan for Mycrofilmslater this year.
Ross and myself have been working on it for quite a while now and we’re currently prepping to bring it in front of the cameras this April. And to mark the commencement of pre-production, Ross took some nice photos of the film’s three leads who he has just revealed over on his blog. The trio of fine upstanding thesps who will be engaging in some springtime ultra violence are David Thompson (The Gent), Eddie Murphy (Teddy Boy) and John Doran (Vaughan). If you think they look mean and moody here, they’re only wearing their own clothes so wait until we get them into the actual costumes.
The story is about a swarm of competing criminals trying to track down a mysterious bag. It will hopefully be a very dark, violent and funny short. Our ‘what if’ for Swerve is if the video game Streets Of Rage was adapted into a short movie written by Martin McDonagh and directed by Robert Rodriguez. That’s doing myself and Ross an awful amount of favours though but fuck it, no harm in aiming high! If we can make something that’s even half as insane as that sounds, then we’re doing alright. We’ve a great crew on board and Ross is currently assembling a seriously stacked thirty strong cast of characters.
Swerve is the third short film from Mycrofilms and keeps our genre hopping escapades intact following on from romantic comedy Hot Water Bottle and family drama Baby Love, both of which premiered in 2012. Swerve is going to be our biggest, baddest and bloodiest yet. I’ll keep the updates coming in the run up to the shoot and if you like, you can read them.
My first job for the new year is a new play with Sheer Tantrum for THE THEATRE MACHINE TURNS YOU ON: Vol 3. This is a brilliant festival organised by the good people of THEATREclub and one I’ve been lucky enough to participate in before when Scratcher had its debut performance at Vol 2 in February 2011. It was a brilliant experience and myself and the Devious Theatre team got to see a lot of great shows and generally had the height of craic over a couple of days in Dublin.
This time I’m working with Sheer Tantrum on their new play Konstantin Has Shot Himself. It’s a devised piece that we’ve been working on since late November and it revolves around Chekhov’s famous play The Seagull. Although if you’re not familiar with that play (or if you just plain hate Chekhov), it’s no impediment to enjoying it. We’re mostly focusing on themes that The Seagull brings up like the nature of performance, art vs entertainment and what it is to fail as an artist. And check it out, we have a puppet in it too… he’s pretty sound. Chekhov thought the play he wrote was a comedy… and good for him. So we’ve definitely taken a comic approach to it and it should provide plenty of laughs, like all good classic Russian theatre!
The production is directed by the show’s mastermind Vincent A. O’Reilly and I’ve been delighted to work with a crack team of brilliant actors in Alicja Ayres, Duncan Lacroix, Sinead O’Brien and Simon Toal. We’re still tightening it before its debut performance on Thursday in Project Arts Centre but if you like laugh out loud comedies about suicidal 19th century Russian dramatists, well then you’re in for a treat. And if you don’t like that, you’re still in for a treat.
Konstantin Has Shot Himself is one of the New Releases of THE THEATRE MACHINE TURNS YOU ON: Vol 3. It plays Project Arts Centre on January 10th and 11th at 7pm nightly and you can book your tickets right here.
The final episode ofVultureshit the web just before Christmas, finalising the hell out of our final season with a real sense of urgent finality.
The Dicks Who Came In From The Cold is the title of the episode (it’s not just spies you know) and sees the events of the second series get tied up in what I hope is a funny, entertaining way. The story sees Janine Drew finally going through with her promise to quit college. She arrives home for the Christmas break intent on fighting crime in her home town (without her Ma finding out she’s quit). After watching Janine’s detective documentary, crime novelist Kate Marple hires the ambitious young sleuth to help her write an expose of rumoured crime boss Johnny Curragh. In the meantime, former dicks McGrain, Vultour and Tennyson have been brought together for a Christmas reunion by an unknown party. Everything comes to a head in this festive finale which should answer the question posed by the first episode of the new series ‘Where have all the good dicks gone?’
This is the one where we get to tie together all the storylines of the new series, which has predominantly dealt with the mundane lifestyles of retired crimefighters. This follows on from the fourth episode Dan McGrain In The Nick Of Timewhich saw the former dicks meet their first fully fledged adventure only for them to walk away from a return to detective life. In this one we also get to show the full extent of our series villains Johnny’s Blades. Like a mix of Charlie’s Angels and Josie and the Pussy Cats with a dash of IRA brutality, we hope they provide formidable villainy to proceedings. The artists sketch of Johnny Curragh as drawn by Mick Minogue definitely gives a sense of our Josie and The Pussycats (well, Captain Caveman) meets IRA spymaster vibe.
And the Charlie’s Angels idea is best represented by the Blades, Johnny’s trio of ball busting lady agents. Maeve Munroe was introduced in the last episode. The new episode will see the debut of Irene O’Haire as played by Alexandra Christle. McGrain and Vultour referenced the nice girl who they used to go line dancing with back in Episode 3 and here she makes her mark. And it will inevitably involve more unprovoked, albeit stylish, violence. And of course, there’s a third Blade but you’ll just have to watch the episode to see how that unfolds.
So this is it for Vultures in its current webcommy form. It may be the end overall but there’s still a few other potential outlets for our brand of detective comedy so we’ll see how it goes. It’s definitely exhausted itself as a low budget webcom and after 12 episodes I think we’ve pretty much told the story and had the laughs that we wanted. It’s also been really nice to finish it off as we started it in 2007 with a Christmas episode. I’d also like to personally thank all the good people who have watched and supported the show since we started making it. It’s been a lot of fun. Here’s the episode itself. Enjoy!
We’ve just released the trailer for the very final Vultures episode. ‘The Dicks Who Came In From The Cold’ hits the web this Sunday December 23rd and it will tie up our second series with a bit of festive panache.
The trailer features a head to head between the punky informant Jack Street (Ross Costigan) and dapper architect Tom Moriarty (Stephen Colfer). It allowed us a nice opportunity to give two of the best Vultures supporting characters a scene all on their lonesome as we see that the former detectives aren’t the only ones struggling with unemployment.
It also ups the stakes for our detective baiting Christmas reunion in the final episode. The plot for the new episode sees Janine Drew upping the stakes as she tries to reunite the good dicks who can take the fight local crimeboss Johnny Curragh. And it’s also set at Christmas just like the very first episode all those many, many years ago. It’s nice to finish things off in a sorta full circle kind of fashion. Here’s the trailer:
We’ve just launched our penultimate episode of detective webcom Vultures. It’s called Dan McGrain In The Nick Of Time and follows the titular sleuth as he attempts to get a mislaid diamond to a ruthless bounty hunter before his friends get horribly tortured. With hilarious results of course! This is probably my favourite episode of the second series so far as it replaces the mundane activities of ex-boyfriend stalking, sandwich stealing and writer stakeouts with a fast paced adventure. And running around is a lot more fun than sitting around.
It also continues the overall arc of Series 2 which sees the unemployed former detectives of V.P.I. being coaxed back into the detective life by their disillusioned former protegé Janine Drew. And like the first series, we’ve left it fairly late in the game to bring our villains to the fore (I like to keep ‘em short and sweet). From the first episode we introduced the villainous presence of Johnny Curragh (who was first mentioned in hushed tones in Episode 5 of Series 1, The Adventure Of The Hidden Microfilm.) and his trio of villainous female agents known as the Blades. The first of Johnny’s Blades makes an appearance in this episode and Maeve Munroe is a ball busting bounty hunter who has tied up our heroes, awaiting McGrain’s rescue. Played by Amy Dunne, she’s a really psychotic, shouty addition to our little rogues gallery. Johnny’s Blades are our not too subtle version of Charlie’s Angels, albeit in villainous form and I’m pretty confident they’ll make a serious impact when the full trio unveil their fiendish, high kicking cackling and meanness in the last episode.
Speaking of which, the last (very final, like ever, done, fin) episode of Vultures (in webcom mode anyway) concludes the series with a rousing finale on December 23rd. That episode is entitled The Dicks Who Came In From The Cold and it marks our second Christmas set yarn. We thought it would be nice to finish the series as we started it in 2007 with a Christmas episode and the new episode has plenty of nods to the first one. Although it’s going to be a much better episode. Certainly more exciting and the shoot (which we completed on December 3rd) was a whole tonne of fun. We’ve got a lot better at this webcom making lark since then although we’ve made the second series with a lot less time and a lot less money… oh, the things we could do with time and money. But still, I’m thrilled with the team that has come together for the new series and very happy with how it’s all turned out. The Dicks Who Came In From The Cold should tie the whole thing up quite nicely and complete what we set out to do exactly 5 years ago in December 2007: make a really good Irish webcom and give it to people for free. We hope we’ve succeeded. Here’s a handy little embed of Dan McGrain In The Nick Of Time.
If you want to get your fill of Vultures, you can subscribe for free on iTunes, you can also subscribe on YouTube. For all information on the project including character profiles and all episodes and the various bric a brac, check out VulturesPI.com
We’ve released a trailer for the next Vulturesepisode, and the fourth in our current series, Dan McGrain In The Nick Of Time. And here it is:
It shows that the new episode kicks things up a notch from the ex stalking, sandwich stealing and stakeouts of the first three episodes. The Vultures website has a handy little synopsis for it that goes like this:
The uneasy retirement of our detectives has been compromised and despite all their protestations to the contrary in our first three episodes, they are now finally caught up in a full scale adventure!
They thought they were done. Unemployed. Their detectives days long behind them. Alcoholism and depression burgeoning. But no, they’ve finally been dragged back into an adventure kicking and screaming. Well, not kicking and screaming, because they are bound and gagged. Johnny Curragh has got his mitts on them. Well, not all of them…. there remains a lone avenger who will rescue them with style and derring do. His name? Dan McGrain! This shall be interesting…
The fourth episode in our new series of Vultures sees us approach our series finale with the emergence of Johnny Curragh and his fearsome blades, the criminals that are running roughshod over our heroes hometown. Our erstwhile detectives have been trying to avoid trouble and now trouble is coming for them…
We’re currently editing the hell out of it in preparation for a December release. It’s definitely the most action packed episode of the series so far and will lead directly into the events of our final episode which we are gearing up to shoot this very week! And our plan is to finish the second series as we started the first one in December 2007, with a Christmas episode!
The Dicks Who Came In From The Cold is the fifth and final episode in this series and will see the mounting threats to McGrain, Vultour and Tennyson’s retirement from professional investigation come to a head. With a festive spin!
I’ve written the final episode and will also be directing it and likely, locked in an edit for most of December. For the shoot this week we’ll all be wearing the thermals and hoping to god that it’s not going to be as cold as the Christmas shoot back in 2007. We’ve learned a lot of things since then and wrapping up more efficiently is definitely one of them.
Dan McGrain In The Nick Of Timeand The Dicks Who Came In From The Cold will wrap things up in quick succession when they’re released in December. For more info, tip on over to VulturesPI.com and subscribe!
Or The Tempest if you like proper spelling and grammar. I’m very lucky and delighted to be making another directing contribution to this years TEXT | Messages in Project Arts Centre. This time I’ll be directing, yup, The Tempest.
TEXT | Messages is a brilliant project that gives directors a chance to take 160 lines of Shakespeare and do whatever you want with them. But the rub is, the lines must be consecutive and there’s no editing. So you need to roll up your sleeves and get nice and inventive! I’ve joined up with my muckers Stephen Colfer, John Doran and Eddie Murphy to come up with the goods on this one and we’ve put together a really nice tale of two drunken bog monsters who get kicked out of a Dublin nightclub and end up getting involved with a scheming native homeless man. So same text, different story. From our Dreamstuff days (which took its name from The Tempest funnily enough) to Devious Theatre’s Shakespeare In Bits battle rap in 2009, myself and the fellows have done an awful lot of Shakespeare tinkering over the years so it’s great to work with them on something new. Like last years version of Pyramus and Thisbe from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we’ve come up with a similarly twisted take on The Tempest. And of course, we’re playing it for laughs.
We are only on for one night only… TONIGHT! So if you fancy it, you’ll get three ‘messages’ for the princely sum of €5. There are also two other nights, as lovingly curated and produced by Aoife Spillane-Hinks, Conor Hanratty and Megan Riordan so plenty of choice all round! Kick off is 8.15pm in Project Arts Centre and you can get more booking details here!