John Author

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June 26, 2019 • devious theatre, Theatre

The Roaring Banshees

 

So very excited to be bringing this show to the stage this August.

The Roaring Banshees by Peter McGann and myself is the second part of our Ripping Yarn Trilogy following on from The Hellfire Squad which we premiered in 2016. We’re again working with our favourite collaborator, the brilliant Sarah Baxter who will also be directing this show.

It’s one thing to come up with a fairly out there idea but another thing entirely to see it coming to life in such vivid fashion. Anyway, we thought Cumann na mBan versus Al Capone’s Outfit would be a cracking idea for a new play.

Cumann na mBan’s baddest, meanest and most ruthless beures, pulled from their individual clubs by Countess Markievicz and assembled into a unit of Ireland’s most feared assassins. Played by the amazing cast of Nessa Matthews, Ali Fox, Clodagh Mooney Duggan, Aoife Spratt, Amy Dunne, Laura Brady and Aine Ni Laoghaire.

Chicago, 1923.

After a failed assassination attempt on Eamon de Valera, a rogue Cumann na mBán unit flee across the Atlantic to escape the law. With Prohibition in full swing, they earn their keep by making bootleg poitín and selling it on to the Chicago mob.

But it’s not long before a gang war breaks out with them caught in the middle, and the lethal skills they honed back home hunting Black and Tans are taken to the bullet-strewn streets of the Windy City.

Here’s the trailer for the show, made by the brilliant Sean Clancy.

I’m so excited to see this one hit the stage and we hope audiences get a kick out of it. No Let Up.

1-3 August, Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny: https://bit.ly/2NMKObA

12-31 August, Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin: https://bit.ly/2GjFFl7

 

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June 15, 2019 • Theatre

The Big Chapel

 

I’m honoured as all hell to be writing the stage adaptation of Thomas Kilroy’s novel The Big Chapel which is premiering at this years Kilkenny Arts Festival. The show, like the book itself, is a fictionalised retelling of the Callan Schools Affair and also like the book will be a dark, satirical take on the religious zealotry and the weaponisation of lies.

The show is being produced by Asylum alongside the Abbey Theatre and Kilkenny Arts Festival. It will be directed by Donal Gallagher. The team behind this one are insanely good and intent on putting on quite the spectacle. 11th-17th August around the streets of Callan. Bring your own riot gear. https://www.kilkennyarts.ie/programme/the-big-chapel

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June 2, 2019 • dead still

Dead Still

There they are now. The lads. In 1880. It’s absolutely mad to see this coming to life. Six episodes of macabre murder mystery craic set in Victorian Dublin, premiering in early 2020.

I’ve been developing Dead Still alongside director Imogen Murphy for Deadpan Pictures for nearly five years now with Paul Donovan shepherding the show to life. We put together a promo for it back in 2014 when it was still called Daguerreotype. It’s been a long time gestating since then and got a much more succint title along the way, so I’m very grateful to see it actually happening. I’m lucky to get a shot at the kind of yarns 13 year old me would have lapped up, not to mention all those years cutting teeth on stuff like Vultures. This show is a lot of things I like put in a blender. I’m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, Alan Moore’s Victorian yarns, Ripperology, The X-Files and Coen Brothers so there’s definitely a lot of that in the mix with a good dollop of Irish history and mythology just to get a real good stew going.

Here’s the general gist of the show:

Dublin, 1880. Cameras are becoming cheaper and the country is flourishing with photographic studios. However, the practice of memorial portraiture is on the wane. That is, the portrait photography of the recently deceased. Renowned memorial photographer Brock Blennerhasset tries to revive his business after an accident, requiring the assistance of his estranged niece Nancy Vickers and his over enthusiastic new assistant, and former gravedigger, Conall Molloy. After a rocky start, their working relationship begins to develop but soon it appears someone more sinister is getting in on the death photography game. The investigations of Detective Frederick Regan of Dublin Castle suggest a killer may be cashing in on a developing taste for a different type of memorial imagery, in this case, pictures of people in their death throes. As the body count begins to escalate, Blennerhasset, Molloy and Nancy have to stop a murderer intent on ruining not just their business, but their lives.

Imogen is directing four of the episodes with Craig David Wallace tackling the other two. They’ve done such a tight, stylish job on bringing it to life. The entire crew have created such a rich world and I couldn’t be happier with it.

The cast are top drawer with Michael Smiley, Kerr Logan, Eileen O’Higgins and Aidan O’Hare leading the charge. Not to mention a ridiculously good supporting cast including Peter Campion, Jordanne Jones, Jimmy Smallhorne, Mark Rendall and Martin Donovan. Did I geek out? No, what are you on about? Of course I didn’t.

(I did)

There’s an awful lot more unannounced but equally exciting actors in the mix, populating the world of Victorian Dublin, with its various dark corners. It’s a time period that hasn’t really been utilised a lot in Irish film and TV so I took the opportunity to indulge myself in a lot of the odd details and weird happenings of the time. It’s been a real labour of love for us to get it up to the screen so I hope people will enjoy it when it airs in the new year.

More details about the show here on fucking Variety! (Not geeking out, honestly)

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November 1, 2018 • mycrofilms, short film

Two Cats

My short film Two Cats recently premiered at the Kerry Film Festival and I was delighted that it got shortlisted for Best Irish Short, which is a great result in its first run out.

There’s also a trailer for the film recently released into the wild. Check it out.

The film is synopsised thus: Two Cats is a black comedy that tells the story of a woman’s struggle to scatter her dead brother’s ashes discreetly in their hometown in the aftermath of his death. The film is a modern reworking of the old story of the two cats of Kilkenny.

It stars Aoibhín Murphy, Peter McGann, Amy Dunne, Ed Murphy and myself. It was produced by Alan Slattery and shot and edited by Sean Clancy. It’s produced under the Mycrofilms banner.

I’m hoping there will be a few more screenings of the film in 2019. Will post updates accordingly.

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October 13, 2018 • Theatre

Home Theatre Ireland

I was absolutely honoured to be part of the brilliant Home Theatre Ireland project as part of Dublin Theatre Festival.

I performed Grizzly, a new piece I’ve written, which was directed by Conall Morrison. The show was inspired by my host Michelle and on October 6th I performed it three times in her sitting room. It was one of the most unique working experiences I’ve ever had and I’m so glad to be part of this mad idea to create 30 new shows and perform them in 30 homes all in one day. It’s the kind of project I think people will still be speaking of in years to come. Then the show transferred to Draiocht for Dublin Theatre Festival and on October 11th I got to perform the piece in front of (honestly) one of the best audiences I’ve ever been in front of. It was electric. Congrats to everyone involved who created a really special project and one I loved being involved with.

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September 10, 2018 • Uncategorized

Running + Walking In The Phoenix Park

I’m very excited to be performing Running + Walking in the Phoenix Park by Martin Sharry as part of this years Dublin Fringe Festival. It’s a beautiful piece of writing and I’ve really enjoyed working on the piece alongside the brilliant Rachel Ní Chuinn.

A man is running for his life. Running helps the brain to regenerate. Over time, he forgets himself. He grows more interested in the trees, the history, the life of the park. A conversation with a horse chestnut reveals the nature of healthy being.

Then he stops.

Slowly, he starts again…

Four weeks rehearsing done on the show and your boy is limber of foot. Thanks to Deirdre Dwyer for giving me a costume that ensures I won’t get hit by a car in Project Arts Centre for the next two weeks. Here’s hoping anyway. Show runs 12-14 / 19-22 September at lunchtimes. Best audience member gets to keep my sweatband at the end. Book your tickets here.

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August 9, 2018 • Uncategorized

Pulp Injection Returns

Look at this pack of legends I got to perform with. I hugged every one of them. No one left unhugged.

Very excited to be dusting down my Eamon De Valera voice for the return of Pulp Injection next week. Two new, pulpy, very live radio plays from the warped mind of Peter McGann with a cracking cast giving voice. The show takes place on Tuesday August 14th in The Workmans Club with doors opening at 8. Entry on the night is €5 and all proceeds go to Pieta House.

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June 11, 2018 • Theatre

The Harvest

I’m currently appearing in a new play by Jane McCarthy called The Harvest. It’s a tense, psychological thriller about second chances and second lives. I’m absolutely over the moon to be working on such a meaty piece of writing. It’s very dark, funny, clever and packs a lot of emotional wallops. I don’t want to say much more about it because it really deserves a good, cold watch. I’m working with a belter cast consisting of Fionn Foley, Marcus Lamb and Melissa Nolan. The show is directed by the brilliant Matthew Ralli.

I’ve loved working on this show and hopefully it will go down a storm with audiences over the two week run. Some of the reviews have started dropping so here’s one and here’s another one.

The Harvest runs in The New Theatre from June 11th to 23rd. You can get tickets for the show here.

 

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March 1, 2018 • Film

Locus Of Control

Locus Of Control is probably my favourite thing I’ve ever worked on. In terms of actorly ambitions, getting to play the lead in a feature is pure bucket list stuff and something I was so grateful to tick off. It was cool as shit to get to work on such a quality feature film and Sean Clancy has made something really weird, funny and unique. If horror movies about being on the dole ever become a thing, then this one is on the vanguard. First Dublin screening is next week on March 7th as part of the Silk Road Film Festival in Filmbase and it would be great to get a crowd in. You can all meet my cycling stunt double. Check out the very cool new trailer for the movie below.

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February 22, 2018 • devious theatre

Vehicle

I’ve been doing some work on the new work in progress piece from Devious Theatre.

Vehicle is a lo-fi sci-fi comedy about Charles Bonjell, a rough and ready human bounty hunter charged with transporting Rita Vulcra, a smart talking alien con-woman across the galaxy in a talking space vehicle that is falling apart. A frantic and hilarious race against time ensues.

The show was devised by the company and we’ve had a lot of fun doing that over the past couple of weeks. It’s being directed with aplomb by Sarah Baxter and stars John Doran, Aoife Spratt and Peter McGann as the voice of Vehicle. Here’s a wee trailer shot and cut by Ed Murphy.

It plays as a work in progress showing in Smock Alley Theatre on February 24th & 25th as part of Scene + Heard 2018. Check out the full programme here.

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