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May 31, 2011 • Uncategorized

The Revolution Has Been Youtubed

Over at Devious Theatre (where I’ve been spending most of my days this year) we just released a video peek at our first show of 2011 Scratcher.

Scratcher was the first part of our current In The Future When All’s Well season in Kilkenny Arts Office. I wrote it in 2010 when I wanted to do something short, sharp and angry and I ended up being very happy with the end result. It played Dublin and Kilkenny in February around the same time as the national elections so it ended up landing right at the perfect time to stage a play based on change and revolution. We were very lucky that it ended up playing at a time when people were just sick to death of bullshit really.

The video here mostly demonstrates our front of house set up which was done to mirror a dole office in a very heightened way and generally make our audience feel fairly uncomfortable. If you didn’t attend the play have a look see and if you did, maybe you can find yourself shuffling your feet and trying to get through the queue very quickly?

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April 28, 2011 • Uncategorized

Finishing Shifting

Shifting took it’s final bow on Saturday night to it’s sixth standing ovation and sixth consecutive sold out show.

Suffice to say, it was one of the most successful shows in the 5 year history of Devious Theatre. All the more remarkable considering it had a completely new (and youthful) cast, a debut script from a brand new writer and no name value bar any name value the company might have.

We definitely don’t take for granted that our shows will turn into red hot sell outs so we always push the promo material really hard. All the more so when you’ve got a new show to sell. We pushed it hard in terms of promo videos, posters, radio vignettes and promo images. I guess we always underestimated (as we do), the appeal of new work. Especially when we work in a town where the familiar staple is king, be it pantomime, John B.Keane or musical. However, this was the first time where we saw that our focus on new work is enough in itself. That maybe we didn’t need to push new work extra hard. We just needed to do it. And we just needed to do it because people wanted to see original work. And there’s always going to be a hunger for it.

The cast were excellent. Excellent to work with, consistent in their delivery, a joy to direct and everything you want in actors: committed, dedicated, reliable and inventive. I know I’m in danger of gush overload but they absolutely made the play and we were so proud to have them as part of our company. The cast are going to go far I think and we’ll definitely be using them again. The same goes for the teenage members of our crew who were all committed, dedicated and on the ball. I must give special praise to Eleanor Walsh, our assistant director who diligently wrote everything down and never missed one single rehearsal.

I worked with John Kennedy for the past 5 months on the script. It wasn’t the ideal amount of time for him. It wasn’t the ideal amount of time for us. It’s just how it worked out. We knew what we wanted. He knew what he wanted to write. He was delighted to be able to write plenty of ‘fuck’s’ and ‘cocks’ and have no one censor him. We found a middle ground, gave John all the resources and support that he needed and at the beginning of March he delivered a script. His very first completed play. Shifting was everything we wanted it to be and in the end it was everything a teen audience wanted. As we saw when they came rushing in to buy the opening night €5 tickets. Cheapskates. But yeah, teenagers get ‘pandered’ to or generally condescended but they rarely get spoken to, honestly and directly, in theatre. That was our main objective. And that was why we wanted a teenage writer to do that. Anything else would just be extrapolation.

The reviews have been sweet so far. You can read some of them here and also, here. It was possibly my most favourite play I’ve worked on. I’ve had an overwhelming sense of pride and joy (along with festering regret and hole poking) in everything we’ve done with Devious Theatre. But this one might have been the best. Maybe because it was the best. But maybe, because above everything, it was all about the future.

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The Shifting Posters

I’m currently directing, Shifting, the second part of Devious Theatre’s ‘In The Future When All’s Well’ series. The play is written by John Kennedy who has been working on it since the end of last year and throughout the first 3 months of our residency in Kilkenny Arts Office. It’s a funny, charming and bittersweet look at the inevitable intersection between your teenage years and adulthood. In fact, in terms of previous Devious Theatre plays I like to call this one our John Hughes. That’s kicking the hypometer up to a high point but fuck it, no harm in aiming high.

We’ve just released 3 individual character posters for Shifting as designed by Paddy Dunne, the magician behind all of our promo imagery. It’s basically 12 teenagers on a couch. What’s not to love?

Shifting plays in No. 76 John Street from April 18th – 23rd. Tickets are onsale in No. 76, online at DeviousTheatre.com or can be booked on 056 – 7794138. If anyone’s looking for discounts, the opening night is only €5!

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March 20, 2011 • Uncategorized

Wild Harvest

This week I’m going to be using my acting in Wild Harvest by Ken Bourke.

The play was first produced in 1989 by Druid and now 20 years later its themes of emigration, unemployment and helplessness are very apt all over again. The play is being staged by Watergate Productions who are pretty much the theatrical establishment of Kilkenny and it’s a real honour to be asked to take part in one of their productions. That’s another one ticked off the list for me.

The play is directed by Ger Cody who has also retained the plays 1980’s setting. So yeah, we are up to our balls in denim.

It plays in the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from March 22nd – 26th at 8pm. Tickets can be booked 056 – 7761674. The above photo is taken by Ross Costigan.

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February 21, 2011 • Uncategorized

Who’ll Be The Next In Line?

Scratcher is the new play by Devious Theatre and it opens this Tuesday night in Kilkenny.

I’ve been working on it for nearly a year at this stage so it’s been great to see it come together as part of our ‘In The Future When All’s Well’ residency. The play is set in a dole office as it becomes the scene of a burgeoning revolution that threatens to overrun Ireland. So, considering the worldwide revolution in many countries and the general election this week, the play has ended up being rather apt all of a shot.

We opened on Thursday of last week during The Theatre Machine Turns You On: Vol II at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin. The show sold out and people clapped and everything. It was great for us to get such a reaction and we’re definitely confident of the Kilkenny show.

Scratcher runs from February 22nd – 26th nightly at No. 76 John Street, Kilkenny. All info and tickets can be found on www.devioustheatre.com

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February 9, 2011 • Uncategorized

Scratcher Promo

We’ve just unveiled the Dublin promo for the newest Devious Theatre show Scratcher.

It’s the third play I’ve written for Devious Theatre and I’m beside myself with delight that it opens in Dublin during The Theatre Machine Turns You On: Vol II which is a white hot festival run by the talented peeps over THEATREclub way.

The show itself is a completely unrealistic fantasy of what would happen if Irish people were going to stand up for themselves and say ‘No more!’

So yeah, it’s a farce. It plays the Project Arts Centre on February 17th and you can grab tickets here.

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January 16, 2011 • Uncategorized

Winter

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December 30, 2010 • Uncategorized

In 2011 When All’s Well

Technically speaking, 2011 is the future. Even though it’s in a couple of days. My plan for this futuristic time is a little project called In The Future When All’s Well.

In my role as general theatrical dogsbody for Devious Theatre, I’ll be working with our usual Devious crew and some exciting vibrant new additions to create a 6 month programme of theatre based entirely in the Kilkenny County Council Arts Office.

Mary Butler, the Kilkenny County Council Arts Officer and a lady of extreme go getting, has long being trying to get us into a building of our own. After a couple of thwarted attempts, she’s decided to use their long standing Artist In Residency programme to bring in an entire theatre company. So we were pretty damn chuffed and have spent the latter half of 2010 putting our brand new season together. The vibrant new additions to our team will function in a way that I imagine the new Ghostbusters movie will play out. With us grizzled veterans training in a group of new Kilkenny ‘Theatrebusters’. Because I’m writing this I can lay claim to being the Venkman, Ken is obviously the Stanz and Paddy is the Spengler. Angela is a sure fire Janine. And I think Eddie is most likely the Zeddmore. We will spend our days standing around planning theatre and sliding down poles in the Arts Office. Here’s what we looked like when we did it in 2007 (Ken took the photo so he’s behind you).

Who Are You Going To Call? Devious Theatre!

I’m not yet in a position to say what the plays are yet but in line with already has been announced, there’s 3 of them. And there will be another one for the radio which Ken is directing and will involve a great big bunch of writers. And there will be lots of other exciting things that will happen I’m sure. The actual announcement of what the plays are will be happening in the next couple of days once the festive season has died down. And they’re all originals. Well, by originals they either haven’t been done before or they haven’t been done before by anyone that isn’t Devious Theatre. My role in the season involves doing a whole bunch of writing, directing and acting which will make my head spin. I am hoping that the Dario Fo Season has put me in fairly decent shape for directing 3 plays in 6 months, but it’ll be a hell of a theatralathon (that’s my new word).

And why the title? Well, the 3 main plays are dealing with the theme of the future. Specifically relating to a bunch of disillusioned Irish folks in their teens, twenties and thirties. Unless something drastic happens, we won’t be setting the plays in the future with hoverboards and robot dogs (I wish). The title comes from the Morrissey track and it will no doubt be getting an airing (with a bit more from the amazing Mr. Morrissey besides)

We commence work on January 10th and I really can’t wait for it. It’s the biggest project we’ve undertaken in the (near) 5 year history of Devious Theatre and we’re hoping it kicks off our next 5 years with a solid bang. Got to look to the future after all.

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November 23, 2010 • Uncategorized

I Have Beaver Fever

Yes, I do. Well, not literally, but I think buck toothed wood destroying critters are cute and also… yeah, I’ll leave it there.

I’m taking part in a reading this coming Sunday with a bunch of other writer’s currently ensconced in the Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts in Toronto. Along with writers Julia Tausch, Emma Roberts and Dan Siney, I’ll be doing a performance from current work whilst also sitting around a fire, possibly whilst boozing. I am also hoping to have a good solid Christmas jumper for the occasion. The event is called Beaver Fever and should be a good night’s literary chit chat, performance and other bits and bobs.

I’ll be performing/reading from Daffney Molloy And Other Catastrophes which is a small novelette (like an omelette, only a novel) that I wrote quite a while ago but revisited whilst I’ve been here in Toronto. In other form, it was part of a play I wrote called Smitten which I’m also currently dusting off while I’m here. I’ll be doing all the voices and the movements by my lonesome… playing Daffney Molloy is too much fun for a grown man to admit.

So for anyone in and around or near Toronto, the event takes place this Sunday November 28th at 8pm in the Fireplace Room of Artscape Gibraltar Point.

It is also likely that there may be beavers in attendance. Beavers with fever.

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November 14, 2010 • Uncategorized

A Look At Andersen’s Fairytales

The poster has just been unveiled for Dreamstuff Youth Theatre’s new production Andersen’s Fairytales: The Adventures Of Hans Christian Andersen. The reason I’m writing about it is because I, eh, wrote it. This is my 6th play to write for Dreamstuff, well, 6th on my own if I don’t count the ones I wrote with Mike Kelly, Philip Brennan and Stephen Colfer. I have literally been writing for Dreamstuff since I was 17. Which is a scary, scary realisation.


The above photo features Alan Doyle as Hans Christian Andersen, Ruth Phelan as half fish, half girl Ariel and Ben Murphy as the famed ogre hunter Emile Pussenbootz. In the usual Dreamstuff style, it’s got a lot of comedy, often surreal, mostly inappropriate, but I hope, very true to the original fairytales.

I’m a bit of a fairytale obsessive so when Angela Barrett gave me the commission for this year’s play and asked me what I wanted to do, I blurted ‘Andersen’s Fairytales!’ and then excused myself and explained that because we’re in the middle of Dreamstuff 10, the idea of doing a sequel to a past show seemed like a good idea. Luckily, she agreed. They’re currently balls deep in rehearsals for the play and it’s one I’m really excited about. The current Dreamstuff troupe are an amazing bunch of actors, as anyone who saw Dreamstuff 10 will attest to, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with all my cheap, crude jokes.

The play is a sequel to another one I wrote, Grimm Fairytales: The Adventures Of The Brothers Grimm, starring Ross Costigan and David Thompson as the titular Grimms. Hence, they have similar posters (and props to Thomas Horvath for this one). Grimm Fairytales appeared in December 2004 (and at the time set a house record for a Dreamstuff show) and six years later we’re going back to the fairytale well. This time there’s obviously a different protagonist and a new story with a whole new cast of fairytale characters. There’s a lot of similarities in both plays, but I assure you, it won’t detract from your enjoyment if you didn’t see a play that ran for a week six years ago. But if you did happen to catch Grimm Fairytales, there’ll be a few surprises you’ll appreciate. Why, maybe even some characters.

I’ll probably write up something more on Andersen’s Fairytales as it approaches, but please do not let the stigma often attached to youth theatre detract you from attending. This isn’t going to be some cutesie panto. It’s going to a brand new comedy with a really fantastic cast of young comic actors directed by a most brilliant director staged by a company with a proven track record of quality over 10 years. And I’m also pushing this hard because the audience guzzling behemoth that is Scrooge plays the week beforehand. It also played before Grimm’s Fairytales back in 2004 and it didn’t do it any harm so hopefully the omens are good for this one too. Plus, this play actually has snow in it so if the leftover snow from Scrooge keeps getting on the stage it won’t look too odd, as it did in a certain enchanted forest six years ago.

Andersen’s Fairytales: The Adventures Of Hans Christian Andersen runs in the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from 15th – 18th December 2010.

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