Ireland. The near future. You sit down with a cup of tay, and tune in to RTÉ Radio 1 to catch The Definitive View with Sneachta Ní Mhurchú: your favourite arty interview and playback show, featuring the quirkiest, murkiest Irish radio from the past week, hosted by Ireland’s most popular self-important presenter. A brand new comedy radio play with a live musical soundtrack, in the tradition of The Goons and Scrap Saturday.
It went on to be nominated for two Dublin Fringe Festival awards: Best Ensemble and The Bewley’s Little Gem award. It returns now for a week long run in Project Arts Centre with the powerhouse vocal talents of Eva Bartley, Gus McDonagh and Kalle Ryan behind it. It’s a “Pitch-perfect parody of RTE radio” as the Irish Independent called it.
It plays June 20th to 24th at 7.45pm nightly with tickets €16-€18. You can book them here.
I did a part in this terribly grim comedy from the warped minds of Sean Clancy and Peter McGann. The Lawless Mind chronicles the attempts of failed actor Mick Lawless to refashion himself as a mental health guru.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
There’s always a fine line between plugging away at something and flogging a dead horse. Speaking of which…
I shot the pilot episode for Smitten, a Kilkenny based comedy drama earlier this month and it’s going to be hitting the RTÉ Player early in the new year as part of the new Storyland initiative.
Smitten was an idea I’d had for a screenplay for a really, really longtime. And as I’ve gotten older, the characters have followed suit and at this stage it’s kind of followed through my twenties. So it’s a real surprise this episode isn’t people cursing water bills and freaking out about how to calculate tax. Smitten was basically a series of vignettes about an interlinked, fractured group of friends set in Kilkenny, a series of tragicomic stories. Nothing too gimmicky and basically an excuse for me to write something about where I’m from. Also, I loved the meaning of the word. It sounds romantic but it really means being sick, hit hard, afflicted, completely stricken. So, the absolute anti craic of romance. When I was a bairn in YIFM years back, I’d made a feature with a lot of these characters in it, and they were also bairns. It was called Skegs and Skangers and it was rough as arse (it’s a fucking mess truth be telt) but when you’re 17 and getting to make features, it’s a sweet learning curve to be clueless on. I’d been getting more into theatre post college so I decided to try Smitten as a stage play which Devious Theatrestaged in 2008 in The Barn.
It went down pretty well at the time but I still felt that there was more to be done with it. I wrote a screenplay and then re-adapted the play to suit that. So three years later we re-staged it again in a slightly more streamlined fashion in 2011 as part of Devious Theatre’s In The Future When All’s Well residency and brought it to Cork and had the craic. It was more of a musical this time and it felt right.
The itch to do something with it for the screen was still there. I’d written a screenplay which I had hawked around unsuccessfully for a year or two. Realising that a multi character story these days would probably make a better fit for television, I made a short film called Daffney Molloy And Other Catastrophes, based on a scene from the screenplay and used that as a proof of concept for something for TV. It screened at IndieCork this year and will go online next year. Then the Storyland opportunity came up and it was off to the races.
The pitch for the series was to focus on one character per episode and the Storyland version of it looks at the character of Bronagh, ostensibly the most level headed, together member of this group of friends but one who’s put in a right state of chassis when she discovers she’s pregnant on the same day her ex Dave goes missing. And she’s really the only one who can find him.
The cast for the show is a line up of absolute toppers: Aoife Spratt, Clare Monnelly, David Thompson, Jack O’Leary, Amy Dunne, Leah Egan, Peter McGann and Gus McDonagh. I was blessed to work with a cracker of a crew on this too. It’s been produced by Ruth Carter for Mycrofilms. There’s a great team on board and I’ve been a very lucky man to work with them. That’s the craic anyway, it’ll go online in the new year and I’ll probably write something else about it then. It’s been really nice to get to this point with something I’ve been plugging away at for a good, long time now. And if this is as far as it goes, I’m good with that. Bottom line, keep plugging away. Plugging away is a good thing.
My new short film Daffney Molloy And Other Catastropheswill have its premiere on October 9th at this years IndieCork festival. I’m looking forward to taking a trip down Cork way to see it with an audience. Set in present day Kilkenny, the film is about four fellas at a house party who drown their sorrows whilst trading stories about a near mythical girl from their past. One of their number, Tommy, hasn’t heard of Daffney Molloy and is trying to figure out what’s the truth and what’s fantasy.
Here’s the trailer for the film:
The cast includes Eddie Murphy, Aoife Spratt, Amy Dunne, Niall Morrissey, Jack O’Leary, Leah Egan, Lynsey Moran, Peter McGann, Aoibhín Murphy, Alexandra Christle, Molly O’Byrne and Paddy O’Leary. It was produced by Alan Slattery at Mycrofilms and shot by Ross Costigan.
I’m directing the new Devious Theatre joint which opens tonight in Cleere’s Theatre, Kilkenny. It’s been a blast to work on and it’s been such a pleasure working with such a solid cast, crew and material. So yeah, come see it!
The Union by Adrian Kavanagh is a furiously funny dramatic retelling of the rise and fall of St. Dominic’s Student Union. The play takes place in the final days of the current student union regime in a failing regional college. Five erstwhile colleagues are locked in one room knowing that one of them stole the €10,060 fundraised cash that their reputations, hopes, dreams, careers and election campaigns are hinged on. Backs will be stabbed, hearts will be broke and throats will be cut. The clock is ticking. We’re going to see how united this Union really is.