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.
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.
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 Vinylplays 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.
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.”
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.
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’ve written the script for the site specific show Bridge Street Will Bewhich is produced by Trasna Productions for this years Abhainn Rí Festival in Callan, Co. Kilkenny. It runs June 30th to July 4th on Bridge Street.
This is the first poster for my second short film (this was the first). We’re putting the final touches to it at the moment and hoping to premiere it at some point of 2015.
The film is a comedy set in present day Kilkenny about four friends who drown their sorrows while trading stories about a near mythical girl from their past. I was very lucky to work with a sterling cast on this including 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.
My first short film Hot Water Bottle has just gone online.
Produced by Mycrofilms, it was shot in Kilkenny from summer 2010 into the spring of 2011 and premiered at the 2012 Cork Film Festival. After its festival runaround, I’m finally getting around to putting it online.
I was fairly into the idea of mumblecore movies (so cheap!) at the time and Richard Linklater makes movies where people just talk seem so easy, but yeah, it’s a fairly loose quartet of scenes centred around a break up that doesn’t go according to plan. The film stars Suzanne O’Brien, David Thompson, Simone Kelly and Peter McGann. Have a looksee.