Tag Archives: stage

Taboo

Taboo_poster_webIn an ideal world, I’d write a play and it would be put on and people would show up and you could just afford to let the work speak for itself. But the machinery of theatre hustle needs oil so here are some words on my new play Taboo and maybe you’ll read them and consider coming to see it.

Taboo is about the first date between a boy and a girl. Their names are Lily and Tom. Lily doesn’t get out much. Tom finds it hard to meet people. They don’t know each other very well but that’s what a date is for, right? You get to know someone a little bit better. The play unfolds in real time over a three-course meal. They chat. They eat. And then the rest of the story plays out and I’ll say nowt.

What’s it about? It’s a dark comedy about dating in a roundabout way. It’s also about loneliness in all its forms: social exclusion, fear of dying alone, incompatibility, as well as having trouble connecting to people. In a world where more of our interactions take place online (including dating) I thought it would be interesting to look at two people trying to connect in a very traditional way.

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It’s my fifth full length play to reach the stage (and first outside the nurturing bosom of Devious Theatre). With every play you write, you’re trying to do something different and stretch in some way. Although I noticed that by the time I’d finished this one, I had a habit of writing plays in pairs, usually taking different angles on whatever themes or preoccupations were on my mind at the time. My first two plays (Heart Shaped Vinyl, Smitten) were both musical comedies, set in Kilkenny with large ensembles and twenty something characters trying to figure out whether they were staying or going, both geographically and in terms of relationships/friendships. The next two (Scratcher, War Of Attrition) were angry, dole fuelled, media baiting, paranoid slices of agitprop about being angry with the establishment and fighting back. Taboo is number five but it wasn’t supposed to be. That was actually Tenterhooks, which I’ve had staged as a short play and a work in progress. But Taboo came along and got itself ready first and a lot of the themes I was interested in for Tenterhooks bled into that. Which is when I realised that I was writing in pairs and now I’m hyper aware of it so I really should stop doing that thing. Those themes were loneliness, people falling through the cracks of society and I guess, toying with settling down. Tenterhooks is still being worked on and will hopefully arrive in time but Taboo is getting served up first.

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The title, and indeed, the germ of the idea came from Lisa Fox and we developed it for Collaborations in 2014. It was a 20 minute one woman piece about a girl nervously preparing for a date. I pretty much just creeped on the audience watching it and the reaction was interesting. Some audience members were silent, maybe a bit shocked, but there was a sense of discomfort that was punctured by the ones who were laughing loudl. It was split down the middle. And that’s kind of what we were hoping for. Some people not getting why other people find something funny or conversely people not understanding why other people wouldn’t find it funny. This schism is the play itself in a nutshell and the relationship between the characters. Connection isn’t an easy thing to find.

The real time chat, for me, was one of the challenges of this play. I’ve never written anything that unfolds in real time so I got to scratch that itch. It’s a lot more challenging than I had expected. Particularly when you include a full three course meal. I didn’t make it too easy on Sarah Baxter, our wonderful director, who has risen to the challenge impeccably and made a story about two people sitting down and eating even more dynamic and layered than I ever imagined when I was writing it.

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I’m acting in it alongside the aforementioned Lisa Fox, who has brilliantly cooked her role over the last two years and I’m very excited to be bringing it to the stage. There’s a fantastic team working on it and it’s been ably supported throughout its development by White Label, Rough Magic and DCC who have been a great help.

It feels like I’ve said more enough about the play now and I hope my ramblings here have given you a taster and persuade you to indulge in the full three courses. Speaking of tasters, here’s an interview we did with RTÉ Arena about the show. Buy a ticket and ideally, go for a meal beforehand. It’s good to get in the spirit of things.

Taboo plays The New Theatre from February 15th to 27th at 7.30pm nightly. You can book tickets right here.

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Some Flood Rising

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The new show from Devious Theatre is John Doran and Kevin Mooney’s apocalyptic new comedy Some Flood.

We’ve just announced it for a work in progress showing at Quarter in Cork on February 1st. It will then be up on its feet for two performances at Collaborations in Smock Alley Theatre on March 5th and 7th. Then we’re heading down to home turf at Cleeres Theatre in Kilkenny for a run from March 11th – 15th.

The show is a darkly comic survival tale about Noah, the last man left in Ireland after a biblical flood wipes out the whole country. It’s looking dangerously topical right now and once people aren’t sick to death of shite weather, hopefully they’ll come see it. The show is going to be performed by Kevin Mooney and Eddie Murphy and directed by John Doran. I’m on producing duties for this one and I’m fierce excited to see Devious Theatre getting more original work by new writers onto the stage.

This teaser poster was designed by Kasia Kaminska and Ken McGuire and they have a main poster a brewing on the horizon which I’m very excited about.

For more on the show, including tickets, head over and check out devioustheatre.com

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The Dead Walked

Yup, the clean up was a bitch in the end.

The amount of fake blood we left in the Watergate Theatre was fairly disgusting. Then again, when you’re performing the Irish stage debut of Night Of The Living Dead you’re going to have to expect a little bit of a mess. And what a glorious mess it was. 5 nights of zombie slaying and apocalyptic destruction as our 20 strong cast hit the stage with serious force every night.

All in all, it was a blast. We got the best audiences that we’ve ever had for any of our shows to date which was a great feeling. The place was really buzzing and it was so good to see so many people enjoy a piece of theatre like that. It wasn’t to everyone’s taste but that’s par for the course with anything that mixes horror, comedy and any amount of social commentary. It was great to see that the huge promo campaign we undertook for the show paid off. After all that new content we generated, it would have been a shame if it didn’t. Actually no, it would just have sucked. But hey, someone is paying attention anyway so that’s good!

The year I spent working on this went so damn quick… it’s insane really. The post show blues on a show of this scale are going to be a right bastard. I only wish we were in a position to tour Night Of The Living Dead. I’m confident that we have a fantastic show and with the right opportunities and support we could really have an amazing piece of Irish theatre that a wide audience can see. Unfortunately, the opportunities and support aren’t in place right now and so it’s back to the drawing board with the show.If you know of any wealthy patrons who love horror plays, send ’em our way.

I’m absolutely honoured and privilged to work with such an amazing team over the past couple of months. Between the cast and crew, I really couldn’t have had a better, more dedicated hard working bunch of people to work with. Particular props must go to my co-writer Connie Walsh who busted her ass on this show for over a year and did a sterling amount of work on making this play. The girl’s got talent and I can’t wait to see what she cooks up next.

So that’s Night Of The Living Dead put to bed for the moment at least. Thanks to everyone who came, funded and supported this show. It means the world to me and to everyone in the comedy. Most of all, it lets us keep on doing what we do. Phantasm is opening up at Abhainn Rí this week so there’s definitely no rest for my wickedness.

These shows, they won’t stay dead…

Photos by Ross Costigan (I stole his zombie cameo shtick)

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