Interviewed by: Geneva Pattison.
What inspires you to write and how have you incorporated it into your work?
I was inspired to write because I saw a lot of plays put on in UCD dramsoc that I really enjoyed but always kept wondering to myself, “wouldn’t it be cool and funny if this happened..”, or “I wonder how weird people would find this if..”. I mused about this so much to the point where I actually decided to put pen to paper just to see what my ideas would look like as words on a page. Encouragement from the society and friends kept me motivated to writing the play in full. To tell truth anything really inspires me, I laugh at a lot of strange things. The high standard of the plays in dramsoc are also a great source of inspiration of writing better plays and thinking outside the box.
Is there anything that stands out in particular regarding your academic life in UCD that drew you to writing drama?
Yes, in first year I lived with ten of my school friends in a three story Georgian house and we went absolutely nuts as all country boys do when they get to “de big smoke”. Every night brought with it some kind misdemeanor or escapade like trying to coax a duck from the canal into the house so it would become our own house pet and mascot or cycling our bikes down the stairs in to the street when it was snowing. That become the subject matter for the first play, That’s Leeson Street back in 2013. It actually got to the point where it became morally questionable for me not to document what went on that house in some shape or form.
Are there any topics close to your heart currently that you intend to write on in the future?
It all depends on what interests me. I was obsessed with the prospect of Ireland losing its pub culture for a while so I used that as a subject matter for the second play I wrote, Mexican Rave back in February 2014. The latest play, Man Vs Life: The Rise and Fall of Dirk Turpen was largely influenced by all the financial corruption of the 1990s and the loss of control and power. I also drew heavily from the idea of media sensationalism and the crippling of the human spirit from my favourite Shakespeare play, King Lear. I loved the idea of a character thinking himself to be untouchable and his downfall to be made out to be all the more outrageous by the power of the media. Something that’s been quite prevalent and a characteristic of mine is writing villains or the character people love to hate.
If given the chance to have lunch with three dramatists dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
Hmmm, that’s a toughie. I know Dermot Morgan cut his dramatic teeth in UCD so I’d love to have lunch with him and I also because the man is a legend and not a day goes by that I don’t think of some ridiculous Father Ted quote that makes me tear up with laughter. Next would be Oscar Wilde, he was one of the wittiest people alive and I find a lot of his quotes to be extremely motivating, “to live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all” has to be one of the most honest sentences in the English language and it’s something I try to incorporate it into my own life. Frank Pig Says Hello, a stage adaption of the Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe is one of my favourite plays of all time. It’s so dark and so weird and yet so Irish, I love it. So I would definitely love to pick Patrick McCabe’s brains about what was going through his mind when he wrote that play.
What is your most memorable moment, good/bad/strange from a live performance of your work?
There’s been quite a few, a lot of the actors I work with like to improvise with the script which is spontaneous and great but often leaves me with a fear of dread as to what’s going to happen next. On the Friday show of That’s Leeson Street one of the actors ripped off the set’s fridge door by accident, the audience started to laugh and of course all the actors on stage began to laugh as well. In Mexican Rave one of the actors kept randomly drinking milk and in Man Vs Life: The Rise and Fall of Dirk Turpen another one made it his mission to make all the actors break character and laugh on stage in the scene by pulling ridiculous faces, he was quite successful a few times.