Next Up

Next up: I will be featuring in the short films Dark & Stormy and Belfast Caliber 9.

10 May 2011

Playboy of the Western World, Undisclosed, Progressive Building Society and Generous Bank!

This Friday and Saturday, May 13th and 14th sees the performance in my second run of Playboy of the Western World, this time playing the patriarchal Michael James at the Crescent Arts Centre. The production has been an exercise in sheer efficiency, as we only started rehearsing in earnest last week. The cast and crew, all from Queen's University Players have been fantastic and have brought real life to the piece in an incredibly short amount of time. Colm Doran is directing with help from Rory Knox, Alex Stone, Simon Welch and Adam Turns in the production team. Thomas Finnegan is the title role as Christy , Christina Martin, who I directed in Fast & Loose V, plays Pegeen, Anton Thompson-McCormick is the cowardly Shaun Keogh, Nuala Donnelly is hilarious as Widow Quinn, Terry McCartan plays the drunken letch, Jimmy Farrell, James Maguire courageously stepped in at the last minute to portray Old Mahon and the three girls are played with dynamism by Shauny Shields, Vicki Mohan and Sarah McLaughlin. This is probably my favourite play, so I can't wait to get to play it for another audience. Tickets are on sale from The Crescent's website for £5.

Next week, I have a small part in an upcoming BBC drama, Undisclosed. Starring Life On Mars' Philip Glenister, I'll be playing a prison admin officer who delivers bad news to the protagonist. Although this is only a small part, it'll be a great experience to be able to work among some of the best actors around, and every step on the ladder is a good one, so I'm looking forward to being on set.

Also, if you have been watching UTV Weather in the last week or so, you'll have heard a familiar voice in the advertising wraparounds for Progressive Building Society. Listen out at about 6:25 this evening, just before the mercurial Frank Mitchell announces where the Weather-Watching Camera was today!

Finally, I have been confirmed to be part of Red Lemon's Pick n Mix show, The Generous Bank. Pick n Mix is basically an industry showcase for theatre in Belfast, so to be involved is an incredible opportunity, and one I intend to grasp with both hands.

28 Mar 2011

Fast & Loose 5 with QU Players and Accidental Theatre

On Friday and Saturday, I took the opportunity to join up with the precocious talents in Queen's University Players and Accidental Theatre again to be part of Fast and Loose 5, their latest 24 hour play venture. Unlike last time, I decided to be a director, given that I would like to be able to move into that area at some stage, and this was a great opportunity to see if I could take the reigns on someone else's script.

I was handed Darragh Cotter's Last Choir Practice, a bittersweet tale of innocence lost between two schoolgirls, played perfectly by Christina Martin and Karen Quinn. It was nerve-shredding taking over someone's writing, but Darragh said he was pleased with how we approached it, and I hope I did it justice. It was great working with two fine young actresses, who approached the rehearsals and line learning with impeccable professionalism and were simply great natural performers, which took the pressure off me immediately.

The second play of the evening (Pirate Radio) was by Fast and Loose veterans, Leana Arrell, Brian Charity and Neal Cahoun, and they maintained their mischievous ways with a dark comedy about two cousins (David Heatley and Amy Poole) having to face the possibility that they will have to repopulate the planet. The performances and direction by Claire Mason were spot on, and the audience was in stitches. These writers are not afraid to broach taboos, and I said to them I would love to perform something they write, and hope to get a chance to sometime soon.

The third play, Danced Myself Into the Tomb, was a tragic exploration into the fragile state of the human mind, centred on a gut-wrenching performance from Josh Cuddy. Unfortunately the writer, James Pelan, was unable to see Jordana Maguire's expressive take on his piece, but I'm sure he would have approved.

Minerva by Seamus Collins finished the evening on a rapturous high. Seamus, fresh from winning a BBC Writersroom competition to be a writer for the Lyric Theatre, and premieres for his two plays, And of the Sun and Please, Patricia, is on something of a role at the minute, and long may it continue. His play was about two daughters coming to terms with their gregarious mother's philandering ways. A tour de force performance from Nuala Donnelly as the mother, along with Catherine Lambert and Ruth Wilson brilliantly playing the daughters, is a testament to director Colm Doran and the actresses themselves.

The production team, and overall outlay was considerably smaller for Fast and Loose 5, but the mercurial Emily de Dakis and Justyn MacKay still managed to put on a great show. Along with the lone stage manager, Simon Welch - who also provided some voiceovers for the plays - and writing mentor, Phil Hurst - who is also a writer on a role, having got through the first round of BBC NI's PrimeTime competition - assisting the writers overnight. Of course I and the other directors owe a huge debt to the men behind the tech desk, John Beecher and David Kane, who had to overcome missing equipment and theatre lock outs to get the tech runs and performances done. Hat tips all round.

The idea of doing a play in 24 hours really is frightening, but the energy is invigorating, and it's inspired me to attempt directing again soon.