The fifth dimension

Reverse Psychology rehearsal

Reverse Psychology rehearsal

The clack of keys, the scratch of graphite and the creak of pens – the trillion sounds of ideas becoming real, upon screens and paper. The ideas themselves remain silent to everyone other than the author… until they are read. Readers hear those ideas within their own minds. So, if the writer is good the reader can replay what went on in the author’s head. Great writing is delayed telepathy.

Another method of breathing life into a writer’s ideas is through the ancient form of acting. Great acting and great writing combine to make virtual universes real; to bring imaginary people to life. No god need apply.

I’ve written five short plays now, and, as of yesterday, I’ve seen four of them come to life before me. Three of them have been performed on stage before ‘a live audience’ which engaged with them, laughed and gasped and clapped (in all the right places!). It has always been a surreal experience for me. I never get used to the process. I feel like Geppetto each and every time. Of course, the big difference is that though I have carved the wooden boy and made him look real, it is others who breathe life into him and cut the strings.

Judy Donovan

Judy Donovan

Yesterday, I sat in on rehearsals for my new play, Reverse Psychology. It is a short play and will be one of six tales as part of a horror anthology called Disconnected, which will be performed in Cork in September. I’ve worked with the director, John Hayes, before. He helped Fade to Black net an acting award as well as widespread acclaim. Actor Judy Donovan had a small part in that play too. This time she has a lot more to get her teeth into. I met the other actors – Catherine Crowley, Liam O’Maoldhomhnaigh, and Dave McGuire. No sooner had I met them than they all became other people; people who had been born in my brain. Vague, shadow people suddenly became crystal clear in form and voice. Watching great actors at work is a truly magical experience. No wonder the best and most famous get paid millions to fool us into believing they are someone else.

Acting should be bigger than life. Scripts should be bigger than life. It should all be bigger than life.
– Bette Davis

Liam O'Maoldhomhnaigh and Catherine Crowley

Liam O’Maoldhomhnaigh and Catherine Crowley

I watched as the men and women in my play became real – their quirks, their needs, their pasts, appeared before me like a fantastic illusion. It finalised a process that had begun in my head (1D), formed on a page (2D), reimagined by a director (3D), and now walked and talked via these actors (4D). They were so good that they made me forget that they sometimes read from their manuscripts and helped each other with their lines. They were SO good they made me forget that the words they spoke were written by ME!

I’ll post about the 1D and 2D processes soon enough, but for now I’m just happy that I have another project at the 4D stage. I know for a fact that it’s in good hands, ready for an audience to engage with it. That must surely be the fifth dimension.

To see more images from the rehearsal, click here.



  1. […] not easy to write a villain. I rediscovered this while working on my new play Reverse Psychology after being asked to write a horror by its director, John Hayes. I eventually came to the […]

  2. […] I glanced around several times, gazing at the faces in the gloom, bewitched by the performances, engaged by the story, hooked by the characters. Yes, the story and the characters were mine, and the spoken words were written by me, but they would have remained inert without the talented actors’ ability to breathe life into them. The intriguing drama was spun by Judy Donovan, Catherine Crowley, Liam O’Maoldhomhnaigh, and Dave McGuire, under the direction …. […]

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