I was interviewed by Ronan Leonard for his feature article on Writers’ Week at the Cork Arts Theatre. In it I spoke about the competition, my play and how much fun it is to write a one-act. Here is the full transcript of my interview:
“Once I learned the basics of writing I just kept penning the ideas that pop into my head – from essays in school to a novel I published last year, called Mrs God. I wrote my first play back in 1998 with an idea I had during a creative writing course run by the Cork College of Commerce.
“I’ve written five short plays now and I’m lucky enough to have seen all of them produced. If I had to describe them in one word it would be ‘quirky’. They’re not kitchen-sink dramas. I like to play around with words and meanings, so there’s always humour in there.
“As I’ve said, I’m extremely lucky to have seen each of my plays staged. Part of that is due to the writing obviously being judged of good enough quality to entertain the masses, but a big part of it is the existence of Cork Arts Theatre’s competition. Without the competition I would never have written a play in the first place. It offers a chance for anyone to see their plays come to life, and even if they don’t get shortlisted for production the judges give brilliant and valuable advice on each and every entry.
“It’s not as if I go to the theatre every week. I just saw the CAT competition as a writing challenge, a new medium to master, one with unique rules and language. Seeing your play acted out on stage gives you such a buzz, it’s addictive.
“My play, The Light Keepers, was borne out of concerns that we are giving technology too much power over our lives. Everywhere you look, there’s a teenager transfixed by a smartphone or an adult glued to social media. Experts fear we are getting dumber because we leave thinking to computers; we’ve put all our knowledge eggs in the Wikipedia basket. Why waste time thinking when you can simply Google everything, right? My two characters represent the old-fashioned way and the newfangled way – the clash of cultures. It’s directed by Noelle Clarke of Take 5, who I know since she acted in my play Fade to Black in 2011. I guess she understands the ‘quirkiness’ of my writing.
“If I could advise anyone thinking about writing something – try a one-act play. All you need is two characters, put them somewhere, cause some conflict and see where it ends up. Don’t worry about endings, they usually turn up all by themselves! When you’ve finished, enter it into the Cork Arts Theatre’s competition… who knows, you might get to see it on stage!”