Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mars Attacks!

The launch of Devious Theatre's production of The War Of The Worlds is tonight!

The show has been finished, polished and covered in red weed in anticipation of it’s airing at 9pm on KCLR96FM and

It’s been a fantastic couple of months working on this project and for us, it’s opened up a whole new world of theatre. Radio theatre is a whole different discipline as I wrote earlier and it's something I want to indulge in more. It takes it right back to the spoken word and solely the spoken word. Exactly where all our great stories came from, aptly enough.

I hope that the production will go someway towards creating the sense of excitement and imagination that people had years ago as they huddled by their radiosets for all their entertainment. So if we can attract families, couples, the elderley, adults and kids alike and get them sitting in on a cold wintery night listening to the ol’ wireless, then we’ll be satisfied we’ve done our job. It’ll be even better if they descend into crazed hysteria and run out into the elements screaming of Martians. Orson Welles would be proud.

For my part, the writing process was a joy, the recording process was a true pleasure and I giddily look forward to sitting down tomorrow night to see the fine storytelling unfold, aided by a fine cast and a damn talented producer in Alan Dawson.

The last of the publicity material has gone out, Ross and Ken hit our hosts at KCLR96FM today for an interview and yes, the skies are definitely our enemy at the moment. So it must be said: the citizens of Carlow and Kilkenny have been given due warning.

We hope you’ll tune in tonight for our debut radio broadcast on KCLR96FM and of course, And remember, it’s only entertainment… just keep watching the skies. Happy Halloween.

Photos by

Monday, October 27, 2008

Welcome To Bansheeville

I've just finished work on the first draft of Bansheeville, the first play I've been commissioned to write.

I started work on it back in June and it's been a great experience, especially when you're working within the parameters of deadlines and being able to get top notch professional feedback too. Priceless learning curve.

After Heart Shaped Vinyl and Smitten, I was a bit nervous that my third play was a children's play and would I be able to write something that wasn't monologue heavy and full of foul language? But yeah, I think getting out of any comfort zones I had started to get into as a writer was the best thing for me at this stage of my writing life. Children are a very specific audience, not to mention a demanding one, so you really need to make sure that you're telling a really good story that they can connect with. It didn't take me long to realise that having written for Dreamstuff Youth Theatre for so long and worked as an actor with Barnstorm Theatre Company had given me such good experience in terms of seeing what works for younger audiences and I was able to apply this to Bansheeville.

I've had ideas for a banshee centred story for a long time and I never knew which form it would take but I think a children's play is the ideal way to tell it. I've always had this weird slightly morbid obsession with banshees ever since I was a child. It started with all those old stories you hear, grandmothers stories about these old Irish myths and the banshee was the one that really stuck in my little head. The idea of this horrible, screaming wailing woman hanging outside windows and warning people that they're gonig to die, is terrifying and as a child you just get entirely freaked out about what could be outside your window at night. Then I got really obsessed with that Disney movie Darby O'Gill and The Little People when I was young because it was full of leprechauns and Irish mythology and it had this flying, wailing banshee in it. Looking at it now, the banshee looks really dodgy with really lame special effects but as a child it just shits you up. The film also features a really young pre-Bond Sean Connery with a dodgy Irish accent and even dodgier singing skills. You really should check it out. For the laugh anyway.

So yeah, this is the banshee story I always wanted to write. It's about a 13 year old banshee called Siona and she hasn't found her scream yet and her hair is too knotty to comb and she lives in a colourful little place called Bansheeville. But even though she can't scream she's forced up into the big bad world because there's a shortage of banshees in Ireland due to the War of Independence. So with her little comb and list of Wailees, she's sent out to go and herald death. Which is obviously going to be hard when you can't scream.

So yeah, the perfect ingredients for a cracking childrens yarn: Death, banshees and the Irish War of Independence.

But to be honest, I think they were the elements that got it commissioned. Because I think people always underestimate children's capacity for subversive material and something like this could potentially connect...either that or I'm spreading my banshee terror to a whole new generation. I'm trying to make it as much of a fairytale as possible because fairytales are such an effective way for a child to be introduced to adult themes like death and sex and growing up and being responsible. Subversive see? So yeah, my inspirations for this are the works of The Brothers Grimm, Angela Carter and Terry Gilliam. So I'm hoping it'll be a nice funny, dark little fable for children. And maybe one day it'll make it up onto a stage. Early days yet anyway. But this is the first stage of the process completed and I'm really hoping to keep moving on with it.

And if you ever see a comb lying on the ground, do not pick it up.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The pen is down on Vultures Episode 4.

Myself and Paddy have been scribbling away on the Vultures scripts the past few weeks and we've just finished Episode 4. Which I can happily and unofficially announce (as there's most likely noone reading) that it's entitled The Case Of The Poisoned Dates. Which is most definitely my favourite Vultures episode title so far, if not the most tenously related to the actual episode. Ah well.

It's going into pre-production from this very week and is shooting from the last week of October to the last week of November. I'm really looking forward to knuckling into this one. After each one, I always end up kicking myself in the shins about something so it makes me want to knuckle into the next one all the more. This episode is being directed by Ross Costigan (big hair, big camera, big so it'll be great to step back and let someone else have a crack of the whip on it. I've learned some invaluable lessons as a director on the first 3 but I need the time to catch my breath and get myself into good shape for the back to back Episode 5/6 shoot. Ross has a great visual eye and a first rate natural instinct for comedy so there's noone better to take custody of the baby for a while.

All manner of official announcements and the like will be oncoming soon. But do check out the website because it's still looking mightily pretty.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good evening ladies and gentlemen...

We've been hard at the recording of our 70th anniversary version of The War Of The Worlds the past week or so and we're just about complete. Our trips into the studio have already started to pay dividends though and the first of 6 specially produced radio and web adverts for the production has just went online at our website and they're also going to be airing on KCLR 96FM from this week too.

They've certainly succeeded in capturing that 'epic' feel that we're looking for in the battle scenes. Our sound designer and producer Alan Dawson likes to go into his lab and tinker away for hours and Christ, the results are really something. We've been laying down vocals all week and we're kind of going 'Ah yeah, that seemed okay. Was that alright?' and everyone else is like 'Ah yeah.' but you know, just know, that it's going to go through the magic Daw sound filter machine and it's gonna come out on the other end sounding, well, epic. Wellesian even.

The recording process so far has seen Kev, Ross, Ken, Daw and myself spending long, long hours in the studio, drinking ridiculous amounts of tea, copious amounts of biscuits and chain smoking stupid amount of fags. It's been really intensive and a good working experience for us. From the get go, we approached this project as a group... there's no Welles in our midst y'know? And we've tackled it as a group. Everyone is concise with direction and we've all been on the same page. As I mentioned in an earlier post, like excited kids getting to play in the classic sci-fi section of toy store. The sense of glee when we go through ideas for what the sound of a clanking tripod leg might sound like is just comical. Big kids for sure.

It's been a real eye opener for me in terms of radio production. Just being in the booth for a couple of hours and acting to myself, using nothing but vocals and imagination has really blown the dust off me. And to be honest, I was nowhere near prepared well enough vocally for this. I came out of the booth just kicking myself yesterday. The demands of vocal performance are completely different from the physical side, you have to get across so much vocally. Everything. Not just the story itself but the colour, the emotion, the effect of the words, the nuance of it all. It's a hugely demanding process and I have nothing but respect for the performers that can do it daily. I did a radio production of The Tain a couple of years back and I remember really preparing the shit out of it and working very hard on the craft of vocal work. Suffice to say, it's something I really want to revisit. I haven't focused on vocal performance in a while now and well, as recording The War Of The Worlds has proved, without your voice you're fucked as a performer. Unless...

Alternately, don't be surprised to see Devious Theatre doing Commedia Dell'Arte on the streets of Kilkenny next year. At which point, I'll take off my mask and my tights, turn to everyone else covered in sweat and go 'Jesus lads, I am fucking knackered. Fuck this physical theatre shit.' Time to start brushing up all round methinks.

Watch The Skies. 30.10.08. It's gonna be explosive.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Meet Noah Hennessy and Tom Moriarty

Here's more additions to the character profiles for Vultures. You can check them out on our ever expanding website at These are 2 character that were introduced in the second episode, 'The Scarlet Lady Vanishes'.


First up is the Italia 90 obsessed, permanently moustached taxi driver / butcher, Noah Hennessy played by Gus McDonagh. He's a man not to be messed with. Especially if you try to strangle his prostitute girlfriend.

Check out his profile at


Next up is the ever so smooth, well groomed moustache of Isabelle Vultour's slick architecht boyfriend Tom Moriarty as played by Stephen Colfer. A man so slick he makes David Niven look like a hobo.

Learn more about this modern day Casanova at his profile

Monday, October 6, 2008

The War Of The Worlds - 30.10.08

So after a month of teasing and dropping dates, making a go of a small viral campaign (if it's good enough for the movies) and generally trying to get our wits about us, we launched our upcoming radio production of HG Well's THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. All at the same as we relaunched with a brand spanking new look and fancy new features and other such bells and whistles.

WOTW is the perfect project for us to launch with as our first foray into radio theatre. It's a classic piece of science fiction, we get to put our own spin on it and indeed, it couldn't be timed more deviously. On 30th October 1938 Orson Welles launched his famous (or infamous) broadcast of the play on C.B.S. and caused what my mother would term as 'absolute fucking ructions.' A lot of people thought his radio broadcast themed account was actually a really Martian invasion of America and fled houses, burnt things and generally caused chaos. In all fairness to Welles, there were liberal sprinklings of disclaimers throughout his famous broadcast. Maybe people were too busy screaming to notice?

So, in a homage to Welles, we're doing our own version, set entirely in the Kilkenny / Carlow region, 70 years to the date of his broadcast. We're doing it radio program style initially but we're branching out to include more elements from the book and try and utilise our modern setting as best we can. Myself and fellow Devious Theatre compadre Kevin Mooney have spent the past month secretely battering out the script for our version. Like a lot of previous adaptations, we've tried to allegorise it a little with references to global warning, Sellafield, immigration and even a little bit of recession. We're trying to keep as close to the novel as possible and not be hokey about it. Martians have such a B-movie cheesy image at times. But not these rampaging fuckers. We've been working on the recording and everything has been a lot of fun so far. And hey, if all goes well a radio play could end up being a permanent yearly fixture for Devious Theatre. So we're going to cross a few fingers on that one.

It's a great opportunity for us to branch out into a different style of theatre. Myself, Kev, Ken and Ross have been giddily excited about it for the past couple of weeks. Like kids in a big radio theatre store, getting to play in the sci-fi classics section. It's also a great opportunity to work on a project outside the summer months too. We were getting a bit of a 'summer company' rep so it's nice to break the cycle we've established since 2006. Break it with some evil red weed, heat rays and killer black smoke.

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS will be broadcast on KCLR 96FM on October 30th 2008 at 9pm. It can also be listened to live on And do make sure to check out the bubbles and sparks at too. It's fancy.

This is no doubt exactly how we'll look whilst recording. Exactly like that.