Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019
"The play follows struggling actor (VINNY), played by myself over the course of three weeks, as he tries to come to terms with his demons, upon discovering he is about to become a father."
A FEAR AND LOATHING ACTOR IN DUBLIN | C Venues - C cubed
Aug 14-26 | 15:45 | TICKETS
Fast-paced, high-energy, physical theatre that features Shakespeare monologues re-imagined. Follow struggling actor Vinny and his demons as he tries to balance his acting dreams with the growing demands of real life.
Hi Mark, thanks for talking to TNC, how are things going?
Hi, nice to talk to you too. I'm great thanks. Extremely excited about performing at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It's getting full on now with all the prep, but we're getting there.
Are you looking forward to being at C Venues this summer?
Very much so. It's one of the most established venues at the Fringe and I'm really looking forward bringing my play to C Cubed. It was one of the top venues on my list that I wanted to bring the play to.
What does it mean to you to be at the Fringe with A Fear And Loathing Actor in Dublin?
Ah it's amazing! I'm thrilled to be performing at the Fringe. It's one of, if not the biggest theatre festivals in the world. It's such an amazing opportunity to showcase the play, directors and actors in front of an international audience. It's the World cup of theatre festivals and we want to play with the best. I really believe in this play and everyone attached to it. Can't wait to get out on stage.
The reaction to A Fear And Loathing Actor in Dublin has been amazing, has the response to your play surprised you?
It has in some ways and in others no. I really felt from the first readings of the play to rehearsals that we had something really special. But the audience reaction surpassed any preconceived ideas I had. There was such a genuinely positive reaction to the play and performances. It was such a buzz performing it in front of a Dublin audience, and they really got the humour, characters and story. In the opening scene I'm in a taxi and the driver is yapping away to us in typical Dublin fashion. And the audience just burst out laughing. Proper laugh out loud. It really took me by surprise. It felt great. They words I'd written had an impact. For a second I was completely out of the scene. Not for long though.
I'm very excited to see what Fringe audience reactions will be. It such a high energy play, and one that I reckon will really suit the Fringe set up.
Are there any nerves ahead of your fringe run?
I would describe it more as excitement than nerves. I've worked so hard to make this a reality and I'm completely buzzed up about it. I get to work on a brilliant play with a super talented bunch of actors at a major festival. Brilliant!
"He gives the actors space to do what they do best and then brings it all together wonderfully."
Can you tell me a little bit about A Fear And Loathing Actor in Dublin, what can we expect?
It's an explosive new piece of writing about being an artist in the 21st Century. It's a fast-paced, high energy, physical piece of theatre that features Shakespeare monologues delivered in a fresh new way at key moments of the play. The play follows struggling actor VINNY, played by myself over the course of three weeks, as he tries to come to terms with his demons, upon discovering he is about to become a father. It's a captivating and witty piece of theatre, tapping into the psyche of modern audiences. The show's theme is also quite a topical subject matter at the moment as it examines the great debate of Art versus Commerce and the sacrifice artists face daily in just trying to survive and to live a 'normal life'. Can we follow our creative urges and still have a life, or is it always to be a struggle? And is that struggle even worth it? The audience can expect a lot of laughter mixed with light and dark moments. There is a real kinetic energy to the play both verbally and physically, and I really like that. Especially a play that's 65 minutes in length. There's no room for fat. It needs that pace and energy and 'A Fear And Loathing Actor In Dublin' has that in spades. It's a rollercoaster of an experience.
What was the inspiration behind your play?
The play is inspired by my own experiences of living a life as an artist but also in trying to live a normal life. What's the impact on those you love in pursuing this artistic endeavour? How does it affect your relationships? Sometimes you're working, sometimes you're not. Being rejected constantly in the pursuit of roles. How can an artist make art if they're constantly working on another job? How do they hone their craft and improve if they can't spend time making the art? The play is a reflection of modern Ireland and a snapshot into the difficulties actors face in pursuing their dreams, both artistic dreams and life dreams. The world needs artists and their creativity. I was also inspired by the Beat generation writing and the writers associated with this style. A stream of consciousness style writing. It's an amazing group of writers including my favourite, Jack Kerouac. It's also not too dissimilar to how my mind works. So I wrote the play in that manner, which was a lot of fun to do.
What has been the most challenging part of bringing this play to life?
As in most theatre endeavours, the biggest challenge is funding. Especially bringing a team of 5 to Edinburgh from Dublin. The costs really stack up, with venue hire, travel, accommodation and subsistence for the team. We received no funding from any arts council, so I've really had to hustle to get the money together. It's been quite stressful, but we're almost there.
What has the process been like working with your director Lee Wilson?
Ah, it's been an absolute pleasure working with Lee. He's a real actor's director. It's such collaboration with Lee. He really understands what I was trying to do with the writing of the play, and his vision is so specific. He gives the actors space to do what they do best and then brings it all together wonderfully. There were many moments were actors were like 'wow, he's really good'. Lee also has a strong relationship and history working with Shakespeare. So, it was great having that input. Lee is an artist himself and at one time was an actor, so understands the actor's life very well. He's such a lovely person and a pleasure to work with. In fact, the whole team (actors and cast) are such a joy to work with. it's inspiring working with people as talented as Lee.
How important is the collaborative nature of theatre-making?
It's massively important and key to the success of a show. There definitely needs to be a singular voice in the writing and directing, but the collaboration then between the writing, cast and crew are paramount. Everyone is there to serve the play. However, each element must have their own unique voice within the confines of the play. Otherwise, you might as well hire a bunch of monkeys.
"Theatre is such a powerful medium for storytelling and is still so impactful in a world where entertainment is dominated by YouTube and Box sets. "
How much does your background as an actor help your writing?
It helps hugely. The most significant area is in dialogue. It's the one area of the script that has been consistently praised throughout the process. And as an actor, it's something you're always working on. I'm always observing human behaviour and listening to how people talk. I love sitting in a cafe and just watching and listening to people. I believe Marlon Brando used to do the same. He'd just sit in a telephone box and observe people and all their brilliant unusualness. It's not only fascinating to watch but gives a great insight into behaviour. As an actor, it's also all about what's really going on in the scene. Underneath the dialogue. So that's an interesting place to start. What characters say on stage is rarely what they mean.
Have you always had a passion for theatre?
Not always, no. When I was younger I was mad into sport, especially rugby. All I wanted to do was play for Ireland. But sport in many ways is very similar to the theatre. There is an audience and a performance, and more often than not lots of drama. I love the feedback from a big crowd. When I was really young I also used to put on mini magic shows for my parents' friends when they called around to the house. I was big into magic, but again I loved the performance element and the connection with the audience. Even if it was only 2 people! And today with theatre I love the 'live' element. You can feel the energy of the audience in the room. And everything is so immediate, moment to moment. As it is in sport. It's like walking the tightrope so to speak. Theatre is such a powerful medium for storytelling and is still so impactful in a world where entertainment is dominated by YouTube and Box sets. The power of theatre to make people think, question and feel is immense.
Has your style and approach to this show differed much since your previous shows?
This is actually the first play I've written. I've written a number of short films and have just finished writing a feature film. Which is actually based on the same concept of the play. But this is my first play. So, I'll have to come back to you on that when I finish writing the next one. I will say that it is a very different process to writing a film script. Same same but different.
What 3 words best describe this show?
Entertaining, fast-paced, physical. And yes fast-paced is one word.
Do you have any advice you would offer an emerging playwright?
Get out into the world and experience as much of life as possible. Grab every opportunity that you can. Travel and live in other countries. The richer your life experiences, the richer your writing. And write something every day. Whether that's a diary, short stories. scenes, journalling. Just write, write, write! And observe human behaviour as much as you can. That's in the real world, not in a phone.
And finally, what do you want your audiences to take away from A Fear And Loathing Actor in Dublin?
I want them to be absolutely buzzing with energy after the show, to feel entertained and to have been moved on a deeper level. To be asking questions of themselves and of the play/performance. The play is not only about pursuing art and the importance of it but about pursuing your dreams. We all have dreams. Go get them!