A Skull in Connemara - Interview and Pics

February 21, 2013

A Skull in Connemara - Interview and Pics

A Skull in Connemara  plays Draiocht on Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 March, 8pm. Tickets €18/€14 conc ... Book Here ... 


Interview with Andrew Flynn, A Skull In Connemara

Taken from Entertainment.ie


Andrew Flynn and his Decadent Theatre bring A Skull In Connemara out on tour this Spring. One of Martin McDonagh’s funniest plays it was nominated for an Olivier award in 1997. Guaranteed to make you laugh, squirm and avoid graveyards Caomhan Keane speaks to the Irish Times Theatre Award nominee here.


What's the story behind A Skull in Connemara for people who might not know?


A Skull in Connemara, is the middle play of Martin McDonaghs Leenane Trilogy. The play follows the story of Mick Dowd , a local man who each year takes on the task to disinter the bones from graves over seven years laid to rest to make way for new arrivals. This task is much to the discomfort of Mick’s neighbours and rumours are plenty regarding what he does with the bones and skulls once disturbed from their resting place. The play opens on the days leading up to yet another removal. However this year Mick has the task of digging up his own late wife Oona. This sparks further controversy given the fact that his late wife died in very suspicious circumstances. Add into this mix, nosy neighbours, troublesome teenagers and an ambitious Guard and it provides a rollercoaster ride through McDonagh’s black comic world.

Why stage a production now?


I really love to stage Martin’s work and this play hadn't been given a major production in 16 years. I was excited by producing a McDonagh play that audiences weren't familiar with. I also felt that the play was originally staged as part of a trilogy and in some ways was choked by the other two plays. Staging it as a stand-alone play meant we could focus on making the play work and creating Martin's vision for the play without being compromised by the demands of the other plays.

What does McDonagh possess that makes him the most successful Irish playwright of the past 20 years?


Martin’s work is laced with brilliant comic humour and yet at its heart is dark. Achieving both things are difficult but essential. I feel people believe the characters and relate to them even though he brings them to the extreme. Martin is a brilliant storyteller and has a universal quality to the characters. This has been vital to his global success. He also makes us laugh at things we know we probably shouldn't laugh at. This is wicked and this is something that energises an audience.

Every production I've seen of a McDonagh play in the past three years has gone hell for leather with gory comedy and ignored the cruelty and emotions that earn us the pay out. How have you avoided this?

I hope we have, I think the work is very funny but at its core is a loneliness and darkness. I feel that if you lose that then the plays don't work. I had a fantastic group of actors who all felt like that and are very conscious of finding that dark edge. Without it you wander close to panto.


There's a belief that his work is dated. You clearly don't believe that since you are mounting one of his shows. What universal message do you think his work tells us about Ireland?


I really don't feel his work is dated. I grew up in rural Ireland in the late 80s early 90s and having worked in the family pub I certainly know a lot of characters that could walk directly into a McDonagh play. They exist and I feel audiences know people like the characters they are meeting. His plays look at people and how cruel they can be to each other. Having talked to audience members their reaction was that the madness of the play is more apt today than ever.


Michael Billington wondered if he had anything original to say? What would you say, if anything, in his defense?


I feel he is brilliantly original; his language is completely original and very beautiful when you get the rhythms. He is a master storyteller who has the ability to bring people into his world. Watching his play with an audience it’s a thrill to see how involved the audience becomes, and not just with the comic elements. I see them grimace, gasp and flinch. When he first exploded on to the scene I remember someone saying, he is just another John B. Keane another rural kitchen sink drama. I remember thinking that in the rural kitchen sink dramas they were referring to, you don't see a woman torture and kill their mother. So I feel he is very original and has a lot to say.


Congrats on your Best Director nod for the Irish Times Theatre Awards. How do you feel about the whole shebang?


I am delighted, it is nice to be recognised and feel honoured to be in the category with such hugely talented people.


What do you make of Gary Hynes exclusion from the list?

I thought it was strange and feel the achievement with Druid Murphy was a huge achievement, I feel that this has been recognised through the best production nomination.


A Skull in Connemara  plays Draiocht on Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 March, 8pm. Tickets €18/€14 conc ... Book Here ... 


Comment Form

Please type the letters shown in the image below to help us avoid spam comments: