Tell us about your play Jezebel (which has recently completed a two week run at the Soho Theatre, London).
Jezebel is a comedy about a couple who go on a journey of sexual exploration that leads them to having a threesome. And then it's about the complications that arise from that. And it's funny.
What do you want audience to get out of the play?
Mostly an enjoyable night out. I really see myself as an entertainer more than anything else. Hopefully people come away from Jezebel having had a really good laugh.
Did the cast play the characters as you had imagined them to be?
There's a melding between the cast and the characters on the page in the creation of a show I think. It's not complete until the actors have brought their own personalities to the play.
Several times in rehearsals the actors felt like the roles were almost written about them. "I am Jezebel. She's just me," Valerie would say. So if a show is to be good it should feel like this is the only cast that could be these people. They are Alan, Robin and Jezebel. Also it's quite nice that Peter, Margaret and Valerie are great and funny actors.
How was the production brought over from Ireland to London?
Rough Magic originally produced it in December 2012 in Dublin. It proved successful so they brought it back to tour earlier this year. As far as I know there was interest from the Soho Theatre then but it didn't quite fit into their schedule so it was brought back again for August.
When you're writing a script, do you think about direction or do you just focus on primary dialogue?
I would have a lot of ideas about performance and staging I suppose. I'd need to visualise it to write it. I try not to have all the problems solved though, 'cause what fun is that? I wouldn't write a lot of pointless movement into a script. If it says "Alan moves over to Robin", it's there to say something that the dialogue can't.
Is your work based on personal experience or imagination?
Every word of Jezebel is 100% true. Apart from all of it.
There's small glimpses of truth in there (a drug dealer I once met called Gringo, a friend who didn't know why they called it a Qwerty keyboard) but mostly it's only truthful from the point of view of finding honest reasons why the characters do what they do.
I can make them do ridiculous, illogical things but we need to believe it within the reality of the show.
When did you begin writing?
Well I began acting at the age of about 10. My mother sent me to acting classes, I think because I was a very quiet child. I started writing as well when I was at college ("Uni" if you're not Irish but I can't use that term without feeling like an eijit). I enjoyed writing so have kept going since then. I still act but I'm the only person who ever casts me.
Do you feel there are any differences between London and Dublin Theatre scenes?
I don't think I've been around the London theatre scene enough to really give much of a judgement but it did seem like smaller shows were kind of eclipsed by The West End. I found it hard to find out what else was going on. "Surely it can't be just West End shows. Where do you go if you don't want to pay an insane amount to see a mediocre show?" (I haven't managed to find myself at a West End show that I've actually enjoyed so far.) But maybe I'm just more plugged into the independent scene here in Dublin.
If you could offer any advice to any budding playwright what would you say?
Well, I wouldn't want to put myself as more of an expert than anyone else but one thought for any contemporary would be please try not to torture your audience. Sometimes it feels like the makers of whatever show you're watching seem to hate their audience and want to inflict nothing but pain on them. And also come up with just one sentence that can explain the show - whether that's the plot or the theme or the philosophy.