A conversation with playwright Darren Murphy, director Caitríona McLaughlin, and the cast of The Gifts You Gave to the Dark: Marty Rea, Seán McGinley, and Marie Mullen, with Irish Rep co-founders, Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly.
MUSIC: CARL KENNEDY
Darren is Belfast based and an Associate Playwright at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, where he has also taught. He is currently working towards a Creative Practice PhD in Playwriting at Queen’s University, Belfast, where he also teaches playwriting. Plays include: Many Mansions (Abbey Theatre commission); Bunny’s Vendetta (commissioned for the inaugural UK City of Culture, Derry, 2013); Irish Blood, English Heart, Trafalgar Studios (London’s West End); Tabloid Caligula, Arcola, London/E59E, NY, for the Brits Off-Broadway Festival); The Flats, Chelsea Theatre (shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award), and A Road in Winter, Soho (Westminster Prize). He is represented by Nick Quinn at The Agency, and is published by Oberon.
Caitríona is currently Associate Director of The Abbey Theatre, Ireland where she will direct Marina Carr’s six hour play cycle The Boy for The Abbey and Dublin Theatre Festival. In 2020 she was also planning to direct Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seragilo for Irish National Opera and create a production of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars with a community cast from the East Wall region of Dublin to be performed on The Abbey Stage, both have been cancelled because of Covid-19. Caitriona has directed primarily in London, Dublin, and New York. Recent productions at the Abbey include On Raftery’s Hill (Best Director, 2019 Irish Times Theatre Awards), Citysong by Dylan Coburn Grey (ITTA nomination Best New Play), Two Pints by Roddy Doyle, Josephine K and The Algorithms by Stacey Gregg and Monsters Dinosaurs Ghosts by Jimmy McAleavey. Projects elsewhere include This Hostel Life by Melatu Uchenna Okorie and Evangelia Rigaki for Irish National Opera, Blood in the Dirt by Rory Gleeson for Landmark Productions, Autumn Royal, by Kevin Barry, and Foyle Punt for The LocalGroup. Opera includes Vaughan Williams Riders to the Sea, and Lennox Berkeley’s A Dinner Engagement, both for Wexford Opera. Banished by Stephen McNeff, lll Ballo delle Ingrate, Monteverdi and Scipio’s Dream, by Judith Weir for The Royal Irish Academy of Music. Work with youth and emerging theatre artists includes, directing and teaching at; The Lir Academy Dublin, and Mountview Drama School, London. Associate Director of The Playground Studio, London and Education Director at Theatre Peckham, London. She also work with Judith Weir (Current Master of the Queens Music) and Spark Opera Belfast on the development of 2 new operas for young people.
Epiphany, DruidShakespeare – Richard II (Irish Times Best Actor), King of the Castle, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Waiting For Godot (Herald Angel Award/ Edinburgh fringe Festival), DruidShakespeare – The Henriad Cycle, Brigit, Be Infants in Evil, The Colleen Bawn, DruidMurphy – Three Plays by Tom Murphy (Druid Theatre, Galway) The Glass Menagerie, Beginning, The Great Gatsby, Juno and the Paycock, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Caretaker, An Ideal Husband, My Cousin Rachel, Little Women, Hay Fever, Salomé, The Glass Menagerie, Arcadia (Gate Theatre, Dublin) Thirst (and other bits of Flann), Othello, She Stoops To Conquer, The Hanging Gardens, Major Barbara, John Gabriel Borkman, The Rivals, Only An Apple, An Ideal Husband, The Big House, Saved, The Importance of Being Earnest (Abbey Theatre, Dublin) Improbable Frequency (E59 Street Theatre, New York); Pentecost, Spokesong (The Lyric Theatre, Belfast and Rough Magic Theatre Co., Dublin) Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Hamlet (Irish Times Best Actor) (Second Age Theatre Co.), Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (Livin’ Dred Theatre Co. and NOMAD Theatre Network), Philadelphia, Here I Come! (ART NI).
Sean McGinley was born in Donegal and graduated from University College Galway and was a member of the Druid Theatre Company from 1977-1989. Plays included The Playboy of the Western World, Conversations on a Homecoming, Famine by Tom Murphy, The Glass Menagerie, A Touch of the Poet, Loot, Endgame along with Geography of a Horsedreamer and Action, both by Sam Shepard. Other theatre includes The Iceman Cometh, The Power of Darkness, The Shaughraun, The Corsican Brothers, A Whistle in the Dark (Irish Theatre Award and Time Out London Award) – all at the Abbey Theatre and most recently Ages of the Moon by Sam Shepard at the Peacock Theatre, Dublin and the Atlantic Theater, New York, with Stephen Rea. Television credits include; “Family” (BBC) “Who Bombed Birmingham” (Granada); “The Street” (Ch.4), “Bleak House” (BBC), “Minder”, “Taggart”, “Waking the Dead”, “The Vice”, “Cold Feet”, “Midsomer Murders” and “New Tricks” and “Love/Hate” Films include: “The Field”, “Michael Collins”, “The Butcher Boy”, “Braveheart”, “Trojan Eddie”, “The General”, “The Tiger’s Tail”, The Claim”, “Dead Bodies”, “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”, “The Tiger’s Tail”, “Simon Magus”, “The Closer You Get” and “On A Clear Day” (IFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Feature film).
Crestfall, Sive, The Beauty Queen of Lehane, Druid Shakespeare, Brigit, Bailegangáire, The Colleen Bawn, Conversations on a Homecoming (Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actress), Famine, The Cripple of Inishmaan, DruidSynge (Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Actress; Herald Angel Award/ Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Long Day’s Journey Into Night, The Playboy of the Western World, The Beauty Queen of Lehane (Tony Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role).