Conor McPherson is one of Ireland’s most exciting playwrights.
His latest project, the feature film The Actors, is due to be released this May and stars Michael Caine, Dylan Moran and Miranda Richardson. McPherson has both written and directed it.
Inspiration to pen plays struck whilst in his first year at Dublin University when he read David Mamet’s play, Glengarry Glen Ross.
By 1994, he had formed the Fly By Night Theatre Company, staging new plays in and around Dublin. Since then, McPherson has built a reputation for the successful use of monologue in which the characters, usually working class Irish males, tell their stories directly to the audience.
‘I always felt that there’s enough conflict in one person; just the way someone veers between confidence and anxiety, to outright terror to being stupidly brave. All these strange oscillations that occur in one person seems to me to be enough conflict for any story'.
The catalyst for McPherson’s success came in 1997 when his play, The Weir - which revolves around a series of monologues about ghost stories - became an international hit, winning the Evening Standard Outstanding New Playwright in the same year, and the 1999 Olivier Award for Best Play. At the time, McPherson was just 26 years old.
To date, his prolific output includes numerous plays, namely the highly acclaimed Port Authority, The Good Thief and Dublin Carol. More recently, McPherson has turned his hand to film making both as a scriptwriter and director.
In this South Bank Show, McPherson talks to Melvyn Bragg about the source of his ideas describing how he has drawn from his own experiences and deepest fears. He speaks candidly about his battle with alcohol, and it’s direct effect on him and his work.
We explore his rich and powerful storytelling through the use of monologues, and take the playwright back to his native country of Ireland, to the county of Leitrim where he got the inspiration for his most famous monologue, The Weir.
As well as re-staging several scenes from his early his plays, we reunite the original West End cast to re-enact extracts from The Weir.
Sunday April 27th, 2245hrs