Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - EIMEAR DODD

A Wick­low ac­tor is starring in the de­but play writ­ten by co­me­dian Ali­son Spit­tle which will pre­mière dur­ing the Dublin Fringe Fes­ti­val.

Pe­ter McGann, from Rath­drum, will play Michael in Star­let, a dark com­edy set in West­meath dur­ing the bust.

The play opens at the Smock Al­ley The­atre next month as part of the Dublin Fringe Fes­ti­val 2019. McGann, who is best known for his work on RTE 2’s Repub­lic of Telly, stars along­side Love/Hate and Fair City ac­tress Rox­anna Nic Liam in a story about a first date.

Speak­ing to the Wick­low Peo­ple, Pe­ter said, ‘The en­tire play takes place in a Toy­ota Star­let in real time over the course of the date. It’s set where Ali­son [Spit­tle] is from in the Mid­lands in 2008. It’s about this cou­ple and he picks her up in a Star­let. Then, they go on this drive around the town with var­i­ous stop offs along the way. It’s their awk­ward get­ting to know one an­other.’

Pe­ter also took part in a shorter work in progress ver­sion of the play which was per­formed at Scene and Heard. He praised Spit­tle’s writ­ing and hinted that the play has a twist in its fi­nal act.

‘It is gen­uinely the best piece of writ­ing I’ve ever got to work on. I also worked on the work in progress ver­sion and it’s so tight and hi­lar­i­ously funny. You’d bust­ing a gut laugh­ing the whole way through it and then your jaw will be on the floor at the end.’

‘It takes a turn that’s quite risky. But how Ali­son’s writ­ten these two peo­ple and their re­la­tion­ship, it’s an in­cred­i­ble end­ing to this funny play. It’s not like it’s full of jokes. The hu­mour comes from the dia­logue and these two peo­ple’s be­hav­iour. It feels so real, you’d feel like you’d know a hun­dred of these char­ac­ters. That’s the fun of do­ing it, it’s such a sim­ple play in many ways but then there’s so much go­ing on un­der­neath.’

Re­hearsals for the play get un­der­way to­wards the end of the month. How­ever, Pe­ter said the work in progress per­for­mances acted as a ‘dry run’.

‘For the work in progress, it was just me, Rox­anna and the di­rec­tor Si­mon [Mul­hol­land] in a room, talk­ing out the play and shar­ing sim­i­lar sto­ries. We talked about a lot and that bleeds into the play it­self and makes it stronger with­out mak­ing a big deal about it.’

An ac­tor, writer and di­rec­tor, Pe­ter has a busy few months ahead. His play, The Roar­ing Ban­shees, co-writ­ten with John Mor­ton is be­ing staged in Dublin this month. Set in Chicago in 1923, a rogue Cu­mann na mBán unit flee across the At­lantic to es­cape the law af­ter a failed as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt on Ea­mon De Valera. With Pro­hi­bi­tion in full swing, they earn their keep by mak­ing boot­leg poitín and sell­ing it on to the Chicago mob.

‘It’s like a big epic gang­ster story. It’s mad but it’s good fun and I’m re­ally proud of it,’ Pe­ter said.

He is also ex­cited for au­di­ences to see Star­let. ‘Even if you think you’re not a fan of the­atre, you couldn’t get a more entertaini­ng set up. It’s the most re­lat­able Ir­ish con­ver­sa­tions and even though it is a dark com­edy, I don’t think peo­ple should feel in­tim­i­dated by go­ing to see a play be­cause Ali­son has writ­ten some­thing that’s so ac­ces­si­ble, real and hon­est,’ Pe­ter added.

Star­let will be per­formed at Dublin’s Smock Al­ley The­atre from Septem­ber 18- 22 with a pre­view on Septem­ber 17. Tick­ets cost €14. For book­ings, in­for­ma­tion, visit www.fringe­fest.com

Pe­ter McGann from Rath­drum.

Pe­ter McGann and Rox­anna Nic Liam.

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