Archive | Devious News

The Makings Of A Ripping Yarn

hellfire_squad_web-10 The History: The Squad, originally nicknamed the Twelve Apostles, was a real life unit that were founded by Michael Collins in the run up to the War Of Independence. Their main goal was to counteract British Intelligence at this time, through means mostly focusing on assassinations. They did, as we term it in the play ‘the dirty work of a nation.’ Although they didn’t exclusively have twelve members, the Squad rotated membership and to this day, the full extent of Squad members isn’t entirely known. Squad_Members_2_2 It was a job, with a wage and many outsiders, men not fit for many other purposes, gravitated towards this assassination unit. While there weren’t any documented female members of the Squad, a lot of Collins central intelligence agents were women. And more so than their male counterparts of the time, they were written out of the subsequent history. A recruitment poster in Ireland during the first world war The Inspiration: We came up with the idea when discussing Inglourious Basterds and the men-on-a-mission adventure movies that inspired it, and decided to write an Irish version of those stories. We found the perfect subject matter: an alternate secret history of the origins of Michael Collins’ infamous hit squad. Collins The codename of the squad itself, the name of our villain Francis Dashwood, and the fire-and-brimstone tone came from setting it at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains near the notorious Hellfire Club. We started working on it in a flurry of excitement back in 2009. It was a Western and a War yarn at once, a Commando comic on the stage. Countless movies and the untold tales of Irish history inspired it. the-dirty-dozen Thematically, we were interested in telling a story of people who were written out of subsequent Irish history. Particularly the women of the Rising and Cumann na mBan who subsequently had their roles downplayed. In the 1916 centenary year, writing a play about the fervor it created in people after the rebellion felt like an interesting take. People who wanted an important role. hellfire-promo-7 This is the idea behind Kathleen Sweeney as narrator. She’s giving a voice to the voiceless, people like herself who fought for an Ireland that turned on them. Betrayal, at its essence, is what drives this story and we didn’t have to stray too far from history to utilise that. Despite our cinematic influences, making it as a play has always felt like Sean O’Casey and Dion Boucicault having a conversation mediated by Bertolt Brecht. That was the ‘highbrow’ intention anyway. The main intention was a cracking night’s entertainment. We hope you get that. The Execution: After intermittently working on it over the years, we took the script for a spin in August 2013. We did our first work in progress performance at Little Deviations: Volume 1, directed by Philip Brennan. HellfireSquad-ForWeb All the potential of the piece was there. Thanks to Artlinks support we were able to get Ken Bourke on board to provide dramaturgy for the script and he helped us develop it throughout 2015 and into this year. Getting a talented director like Sarah Baxter and getting the brilliant cast we did was the cherry on top. Hellfire Reading For Devious Theatre’s 10th birthday in 2016, not to mention the centenary of the 1916 Rising, it felt like the right production to do. It’s like one big mish mash of ten years of Devious Theatre in one show. It’s about a motley troupe, ill resourced and against the odds, trying to tell their stories during a tumultuous time in Irish history. Fitting enough. Peter McGann & John Morton
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Fresh Hell

hellfire_squad_web-33 A mighty weeks labour indeed. The Dublin run of The Hellfire Squad is done and dusted. Thanks so much to everyone who came to see it and support it and thanks particularly to the staff of Project Arts Centre for all their help. This was our third production in Project Cube and quite accidentally, the three shows all had a focus on the 1916 Rising: Scratcher, War Of Attrition and now The Hellfire Squad. Nice to tie up this informal trilogy with sell out shows across the board. God bless the work indeed. hellfire_squad_web-18 Now it's a new week, a new city, a new theatre. We're bringing fresh hell to The Watergate Theatre this week for our hometown run of The Hellfire Squad. It's always a pleasure to bring work to Kilkenny's largest theatre and we can't wait to settle in for the run. We're also delighted to open the first night of AKA Kilkenny's fringe festival. hellfire_squad_web-13 If you want to get excited about the show, here's some of the notices for The Hellfire Squad from the Project run. "McGann and Morton's script manages to be historically accurate and hilarious" - Sunday Business Post. "A modern Irish classic" - Pure M Magazine "Admirably, the playmakers are more interested in a reclamation project, restoring these secret fighters to the record." - Exeunt Magazine "The play zips along at breakneck speed under the tight direction of Sarah Baxter" - The Kilkenny People "An innovative view of the period and shows that we don’t have to treat the heroes of yesteryear with solemnity." - No More Workhorse hellfire_squad_web-19 You'll find out for yourself when The Hellfire Squad comes out with all guns blazing this Thursday night in Kilkenny. If you missed out on tickets for Heart Shaped Vinyl, our first Devious 10 production back in May, you won't want to miss out on this. You can book tickets in The Watergate Theatre on 056-7761674 and online right here.
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Burnin’ Hell

hellfire_squad_web-11 Well, that escalated quickly. By the morning of opening night The Hellfire Squad had pretty much sold out its night time run in Dublin and now, it's entirely gone for each night. This is a hot show, on a hot week. Hot as hell, you could say. hellfire_squad_web-14 The response has been phenomenal thus far and we're so glad that there's been such demand to see it, especially during a heatwave. The show has started with a bang and it's got legs. There's only one chance to see the show in action in Project Arts Centre and that's our matinee this Saturday afternoon. If you fancy catching the 2.30pm performance of The Hellfire Squad, strike fast and get the tickets while you can. hellfire_squad_web-21 Here are a selection of some of the reviews for the show thus far: Pure M / Kilkenny People / Exeunt Magazine / No More Workhorse Dublin, last shot is the matinee on Saturday. Kilkenny, get your tickets, we'll be seeing you next week.
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Fire and Brimstone

hellfire-promo-8 The countdown is finished. Tonight we're going straight to hell... The Hellfire Squad previews in Project Arts Centre tonight. We'll be opening proper on Tuesday night and then it's a straight sprint to this Saturday. We've launched the second trailer for the play which sees Michael Collins' list made flesh. It's a full countdown of the outlaws and bandits who make up The Squad. It was shot by Fergal Costello and edited by Peter McGann, the saucy co-writer of this tale. Take a look here: Are you ready to help us bless the work? 8.15pm in Project Cube is the place where the squad will perform for the first time. We'll bring the brimstone, you bring your good selves, and some fire. You can ensure your tickets for the show right here. God bless the work.
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#1. ‘The Bould’ Kathleen Sweeney

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"We do the jobs we're given..."

#1. Kathleen Sweeney (Annette O'Shea) aka The Bould Kathleen. A publican and proprietor of the local Republican hub. Tasked with assembling the squad and overseeing their training. Frequently patronised but a better fighter than any man. Foul of mouth and quick to draw, she's here to fight for her freedom. Not a fan of loud noises. The Agent.

Annette O'Shea last appeared for us in The Hellfire Squad as part of Little Deviations: Volume 1. Previous credits for Devious Theatre include Bash, Scratcher and both productions of Smitten. Other stage credits include Before The Party directed by Tom Conti for Bill Kenwright Productions, Madame Knorr in On The Razzle (Pleasance Theatre), Mary Shelley (Pleasance Theatre), The Twelfth Night, Enlightenment, Hindle Wakes, The Rivals, The Lady’s Tragedy (LAMDA), The Crucible (Keegan Theatre, Washington) and Lovers (Watergate Productions). Short film credits include Adomba (Cellar Door Productions), Hunting Dragons (Fridge Magnet Pictures). Radio credits include Oonagh in Behind and Desperation (KCLR) and Sheila in The Undertakers (Evil Genius Productions). The Hellfire Squad is directed by Sarah Baxter and plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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#2. Tadhg McRoth

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"Will they write about you in the history books?"
  #2. Tadhg McRoth (David Fennelly) aka The Teacher. Collins main man and Squad leader. A fluent Gaeilgeoir with a love for Irish myths and legends and a quick temper. Likes to smell a flower in bloom. Survived the Rising with flying colours and has now been tasked with assembling the greatest squad of assassins the country has ever seen. The Strategist. David Fennelly makes his Devious Theatre debut here. Recent theatre credits include This Lime Tree Bower (Project Arts Centre) Advocacy (Best Ensemble Fringe ’14), Fishes (Stuart Parker Bursary ’14), Mavericks (Theatre Upstairs/ Bewleys Theatre), 24 Hour Plays (Abbey Theatre) and Seven Jewish Children (Abbey Theatre). He made his screen debut in Nick Hamm’s Killing Bono. He has since featured in Game of Thrones (HBO), Half Shade (UNA Films) What Richard Did (Element Pictures) and Sanctuary (Venom Productions). David wrote and performed in the stage play Fishes. Fishes was recently made into a short film The Caller which premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh and has since aired on RTÉ. David graduated from the Gaiety School of Acting Full Time Acting Course in June 2009. The Hellfire Squad is directed by Sarah Baxter and plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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#3. Walter Meade

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"I'd call that a good days labour..."

#3. Walter Meade (John Morton) aka The Blacksmith. A veteran of the Rising and suffering from shell-shock as a result. A loud, swaggering one eyed figure obsessed with the work. Highly emotional, quick to temper and very trigger happy. His role in the Squad is a bit of a wild card. Likes a pint. The Loose Cannon. John Morton is one of the co-writers of The Hellfire Squad. Previously for Devious Theatre, John has written the plays War Of Attrition, Scratcher, Smitten and Heart Shaped Vinyl, which he recently directed in a new version. Onstage credits for us include Heart Shaped Vinyl, War Of Attrition, Bash, Scratcher, Smitten, Accidental Death Of An Anarchist, Stags and Hens, Cannibal! The Musical and Trainspotting. Other stage credits include Taboo (White Label), Snake Eaters (The New Theatre), Konstantin Has Shot Himself (Sheer Tantrum), Wild Harvest (Watergate Productions). Film and TV credits include Locus Of Control, Old Fangs, Love/Hate, Republic Of Telly, Tobias And The Tree and Fading Away. Recent writing work includes Taboo (White Label) and Bridge Street Will Be (Asylum/Equinox). He also wrote and directed this years RTÉ Storyland pilot Smitten, based on his play. The Hellfire Squad is directed by Sarah Baxter and plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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Squad Goals

2 We're officially a week away from the opening of The Hellfire Squad in Project Arts Centre. Then it's another week away from taking the show home to Kilkenny and The Watergate Theatre. 5 We've been rehearsing for 3 weeks now, 3 weeks that have absolutely flown. The process has not been unlike the training of the squad in the play itself with similar enough goals: assemble a raggle taggle group ill suited for other purposes but each with their own particular skillset. Then put them through an intense bout of training and drills until they become a tidy little wrecking crew of an ensemble. 1 Well, we're nearly there now. Under the watchful eye of director Sarah Baxter and stage manager Sinead Heavin, the actors have been put through their paces and the play is shaping up to be the wild, colourful, dramatic, action packed yarn it read on the pages of the script. There's been a lot of sweat, tears and thankfully, minimal amounts of blood. The craic has been immense though. Exactly what you'd expect when you put a load of grown adults in a room with fake guns and get them to play war games for three weeks running. Pow, pow, bang, bang! They just need to remember not to make the gun sounds on the night. 3 It feels like we're putting together something special and with one week of rehearsals left, there's still a lot of work to do. We're excited. Nearly there now. This play perfectly encapsulates the bang we wanted our Devious 10 programme to have. 8 actors hopping off the stage, guns blazing. 4 Come christen that work at our first performance next week in Project Arts Centre. And bring your own squads. The Hellfire Squad  plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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#4. Fr. Desmond Furey

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"Doing the dirty work of a nation..."

Fr. Desmond Furey (Dave Fleming) aka The Defrocked Preacher. A fire and brimstone spewing, chain smoking, tough-as-nails priest who puts the fear of god in the enemy. Long feared as a shin hacking, ultra competitive lover of the GAA, he is lethal with a hurley. Quietly moved to another parish after massacring a pub full of British soldiers. The good lord mostly keeps him calm. The Trainer.

Dave Fleming makes his debut with Devious Theatre. He began his acting career in UCD Dramsoc. Credits include Jacob in Spectres (Sickle Moon Productions), Mick Curley in From the Shannon to the Somme (Kings House, Boyle), Jake in Stones in his Pockets (CAS Productions, National Tour), Antonio in The Merchant of Venice (devise+conquer Productions, National Tour), Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (CYEBO Productions), Warwick in The Lark (Fast Intent, Smock Alley) and Nick in Tonight Everthing’s Going to Change (Back of the Hand, Filmbase). Screen credits include See You (Warrior Films, RTE Shortscreen) and The Hit Producer (Hit Producer Films and Ned Kelly Pictures). Dave is also the co-writer and co-star of webseries The Goo (Awake and Sing Productions). Dave voices various characters in Wonderland Productions walking tour production of Dubliners. The Hellfire Squad is directed by Sarah Baxter and plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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#5. Finbarr McLiammoir

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"I wanted a big part in a big story..."

#5. Finbarr McLiammoir (John Doran) aka Paudie Blennerhasset aka Dionysus Ffolliott is a man of many men. A gruff voiced Cork born thespian, of gypsy lineage, with a fine penchant for mimicry and a way with a ballad. He has a devious hold on the dark theatrical arts and uses them to confound all his enemies. Tired of touring 'Brit pandering shite' in repertory, he's joined the noble cause. The Master Of Disguise. John Doran last appeared with us in his one man show The Centre Of The Universe (Tiger Dublin Fringe 2014/Show In A Bag). He also co-wrote and directed Some Flood which toured in 2014. Other Devious Theatre credits include War Of Attrition, Vultures, Shakespeare In Bits, Stags and Hens and Cannibal! The Musical. Other stage credits include Care (Willfredd Theatre), Enjoy (Rough Magic Seeds) Me Michael (Abbey Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (The Gate Theatre) It Folds (Brokentalkers), The Last Post (Just the Lads), 24 Hours Sitcom, Human Child (Collapsing Horse), Die Fledermaus (Aoife Spillane-Hinks), Romeo & Juliet (Corcadorca), Fishes (Bewleys Theatre) and Durang Durang (Brazen Tales). Next up: The Aeneid for Collapsing Horse at Tiger Dublin Fringe. The Hellfire Squad is directed by Sarah Baxter and plays Project Arts Centre from July 18-23. It will then play The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from July 28-30 as part of this years AKA programme. Tickets are onsale now.
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