John Morton directed all three plays in our In The Future When All’s Well residency (and in this case with assistance from Angela Barrett and Gemma Grant). He’s also appeared in a lot of our plays, last showing up in Scratcher. He’s also a founding member of the company. He plays Tommy in Smitten.
You’re three for three on the directing front this year, in such a short space of time. Did you anticipate as much directing work leading into the residency?
No, not really. To be honest, I was only looking forward to directing Shifting. Scratcher and Smitten ended up being the first times I’ve directed something that I’ve written too which is a whole other head fuck. And then I went and fucking well acted in them. The directing just ended up being a by product of having more time than anyone else to do it on the residency.
How does it feel to see Dave Thompson step into the roll of Kevin, and namely yourself into the roll of Tommy when compared to 2008?
It’s been weird and cool. I’d initially written Tommy with Dave in mind years ago. Dave played the character in a film I did with YIFM when I was 18 called Skegs and Skangers and it’s basically the Smitten characters but as teenagers. So I always thought Dave should still play it. But it just didn’t work out this time either, much like 2008. All the bits in this version where Tommy sings and plays guitar have quietly been phased out the past few weeks because frankly, I am no David Thompson. As for Kevin, he’s basically the straight man, which I loved playing, but I figured it’d be a good fit for Dave. Also, because he’s the straight man he can’t ad lib as much. The ‘stairs and pogo sticks’ line has nothing to do with me.
Four years no touring, then six months and two festivals. In writing Scratcher and reworking Smitten, was there a focus on being able to take the shows on the road?
Ah yeah. It’s great to work for a company that has faith in my writing so it’s a lovely vote of confidence to put these shows in front of new audiences in new cities. And luckily, they’ve worked. Apart from that girl who really hated the Rohypnol gag down in Cork. Poor beor.
Can you actually dance in real life or are you just using your acting?
I did 3 years of dance in college. At first I thought it was going to be all amazing sequences and toe tapping routines and I’d leave being able to move like Gene Kelly. Turns out that it was all kinda abstract movement stuff. Fuck that. I wish Gemma Grant had been my teacher. She’s the greatest dance teacher I’ve ever had. Also, using my acting helps.
If you could pick one of the three residency pieces as your favourite, what would it be and why?
Shifting, hands down. New writing, new cast, new audiences and it was a lovely, beautiful, unique challenge. Also, I did just one job instead of multi tasking. John Kennedy just nailed that script and I loved working with him. The cast were also amazing. Scarily talented bunch. I was insanely proud of that play. I’d do it forever if I could.
So where next for Smitten? A book? The big screen? Another version in three years time with even more dancing and singing?
I’d love to do it again in 3 years but I think it would probably be more beneficial to use the same characters when I’m in my 30’s to talk about my 30’s. I have a screenplay and there has been some interest in it (which is me not trying to jinx it by saying from where) so I think ideally, I’d love to see it being made into a film. But yeah, I’ve been writing those characters since I was 17 and I figure I’ll get a lot more out of them. Whether people want to listen to them or not is another thing entirely.
What’s your favourite musical?
Singin’ In The Rain. But shur, that’s an obvious one once you’ve seen the play.
Smitten runs until Saturday night July 2nd. Tickets are still available from the venue and bookings can be made on 056 – 7794138. They’re starting to sell out though!