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In conversation with...Kieran Lynn

Kieran Lynn is the writer of Bunnies, a new work currently showing at Oran Mor's A Play, a Pie and a Pint. Across the Arts' editor Michael Cox speaks with him about the play.

Michael Cox – Bunnies. What is it about and where did the inspiration come from?

Kieran Lynn – The play is about a farmer who is having some problems on his land and he comes up with a solution in his mind which is to get rid of every species of animal that is non-native. The inspiration, I think, although this may not have been where the initial idea came from, looking back, it must have come from certain groups in Britain who are proposing similar solutions for “Human problems”, shall we say.

MC –It deals with environmental issues. Is that a subject you are quite passionate about?

KL – Yeah, I’d say so. I think over the last couple of years the environmental movement has been so large and so wide spread that it has probably touched everybody in some way. It’s made everybody a lot more conscious. It’s brought to light a few things that people may have taken for granted, so I suppose it was just born of that, of being aware of what is occurring.

MC – In your interview on there’s a moment when you talk about political theatre, and how it is kind of becoming a buzz word. For you, what exactly is political theatre?

KL – If I hear [the term] “political theatre” I think of very socialist, very realistic, quite aggressive liberal plays. For me personally, I think of it as something very different. I think my plays are… although political, I wouldn’t necessarily say they would be classed as political plays, I would say they were first and foremost comedy, with perhaps a political backdrop. Or possibly just with a political element. But I think first and foremost I try to write comedy.

MC – When you are writing comedy… Do you write the joke first or do you write the character and plot first and find the joke within it?

KL – I think a lot of the jokes come from the character. As soon as I have the character, I can put them in a situation, and then it is so much easier. Yeah, I think that way around.

MC – With Bunnies, was it perhaps Stamford that first spoke to you, or was it one of the children?

KL – Well Bunnies was more, just the situation. Slightly different from what I have just said, Bunnies was that I just wanted to put these people in this situation. The two things came almost at once,so it’s probably slightly different. Stamford was my lead off point: you know he was definitely the first character that came to me.

MC – Do you think Stamford is perhaps a conglomeration of people you know, or read about, or do you think he’s kind of a reaction to the situation that you’ve painted?

KL – Stamford is just a character born of the situation. It’s a situation that I wanted to explore, and I picked a character that I thought most embodies the way I see that problem. The people I see most behind that problem. He’s possible a conglomeration now, but I don’t think I set out to write that.

MC – Now, this is your third play with Oran Mor?

KL – Sure is!

MC – Are they getting easier to write or more difficult?

KL – I would say they are getting… I am finding them easier to write, I am getting more comfortable with the short form. I am getting very comfortable with the audience and with their taste. But then again I try to make each play better than the last and that’s where the difficulty comes in because I am writing a more challenging play each time. So, although there are things that come easier, the challenge I give to myself makes the plays harder to write.

MC – Let’s talk about the rehearsal process. Again in the video you talk about how the director can say this worked because the cast did it. Was there anything you have learned from the rehearsal process about the play or perhaps in general more about yourself as a writer?

KL – I learnt an awful lot about the play. Nicola McCartney,who directed it, is a writer herself first and foremost as well as a very experienced director. I think working with her… you know there’s no messing around. She asks the difficult questions, she asks the writers’ questions, she knows what needs to happen to the script. So,when we were working together on the script in the first week, it was pretty tough, I was going home most nights doing pretty big re-writes and big nips and tucks, working with a director like that was incredible for coming up with a new play. In terms of what I have learnt about myself as a writer, I don’t think I’ll know that until I’ve had time to see the production and then, you know, sit down for a while and think about what just happened, because it happens so fast –two weeks, a week run, you don’t have time to digest what’s happening until a while after it’s done. I probably won’t be able to answer that question fully for a few weeks.

MC – Last question, this is a something I regularly ask in interviews. Is there, or has there ever been something you wish someone would ask you during an interview, but has never been asked?

KL – To answer kind of inversely, I think I find it very difficult to answer the question “Where did the idea come from?” I find that question really, really hard to answer and I was wondering if there was possibly a way to ask that question in that it makes it easier to answer. Inevitably the idea comes when you know, you are sitting on a bus and you’re thinking about something else and then all of a sudden you think – oh actually that makes a good play! Do you know what I mean?

Bunnies performs at Oran Mor until Saturday.

Tags: theatre

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