And it begins – ‘Mother’s little treasure’

The actors have departed. We’ve just finished the first read-through of my latest magnus opus ‘Mother’s Little Treasure’. I am beaming from ear to ear. And as nervous as a tick.

This is a play that has been 15 months in the writing. It began life as a short play – also called ‘Mother’s Little Treasure’ – as part of Firedoor Theatre’s ‘Uncut’ showcase of short plays.

It concerns one Maureen Moore – a woman who spends a lot of money on her wardrobe, yet somehow always looks cheap. Leopard-print can be tasteful when used subtly. Maureen however has the subtlety of a sledgehammer. She is busily preparing for her white collar criminal son Gary’s release from prison. Her best friend / worst enemy Carol ‘Vinegar Lips’ Delaney sits primly beside her, sipping a cup of tea in  Maureen’s brand new IKEA kitchen. Carol is judging her. And slyly needling her. The doorbell rings. Who is it, only Rosario – the criminal son’s Spanish girlfriend, calling to collect his passport and suitcase so they can flee the country upon his release. This revelation chills Maureen to the bone. Won’t Gary be trying to revive his career as a Raheny accountant?

I loved the characters, so some months later for the next showcase I decided to write a sequel – another chapter in the lives of Maureen, Carol and Rosario. It was called ‘Mother’s Little Holiday’. What would Maureen do? Surely she won’t let her sacred Gary be whisked out of the country by his moll? What will the neighbours say? How can she prevent this? By any means necessary really.  But where is Gary? He seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet.

Having written ‘An Unexpected Party’ for the 2017 International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival’ I decided that I ought to try my hand at writing another full length play. Various ideas were swimming about in my head. But I had an itch. I couldn’t quite get Maureen’s story out of my mind. Surely these characters deserved their own proper, full length treatment. So I put the play I had just started to one side, and refocused my attention back to Mother. After a few months, and several edits, I had a script. Or should I say a working draft.

This meant only one thing. It was time to invite the three actors back (along with two new people for the new roles) so I could get an idea of how the play sounded. Sometimes what you think is a brilliant idea falls flat when read out loud. Other times you realise that a throwaway comment is a zinger. It is only when you hear it as a listener does this become evident.

So today, the cast of five gathered in my tasteful, IKEA furnished home, and they read my script. The first time I had heard it out loud.

It was exciting and nerve-wracking. I wanted them to like it, but also needed to hear their thoughts on what worked and what needed work. As well as gathering my own ideas about what needs to be changed.

I was reasonably pleased. I certainly need to do some edits and cuts over the next couple of weeks. Once complete then starts the real fun – the rehearsals, the sourcing of props, the decision on who will be in the crew, the promotion. The million and one things that are required to stage a play.

The theatre is booked for the run later in the year.

The countdown to the still distant opening night begins.

I suspect that ‘Mother’s Little Treasure’ will be a major feature of my life in the coming months.


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