Brenda Murphy Interview
After last year’s sell-out run at the MAC, award winning Belfast playwright Brenda Murphy’s Baby It’s Cold Outside is to kick of the year’s run at the Grand Opera house. Culture Hub caught up with her to discuss the latest run and chat about her play in writing. No cutting pretences are forwarded by Brenda, what you see is what you get and not for the faint hearted.
Baby It’s Cold Outside runs from March 2 – March 7, a quick run which cannot be missed, then it tours rounds the country before possibly heading south. Directed by Martin Lynch, Brenda after a few unprintable words rejoices, in “Yes we have our discussions. Heated critical debates, but we’re toe to toe and it all works out.” From our last interview where she says was every word scrutinised dropped, changed, chopped rewritten or rewrote the second, Brenda briskly states that after finishing a play and seeing it work on stage that nothing has been changed. Brenda says: “I tend to leave things alone after a good run as I’m too busy thinking about my next play.”
And the next play is Crazy, like Looking For Eric where a postman talks to his hero, Eric Cantona, Crazy is driven by a woman obsessed by Patsy Cline who has a song for every occasion in life, Murphy is again writing for her mum who told her at an early age: “There’s never a moment in life where a Patsy Cline song won’t fit.” Even today Brenda puts on Cline records when reminiscing about her mother. “Crazy” she says is awaiting its third and final draft before quipping: “Martin would like 22 drafts, but he’s not getting them.” Such is the style of the woman. Unafraid She’s a busy bee, not only teaching creative writing in her native west Belfast, Brenda has a novel on the go, but with as a playwright and poet the novel has taken 12 years. Culture Hub didn’t have the balls to ask how much longer it will take. But as the winner of three Aishling Awards, a Hennessy and a NESTA Award, there’s little doubt it will be more than readable.
With Crazy opening in the MAC theatre on May 26 and running until June 14 Murphy seems nonplussed about getting the final draft in on time asked about her role in the direction and who plays who she’s very direct: “I knew from the start I wanted Caroline Curran, this is the rfirst time I’ve written with an actor in mind. After that the monologue turned in to a two actor play, but when writing a third character popped up, si I asked Martin could I have another and he said yes, so a monologue went to a dialogue then the third character popped in, you never know when writing what’s going to come.”
With a play being reproduced and another on the way, a novel sitting on the shelf and students to teach Brenda Murphy is a busy woman. I’ve reviewed Baby It’s Cold Outside and loved it. Hopefully Crazy will be half as decent.