About Martin McDonagh

Sep 18, 2003

“I don’t go to the theatre very much at all. In fact, hardly ever. When I go I am bored to tears.”
These are not the words you might expect to hear from one of Britain’s most prominent young playwrights. You might expect to hear about his passion for the theatre, his love of the art. You may not expect to hear him say, “… theatre has been up its own arse for so long”, or “Theatre should not be a lecture. That’s why it has been boring for so long. There should be a couple of guns in every play – that’s what I say!”
These are, in fact, the words of Martin McDonagh, and it seems it may be his very irreverence for the theatre that has earned his acclaim. In the same way that his characters smash the bones of their ancestors, so McDonagh smashes the traditions of the theatre, injecting new life into old forms. “Theatre has gone on in search of truth for too long. Truth is boring and there is no such thing as truth anyway – there is only opinion. Theatre is too full of opinion and not enough fiction.”
It seems that McDonagh despises more than one institution held dear by so many. Apparently he found his education as intolerable as a boring night of stuffy theatre, as evidenced by his early departure from high school. His exit from the education system was followed by five years of unemployment. Ultimately it was boredom (his most hated enemy) which prompted him to begin reading, and which led to an interest in writing.
Having unsuccessfully written some TV scripts and short stories, he began to submit radio plays to the BBC. Twenty-two of them, all of which were rejected. The first six, which had been written and sent in over a period of six months, were rejected all at once, with a letter stating “You are so far away from writing anything that will be accepted.” He proceeded to write a play every week, and send it to them – just to waste their time. “I wrote them in a week and they got rejected in a week. I performed ritual burnings of the letters in my kitchen sink. It was great to see something so ugly being turned into a beautiful flame and then curls of orange…” Two years later he was receiving awards, and living a lifestyle that seemed the perfect fit: “I get up at 10, write half a scene. Watch ‘Home and Away’. Have a snack. Write a bit more. Watch ‘Neighbours’. Have some drinks, watch some football…”
The future seems more than bright – it seems blinding. He is the only playwright since Shakespeare to have had 4 plays running in London simultaneously. He has received unprecedented critical acclaim and media attention. He is the recipient of the Tony Award for Best New Play as well as the Evening Standard’s Most Promising Playwright Award (an award ceremony which gained him a great deal of tabloid attention for nearly getting into a fist fight with Sean Connery).
“It is about time that the theatre underwent a revolution not dissimilar to the punk revolution in the seventies…” he states. “That said, it is not my intention to put any noses out of joint.”
Glenn Tkach
Marketing Coordinator