Grant Corr is the author of “Dead Boy Cafe”, one of three specially crafted pieces for this season’s Omniwrite.
Grant Corr’s first play commission was a T.I.E play produced by Replay Productions in Belfast, the play, ‘You Chose’ toured successfully around Arts venues and schools throughout Northern Ireland. His second play ‘Rip Her To Shreds’ was written as his final project for his MA at City University and enjoyed a three week run at The Old Red Lion theatre in Islington. Grant has also written a short ten minute radio comedy ‘The Love Doctor’ starring Frances Tomelty for BBC Northern Ireland and has worked as a story liner for RTE’s continuing drama ‘Fair City’.
‘Dead Boy Café’ is his third full length stage play and was inspired by an eventful car journey two years ago through Co Armagh in which he ended up being the only customer in a run down café with a cranky old juke box, flickering lights and saturated in memorabilia of a by gone age.
Could you give us a brief summary of your play?
Dead Boy Café set in a run down chippy in a Northern Irish border town tells the story of Janet Boyd and Ruby Quinn two women who’s lives have been trapped and intertwined for twenty five years. As a ferocious storm rages and the lough’s dark waters break free flooding the town Janet prays for change and when a young mysterious man shows up seeking refuge, he fractures the strangle hold of the past.
What inspired you to write it?
I first felt inspired to write a play about a run down chippy in Northern Ireland after I ended up in such a chippy in a small town close to the Irish border. The place was set in another time and had the weirdest of atmospheres, it was like a set of a play just waiting for the drama to begin. Everywhere I looked I saw untold stories and shattered dreams. I’ve actually written two plays about this chippy, the first play is called ‘Last stop Café’ and has the same characters in it, it’s a parallel play to ‘Dead Boy Café’. I am fascinated by the idea of parallel universes.
Tell us about some of the relationships in the play.
The whole play is about relationships and how they can either keep us trapped or set us free. I guess the most intriguing relationship is between Janet and her fiancée Kevin who we never actually get to meet in the play and how the tragedy twenty five years earlier has kept Janet trapped in a life that is slowly suffocating her.
How do you approach your writing? Do you have a regular routine?
Yes and no. I work part time as a teacher therefore my non teaching days are always my writing days, I have to be very disciplined. The toughest time is when my idea for a play is at an early stage, I need to just sit and think the story and the characters through, I do a lot of doodling in my notebook and I like listening to music that fits in with the ideas or the time of the piece. When I’ve a got a story worked out I’ll write it up in an outline. I try to resist writing scenes and dialogue until I have most of the play worked out, and then of course after the first draft it all changes again.
How do you see this piece of work evolving?
I’ve been working on the play for two years on and off and it has evolved nicely. I think I like where it is now, in it’s earlier days it had a lot more mystery about it and was less Janet’s story but now it’s definitely Janet’s story and I like that, she’s quite a tragic character who has a lot of unrecognized depths.
What are you hoping for from your showcase at Omnibus?
I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to breathe life into the script and to watch it come alive. I’m really excited about seeing these characters interact with each other. I’m hoping that this is only the start and that ‘Dead Boy Café’ will have it’s own full blown production somewhere very soon.
Omniwrite is on Friday 15 April at 7.30pm.
Tickets: £12 | £10 concessions
Ticket price includes a free drink and nibbles.