Ciara Elizabeth Smyth was in great form on the day I spoke to her. Laughter was peppered throughout the conversation. The magic of a happy rehearsal room could be heard in her voice. The cast of All Honey is full of funny actors and the biggest problem they encountered in the build-up to their run at the New Theatre was that laughter could occasionally get in the way. Say a prayer for them, yeah?
Obviously, it wasn’t a complaint. Smyth was delighted to be working with director Jeda De Bri and to be making a classic comedy. “I wanted it to be very funny and to feel like it was going really quick, so it’s also in real time as well. So there’s no jumping of locations or dates or anything like that. It’s all playing out live in front of you.” She felt privileged to be able to gather a large cast for this Sad Strippers production. “I don’t know if it’s because of funding but people tend to write for much smaller casts. So it was lovely to be able to write for a bigger cast and to write a classic-style play.
“All Honey is about a housewarming. The couple throwing the housewarming is Ru and Luke, and essentially, what happens is that their guests come in and all the action takes place in the box room of their apartment. Uninvited guests come and as it turns out, secrets keep coming out. So there’s constantly people coming in and out of the box room to have illicit conversations and then everything blows up.” Boom. But nothing actually blows up. That’s a phrase for things getting out of hand.
— Erin McGathy (@ErinMcGathy) September 18, 2017
Onto the real issue: What is a box room? I’d never heard of that. It’s what Smyth calls the spare room. That’s the room where her family kept all the boxes and junk. Now it seems kind of obvious. “That’s actually probably something of an anomaly now,” she muses, “especially for younger people moving into flats or apartments in town. You don’t really have spare rooms now, which is strange.”
As well as being influenced by classic TV comedies like Arrested Development, the UK Office and It’s Always Sunny, All Honey gives several nods to Samuel Beckett. The title references Beckett’s Play – ‘She came again, all honey, licking her lips’ – which is a favourite of Smyth’s. It inspired her to write this play and the name Ru is a nod to the character of the same name in Beckett’s Come and Go.
Smyth stars as Val. One of five characters, she’s an uninvited guest ‘who is insane’. It’s less about the party and more about the characters, displaying what Smyth considers to be her worst traits. They do bad things but nothing that the average person hasn’t done at some stage in their lives. She wanted this to be an out-and-out comedy because she doesn’t feel that there are enough around. It’s essentially about anxiety and flaws but these topics are best discussed with comedy, albeit comedy that can be dark at times. Go see it and make light of that darkness.
Get tickets for All Honey while you still can by following this link.