Set in Drumcondra and adapted from the novel of the same name, The Boys is the story of a group of teenage boys coming to terms with the time and place in which they find themselves. It’s the summer of 1968 and The Boys are ready for the world – at least some of them are.
Michael Harnett, the author of the novel, has adapted his work for the stage. Tracy Ryan directs as four actors take on the roles of more than 25 characters to create a relentless comedic pace. The book was called ‘charming and sensitive’ by the Irish Times while the likes of Le Cool ‘couldn’t recommend the play enough’. We caught up with the hard-working Harnett and asked him to write more words for us.
Bleedin Deadly: What’s so great about the novel?
Michael Harnett: It’s a difficult question to ask any writer what is great about his/her work. All you can hope is that what you have written strikes a note with the reader, moves their imagination to reflect, think, and maybe laugh, or cry. For me, the criterion is whether, when I look at it again, it works for me. Yes, I’d change things, rephrase, rewrite, but you have to let it go at some stage. I just hope that what is written moves people, otherwise what’s the point?
BD: Why do you think it works as a play?
MH: The magic of theatre is performance and the ability of the actors to grab the audience, hold them, and throughout the play keep them engaged – and that is why, I think, THE BOYS works, because it’s all down to the four extremely talented young actors, gifted is a better word, and how they have released the words from the prison of the page. There is nothing more gratifying than hearing what you have written come alive, particularly when it’s spoken, performed, by such talent.
Parent Over Shoulder: The talented young actors that Harnett praises are Shane O’Regan, Killian Coyle, Ethan Dillon and Laurence Falconer. Apologies for the interruption.
You can see the full cast list at the bottom of the page.
BD: Thanks. What themes do you like to explore?
MH: I think what all of us like to explore is life, who we are, what’s going on, how we deal with the challenge of living, how we cope with the world and what it throws at us.
In ‘The Boys’ the teenagers, face the reality of growing up, the confusion of their own sexuality, the reality of a parent dying, the challenge of becoming an adult, the discovery of their own potential, of what it is to leave the comfort of childhood and enter the foreboding world of adulthood. It’s the universal theme of leaving the nest, of moving on, of exploring what is out there to be discovered, and in the process, hopefully, find out more about themselves and their destiny.
A quote I read years ago about the importance of drama and fiction has always stayed with me. A woman called Dorothea Brande wrote in her book, “Becoming a Writer”, that; “Fiction supplies the only philosophy that many readers know; it establishes their ethical, social, and material standards; it confirms them in their prejudices or opens their minds to a wider world.”
I would like to think that what I write helps to question and open minds.
You can see The Boys at the Dolmen Theatre between 11th Oct – 15th Oct.
Cast and crew of The Boys
Actors: Shane O’Regan, Killian Coyle, Ethan Dillon, Laurence Falconer.
Producer: Killian Coyle.
Production Company: Reality Check Productions.
Director: Tracy Ryan.
Stage Manager: Gearoid Nash
Lighting Design: Shane Gill
Set Design: Sinead Purcell
Costume Design: Lydia Dorman
Sound Design: Declan Brennan