THEATRE – DC MOORE
DC Moore’s new show Honest is ‘the tale of a man battling with his compulsion to tell the truth, an addiction that leads to a night which spirals out of control.’
Can you give us a two sentence pitch for your show, Honest?
It’s a monologue told in a pub over a pint; it’s cheap (£8.50), short (40 minutes) and you can drink whilst you watch it. It’s had pretty good reviews (four stars from the Guardian, Independent, Time Out, Financial Times, Whatsonstage, West End Whingers and British Theatre Guide) though obviously taste is subjective so you might still HATE it.
Honest explores ideas around lying and truth – what conclusions does it draw on the value and pitfalls of each?
Absolute honesty destroys most familial, social or professional relationships. A lot of deceit stems from the contemporary curse of management speak, which has infected most (if not all) of our schools, businesses, government departments, arts institutions and universities. There are worse curses to have hit societies but it’s still annoying and usually a barrier to working out what’s actually going on in any given situation (who has ever put “I am a terrible team player and I have no communication skills of any sort” on a job application form? I would suggest that the first person to be honest – because there ARE lots of people like that – and do so would not get the job).
You were a member of the Royal Court young writers programme, what did you learn from that and how has it affected your career?
I was taught playwright on the YWP by Simon Stephens who has had lots of very good plays on and used to be a teacher in comprehensives in East London, so he’s got the lot in terms of the right experience. He’s inspirational and approachable and, very importantly, not a preening theatre type. He taught me to care, to attack lazy thinking (of my own and others) and that I could write.
At one stage you worked as an Assistant Director, has this different perspective informed the way you write?
It taught me that I didn’t want to be a professional theatre director, which I think is probably one of the hardest livings in theatre if you’re freelance; I just haven’t got the right skills for it. It increased my admiration for directors a lot because they have a tough job: very short contracts, very little pay, a transitory lifestyle but huge amounts of energy and focus required to make a show any good at all.
What is your writing process to take an idea from conception to the finished article?
Totally depends. Honest came out pretty much fully-formed over about a month, though it was a sort of re-imagining of a monologue I performed (after my actor had to drop-out at the last-minute to go to an audition for Shameless) a few years ago at the Latitude Music Festival. My other recent play, The Empire, took 2 and a half years to develop from first idea to performance. So yeah, it just depends.
What are the key themes that you are looking to explore in your writing? Are there topics that you examine in all your work or do you seek a clean slate with each new play?
Race, class and the impact of being a post-industrial society (we used to make nearly everything, now we make nearly nothing) all permeate what I’ve written because I’m fascinated by them.
In Town (2010) you examine the return of a young man from London to his home town of Northampton, also your home town. To what extent were you writing about personal experience?
The play was about a chap who has a full nervous breakdown and walks from London to Northampton. I’ve not done that yet and hopefully never will, so at it’s heart it was very much fictional. However, I did use details from personal experience because I often go back to Northampton from London and I’m struck by the differences.
What are the key differences for you in terms of writing for the stage and for TV or film? Would you ever consider a move into the latter two?
I’m currently entering the world of TV and it’s a totally, totally different skill, one which I’m yet to master. At it’s most basic, theatre tends to have longer scenes and you get away with more digression/dialogue.
What is your favourite line from all your work? (Feel free to include the context)
I don’t think there’s a way of answering that without sounding like a pillock. I’ve been prone to the odd moment of self-reflection but I (genuinely) don’t sit around comparing lines from my plays with other lines. Yet.
What living stage actors would you most like to work with?
Mark Rylance. Nadine Marshall. Andrew Scott. Kristin Scott Thomas. Michael Gambon. Katherine Parkinson. Tom Goodman-Hill. Paul Ritter. Judie Dench.
What was the best play of 2010 and why?
I’m going to lie and say ‘Bud’ at the Royal Court because, even though I don’t think it was the best play of 2010, it got very undeservedly hammered by the press in a way that was odd (because much much worse plays got celebrated). I was fascinated by the production and enjoyed it.
House of the Dead 3 featured in your first play Alaska, are you a gaming fan? Do you think that videogames have the potential, as some are now saying, to be a major creative medium?
I think they are a major creative medium. More money is spent on computer games than movies. The only reason they’re not considered more intellectually/artistically valuable is because they are played primarily by young people and old people control a lot of perceived opinion on what’s worthy/arty. For example, the writing in the game Portal is better than 95% of television, novels and theatre. Though, admittedly, gaming is a young medium; it’s had 2,000 less than years than theatre, so it’s still evolving and will get better and better.
Can you name one creative that is not in your field that you would recommend to our readers above all others and tell us why? It can be a novelist, musician, artist, cabaret act…whatever you like other than a playwright!
The lyrics of Aiden Moffat, when he was lead singer of Arab Strap, are better than 97.5% of theatre, novels and TV/film. Honest/sweary/heartful/dirty/unsentimental/Scottish. Perfect.
Honest is on at the Queen’s Head pub between 1st March – 3rd April. For more information click here.