Brian O’Riordan tells us about writing Bandit, a play based on marathon running that’s playing in Bewley’s Cafe Theatre as part of the Absolut Fringe.
“ACTING HAS BEEN in me forever, a youth spent watching De Niro’s intense portrayals of heroes and villains got that fire burning.
“The running all started with a jog – Thomas Street to Phoenix Park and back. I had just finished reading Haruki Murakami’s memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and my interest was piqued.
“This quickly became an obsession with tackling the Dublin City Marathon. My first attempt at proper training ended in bitter disappointment: injuries got the better of me and I had to let that race go. I felt hollow but thankfully Show in a Bag came along. It’s an initiative of Dublin Fringe Festival, Fishamble and Irish Theatre Institute in which they support theatre makers in realising projects that excite them.
“I decided to merge my two loves and tell a story I felt needed to be told. Devising Bandit was, although it may sound trite, like running a marathon itself: you’ve set off, you’re out there, doing what you’re supposed to be doing and then suddenly you’re alone, you hit the wall, you want to give up but something pushes you on. In reality I wasn’t alone, although much of the writing was done hunched over a computer in my apartment, in between hard training sessions for this year’s marathon. Dramaturge Gavin Kostick gave me invaluable advice about how to structure the show in intriguing ways and how to give life to characters beyond what they were in my head.
“Once the script was locked down it was straight into a whirlwind of rehearsals with the amazing Bryan Burroughs, a physical theatre director who really knows how to physicalise what’s going on internally for a character. The show has had its premier in Bewley’s Cafe Theatre so it’s not just mine any more, it’s out in the world for everyone to see and love or hate.
“Unfortunately my marathon training has suffered as a result of this intense process but I plan to go feet first into training as soon as I can and still aim for a great time. Just completing it will give me the type of satisfaction that only running can provide.”