Drawing: Martin McDonagh

Autographed drawing of writer Martin McDonagh

Anglo-Irish playwright, screenwriter and director Martin McDonagh’s latest stage play A VERY VERY VERY DARK MATTER opened last week at London’s Bridge Theatre. Set in Copenhagen, it delves behind the dark sources of the beloved fairytales of Danish children’s author Hans Christian Anderson.

Martin is a person I admire greatly. With no formal training he wrote a stack of plays in 1990s that made him one of the most celebrated new English-language dramatists of his generation. The first six, separated into two trilogies, are located in and around County Galway on Ireland’s western seaboard, where he spent most of his childhood holidays. His first non-Irish play, THE PILLOWMAN was staged at the National Theatre in 2003, winning the Olivier Award for Best New Play and was also Tony nominated in 2005. He had previously won the Olivier for THE LIEUTENANT OF INISMORE and collected his third for HANGMEN in 2016. He is yet to win a Tony after four nominations.

Martin has stated that it’s the screen, not the stage that is his favourite medium. In that realm, he is very very very much in demand after his third feature, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, which he wrote and directed, featured heavily during the latest awards season with seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Original Screenplay. It won five BAFTAs from nine nominations, winning Best Film and Best British Film and Best Original Screenplay for Martin who also claimed the producing, writing and directing Golden Globes. He’s no stranger to film awards. His screenplay for his first feature, IN BRUGES (2008) won the BAFTA and he received his fourth nomination for an Oscar, which he won on his first attempt in 2005 for SIX SHOOTER in the Best Live Action Short category.

I was very very very pleased to meet Martin at the World Premiere of A VERY VERY VERY DARK MATTER at the Bridge Theatre last week where he signed my sketch.

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Drawing: The Beauty Queen of Leenane at The Young Vic

beauty queen of leenane

Martin McDonagh’s acclaimed comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan is currently running at the Noel Coward Theatre as a part of Michael Grandage’s five play season with the with the wizard himself, Daniel Radcliffe.

McDonagh’s earlier play The Beauty Queen of Leenane – a black comedy set in a village in County Galway, revolving around a plain, lonely woman in her forties with her first and possibly final chance at love and her manipulative mother who sets about to derail it.

It premiered in 1996 in Galway, then transferred to London’s Royal Court Theatre before an extensive National tour of Ireland, then returning to London’s West End at the Duke of York’s in November 1996. In 1998 it opened off-Broadway, receiving six Tony nominations and winning four.

The play was revived at The Young Vic in London. The excellent cast – Derbhle Crotty, Rosaleen Linehan, Frank Laverty and Johnny Ward all gladly signed my sketch after I saw the afternoon matinée on 31 August 2011