We had the chance to interview Noelle Brown, writer of Postscript and Foxy, which opens at the Project Arts Centre next week. You can see the results below.
Verdant Productions presents – Foxy – 27 October 2015-07 November 2015 8.15pm – Tickets €16/14
Postscript was an amazing success, and was a play that ran and ran. Was it a surprise to you how well it did?
I was surprised and thrilled with its success. I had never co-written or produced and performed in my own work before and I had no idea what people would make of my story of tracing my birth family. The success of the play and the audiences I met because of performing the show, made me realise that nearly every family in Ireland is affected by the issue of adoption in some way or other and I’m sure this contributed to it’s success.
It felt like it was a subject matter very close to your heart. How much of you was in Postscript and how much was fiction?
Well the details of my search are all true and I do play myself in the piece, so it’s all me. I have spent years as an actor playing characters, so it’s very weird playing myself and kind of terrifying as there is no-where to hide when you are telling such a personal story. The other characters in the piece, played by Brid Ni Neachtain, are an amalgam of voices I would have heard over the years so those sections are also true in a sense but are fictionilised by my co-writer Michele Forbes.
Tell us about this new play ‘Foxy’?
Having grown up as a redhead, I’ve always wanted to look at the issue of red hair and attitudes to red hair in a theatre form. When I was growing up people would call me a Traveller as a term of abuse because red hair was associated with Travellers then. When I was starting to write FOXY, I read about a shocking incident in Tallaght where a Roma family’s child was taken from them by the Gardai because she didn’t look like the rest of her family. I decided to transpose the incident to a Traveller family and this became the backdrop to the story of a red haired man’s growing awareness of the acceptable prejudice towards redheads and the blatant prejudice towards Travellers and the Roma community.
Like Postscript it’s funny and sad but unlike Postscript it also has a musical element and has three performers instead of two.
It seems to be another detective story, do you have a passion for that genre?
I am a big fan of detective stories and while Foxy wouldn’t really be classed as a detective story in the way Postscript was, there is a Garda character who impacts on the story throughout. The central character also approaches his search for knowledge about discrimination and prejudice through the same means as a detective would, with interviews, research and an on-line presence.
Were you tempted to write a part you could play in it?
No. I was always definite I wouldn’t be performing in this show. I wanted to just be the writer in the room this time and see what that felt like.
Could you see yourself making the transition to full time writer, or would you miss the stage too much?
I could never see myself giving up performing. While I love writing and will continue to write over the next few years, I also look forward to working as an actor both in my own work from time to time and outside of it. I can’t imagine not performing. It’s pretty much all I have known since 1987 and I really love it and would miss it hugely.