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Interview with Cathal Cleary/ Shane O’Regan – Debris – Smock Alley

Interview with Cathal Cleary/ Shane O’Regan – Debris – Smock Alley

We had the chance to put some questions to director Cathal Cleary and actor/ artistic director Shane O’Regan of Reality:Check productions ahead of the opening of Debris at Smock Alley tomorrow night. We asked them about the project and also Reality:Check’s recent win at the Irish Times Theatre Awards. You can see the results below.

Smock Alley – 11 – 21 Apr | 8pm in The Boys’ School. 2:30pm matinees on Saturdays. Preview: Tue 10 Apr

Cathal Cleary (CC) – Director of Debris
Shane O’Regan (SOR) – Artistic Director of Reality:Check Productions 


First off, Congratulations to Reality:Check on your recent win at the Irish theatre awards. You were a small company going up against so many big names, how much of a surprise was it?

SOR: Thanks so much! Yeah, it was an amazing surprise for us – it was so fantastic to even be nominated. It’s great to see some attention going toward smaller companies – and we are just one of many amazing companies in this country with the likes of Sickle Moon, Dreamgun, Sad Strippers, Squad…I could go on all day!

I really feel the industry needs to cultivate and support the new talent coming through and it’s something we try to practice with R:C as much as we can.

This is the second production in recent months on Irish stages that was written by Dennis Kelly. Can you tell me something about him? What other playwrights would you compare him to?

CC: Denis Kelly is a second-generation Irish man from London. Debris was his breakout play in 2003 and he’s been writing across genres and mediums every since then. He collaborated with Sharon Horgan on the brilliant BBC sitcom Pulling before creating the RSC’s massive musical hit Matilda with Tim Minchin.

I think it’s fair to compare Denis’ writing for the stage to Sarah Kane and Enda Walsh. All three have written plays about young people dealing with being on the outside in urban and unforgiving societies.

It sounds like quite a hard-hitting play. Do you think audiences will be shocked by it?

CC: I hope that audiences will be entertained and excited and feel like going to the theatre was the best option that night. In the words of Denis Kelly himself…”I always want my plays to have tension; whether the audience hates it or loves it is up to them, but I never want them to be bored”

When did you become involved with the project? How did the production come about? 

CC: Shane, who plays Michael in Debris, is one of the founders of Reality:Check and he approached me about working with the company and specifically to work with Clara, who plays Michelle. We eventually landed on Debris as the ideal choice to fit both these brilliant young actors as well as the kind of wild and energetic play Reality:Check revel in.

How would you describe your directorial style? What do you bring to a production? 

CC: I do my best to create a production that allows the play to come to life in the most clear, honest and captivating way. Helping the actors to deliver their strongest possible performances every night through the run is a huge part of that as is putting together a design with the creative team that people may not be expecting.

What’s next for you and for Reality:Check?

CC: I’ve got two more directing jobs lined up for 2018 in Ireland which I’m delighted about. I live in London but leap at the opportunity to work at home.

SOR: As for Reality:Check- Right after Debris comes down we begin rehearsal for Trainspotting, in co-production with Verdant Productions which will be playing The Olympia from 8th-12th May.

As well as that we have a play read of The Letters of St. Declan by Peter Gowen in The New Theatre in June. As well as some more surprises for both stage and screen to be announced!

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Categories: Header, interview, Theatre

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