Interview with Robert Higgins – Writer of The Streets Are Ours, Smock Alley
The Streets Are Ours – Mon 14 May | 8pm | Boys’ School, Smock Alley
This is your first play after writing short stories and a novel. How did you find the transition to writing for the stage?
I think it’s definitely a different muscle to writing prose. I found there were lots of crossover with things such as dialogue, but you don’t have the luxury of dipping into someone’s head and exploring backstory at will – it all has to be up there on stage. I was glad to have someone as experienced as Maria Tivnan, artistic director of Fregoli and director of the play, who helped me develop the piece. It was great to have someone to bounce things off so we could look at what was and wasn’t working and try to make the most entertaining show we could.
How did the production come about?
The genesis for the show came about a year and a half ago now when Fregoli put out a call for new One Act scripts for their Fruition series, an initiative aimed at finding new writers and to bring their work to the stage. I had been a fan of Fregoli’s work for a number of years, having regularly watched their shows when I was in college in NUI Galway so I was delighted to have it accepted. The play was much shorter then, around fifteen minutes. It was performed last year alongside four other One Acts at the Cuirt Literature Festival. After that, Maria Tivnan asked me about doing a longer version and, from there, we started developing it.
Tell us a little about the play? What world does it explore?
The Streets are Ours is a play is about a group of twenty-somethings living in a small town in the midlands of Ireland. The action takes place in a Tesco car park, their old drinking haunt, on the evening that one of their friends returns home from Australia after a number of years. It looks at his reunion with some of his old mates and his ex-girlfriend and examines the effects moving away can have on relationships, the tensions that can arise and the things you leave behind. It’s a comic drama as well so hopefully there will some laughs in there as well!
This play recently featured at the Galway Theatre Festival. What was it like to see it on stage? Did you have opening night nerves?
Yes, I was very nervous on opening night, but also extremely excited to see the work come to life. It helped to be working with such an experienced and talented team as Fregoli. The cast of Oisin Robbins, Jerry Fitzgerald, Maria Dillon and Jarlath Tivnan are all really talented and I think Maria’s direction really helped to elevate the work. It’s been a great experience working on the play with such a great gang.
The show on Monday, May 14th is now sold out, but The Streets are Ours will back in Dublin on October 17th and 18th.