We had the chance to put some questions to Martin Lynch, co-writer of The Miami Showband Story along with Marie Jones. We asked him about their writing process and this new production. You can see the results below.
“Even if you’re too young to remember the 60s and 70s, this is still the show for you. Told through the eyes of two best friends and Miami songwriters, Fran O‘Toole and Des Lee, The Miami weaves us through the amazing roller coaster story of the iconic showband. The Miami will take you through the joyous dancehall days of the 1960’s and “Spit On Me Dickie” to the tragedy in 1975.”
THE MIAMI SHOWBAND STORY – A NEW MUSICAL ABOUT THE MIAMI SHOWBAND
Olympia Theatre – Dates: 17th Sep. – 21st Sep.
This piece was co-written with Marie Jones. How long do you know Marie and how did this work come about?
I’ve known Marie since we both worked together with Charabanc Theatre Company in the mid-eighties. A long time. And we’ve written several shows together over the years including DANCING SHOES – THE GEORGE BEST STORY, which toured Ireland and the UK. THE MIAMI SHOWBAND STORY came about when ex-Miami member, Des Lee approached me about telling the Miami story for the stage. I was immediately interested. In turn, over a night’s drinking in the backroom of the Errigal Inn in Belfast, I asked Marie if she would like to get involved and we were on our way.
Tell me about how it was co-written. Was it both of you in the same room or was it exchanging drafts and ideas from a distance?
We do the first part meeting regularly together in the same room. We hammer out the storyline together, identifying the scenes we need. Then we spend more time together developing the characters. When we’ve settled on our final structure and the characters we need, we split up the scenes for writing between us, separately. When we get a first draft, we come together again and asses what we have. And it continues like that until we’ve done 3 or 4 drafts. This might sound like hard work but we do a lot of gossiping and laughing together, inventing mad characters and storylines, and it’s always very enjoyable.
The events in this tale took place in the 60s and 70s. How do you think young people today will react to it? Are the events still part of our popular consciousness?
Great stories are timeless and universal and the Miami story is both of these. We have focused on the human story, in particular, we follow the lives of best friends and songwriters in the band, Des Lee and Fran O’Toole. It’s a great roller-coaster ride from the 1960’s when they were the biggest Boyzone-type band of their day to the tragedy of 1975, with their musical back catalogue providing fantastic music throughout the show.
With the debate on Brexit and the border very much in the news. Does this story has an added relevance?
As I said, in this story we deal with the personal, not the political. Of course, the events in the play might cause audience members to contemplate these wider contemporary political issues but it’s not something the play specifically deals with.
How involved were you in this production? Did you sit in on any rehearsals etc?
Yes, both Marie and I attend rehearsals – but we don’t live there – and as is always the case with a new script, there are usually rewrites to be done and this keeps us well involved in the process.
Are you always writing? What are you working on at the moment?
I like to take a month or two between writing projects. When we get Miami up and running, I am starting a new play about my father. He was a street-fighting docker who read and wrote poetry, a very unusual combination, so I’m excited about that.
NATIONWIDE TOUR DATES:
8 – 17 August – Grand Opera House, Belfast: £17.75 – £36.75(additional charges may apply)
20 August – Market Place Theatre, Armagh: £26 – £28(additional charges may apply)
22 – 24 August – Millennium Forum, Derry: £25 (additional charges may apply)
28 August – INEC, Killarney: €39.20 (additional charges may apply)
30 August – Royal Theatre, Castlebar: €34 (additional charges may apply)
2 September – Town Hall Theatre, Galway: €28 – €30 (additional charges may apply)
4 September – The TLT Theatre, Drogheda: €25 (additional charges may apply)
7 September – UCH, Limerick: €30 (additional charges may apply)
10 – 11 September – Theatre Royal, Waterford: €28 – €31(additional charges may apply)
13 September – Solstice Arts Centre, Meath: see local venue for ticket details
17 – 21 September – The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin: From €20 (additional charges may apply)