Steve Johnston, guided and inspired by his girlfriend, is a small-time comedian, raw, original and true. Until he's spotted by an agent, who suggests he could be so much more: his act just needs to change. It's a Faustian pact. As tension builds over the course of four gigs, so too do the audiences. But at what cost?
Death of a Comedian by Owen McCafferty premiered at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, in February 2015 in a co-production with the the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, and Soho Theatre, London.
Born in 1961, Owen McCafferty lives with his wife, three children and granddaughter in Belfast. His work for the stage includes Shoot the Crow (Druid, Galway, 1997; Royal Exchange, Manchester, 2003), Mojo Mickybo (Kabosh, Belfast, 1998), Closing Time (National Theatre, London, 2002), Cold Comfort (Primecut Productions, Belfast, 2002), Scenes from the Big Picture (National Theatre, London, 2003), Days of Wine and Roses (Donmar Warehouse, 2005), a version of Sophocles' Antigone (Primecut Productions, Belfast, 2008) and The Absence of Women (Lyric Theatre, Belfast, 2010). He has won the Meyer-Whitworth, John Whiting and Evening Standard Awards for New Playwriting.
Owen McCafferty's The Absence of Women, heartrending and darkly comic in turn, premiered at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, in February 2010.
'Owen McCafferty's rigorous verbatim play provides an antidote to Titanic fatigue... Two months of hearings from 97 witnesses are whittled down to nine... What remains, even after a century, is a disturbing sense of moral ambiguity: 1, 517 dead and no one to blame.' Guardian
'Vibrates with a violent tension so taut that if you were a bystander... you'd hardly dare to breathe.' New York Times
'Remarkable. inspired. The piece packs sweeping questions about forgiveness and accountability into a tightly plotted encounter.' Daily Telegraph
'The most powerful theatrical production I have had the privilege of seeing... McCafferty's script is perfectly taut... This play is extraordinary and completely unmissable.' Metro Herald
'McCafferty excels with tight plotting and pithy, painful dialogue.' The Times
'McCafferty writes with empathy and a wry humour that makes for an absorbing - if painful - hour.' Financial Times
'Owen McCafferty is a sly observer of the human heart.' Guardian
Death of a Comedian
'Despite the humour, McCafferty's play is a tragedy. his most accomplished work to date.' Belfast Telegraph
Northern Ireland are playing Poland on the TV. Jimmy and Ian, two middle-aged Belfast men, are meeting tonight for the first time. They have a shared past. They need to talk.
A powerful story about violence and forgiveness, Quietly marked Owen McCafferty's Abbey Theatre debut, as part of the Great Irish Writers Season, November 2012.
In response to the disaster the British Government ordered an immediate inquiry and Lord Mersey was appointed commissioner. The British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry sat from 2 May to 3 July 1912. It took testimony from 97 witnesses.
Owen McCafferty's Titanic retells the survivors' stories, using dialogue taken word-for-word from the hundred-year-old accounts. Full of intrigue, bravery and human frailty, this courtroom drama premiered in April 2012 as the inaugural production of the MAC, Belfast.
Shoot The Crow
'Tragicomedy of character and circumstance that makes McCafferty look like a ribald Northern Irish Chekov.' Guardian.
Scenes From The Big Picture
'An epic that attempts to put the whole of human life on stage - birth, death, love, sex, work, families - the whole damn thing... McCafferty offers us a wise and compassionate view of the human heart.' Telegraph
'The existence of a writer as good as McCafferty induces a perverse, paradoxical hope.' Guardian
'A razor sharp evocation of time and place.' Irish Times