Broadway Features and Reviews
Broadway Behander: A Look At Martin McDonough
By Saloni Karnik, Broadway Magazine
The name Martin McDonough is well known both to both Broadway and movie audiences. The Irish playwright has earned accolades for his screenwriting as well. Now, with "A Behanding In Spokane" the cheeky author brings his singular world view to the shores of America.
Martin McDonough was born in Camberwell, London, to Irish parents. His mother and his father later moved back to Galway, leaving Martin and his brother in London, where Martin began collecting unemployment benefits at age of 16.
During visits to Galway in the summers, McDonough became acquainted with the dialect of English spoken in western Ireland. He would later put an exaggerated and poeticized version of this dialect to work in his plays.
His ironic combination of coarse country language, primal symbolism and black humor represents a peculiar fusion of the work of John Millington Synge with the modern drama of Harold Pinter, David Mamet and British television comedy
Separated into two trilogies, McDonough's first six plays are located in and around County Galway, where he spent his holidays as a child. The first is set in Leenane a small village on the west coast of Ireland, and consists of The Beauty of Leenane (1996), A Skull in Connemara (1997) and The Lonesome West (1997).
His second trilogy consists of The Cripple of Inishmaan (1997) The Lieutenant of Inishmore (2001) and The Banshees of Inisheer (which was never published) scattered across a trio of islands just off the coast of County Galway.
His first non-Irish play, The Pillowman is set in a fictitious totalitarian state, and premiered at the National Theatre in 2003, having been presented in a rehearsed reading in Galway in 1997. The Pillowman also enjoyed a successful run on Broadway. He has also penned two prize-winning radio plays, including The Tale of the Wolf and the Woodcutter.
Since then McDonough has focused on his first passion, film. Following the success of "Six Shooter" in 2006, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film, McDonough wrote and directed his first full-length feature, In Brudges (2008), for which he received the BAFTA Award for Original Screenplay and was nominated for outstanding British film.
In an interview with Film Crunch, Martin McDonough discussed about his love for dark and funny side of the human nature, "For me, my background is in writing plays–all those have a strong balance of darkness and comedy, too. I think it's kind of the way I see the world in lots of ways: naturally bleak but naturally funny".
He also received a nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Award. In addition to the current Broadway run of "A Behanding In Spokane", there are reports that Martin McDonough is currently working on a new stage musical with composer Tom Waits and director Robert Wilson.
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