What Men Talk About When Left To Their Own Devices
Niall Murphy discusses the Tabard Theatre's forthcoming production
(l-r Niall Murphy and Nathan Wright)
What do men talk about when left to their own devices? Men who arenít particularly interested in football or cars, arenít into gaming, and arenít very successful with women..
This is the subject of Karrim Jalali's debut play, The Last Will and Testament of Henry Van Dyke, which opens at The Tabard Theatre next week. (3 April - 27 April ) following a successful run in Clapham.
The two hander stars Nathan Wright (Person One) and Niall Murphy, (Person Two) but is far from being an existential treatment of male anxiety. As the two friends converse, in amongst anecdotes and insults, they get around to discussing and planning a play.
Irish-born actor Niall, describes the play as fundamentally about the relationship between two very different characters. Both have dreams, but react to rejection in different ways. His character is a musician who is at a crossroads in life. He had an opportunity to make it but turned his back because of a fear of failure. He now feels dejected and somewhat embittered.
His friend meanwhile seems impervious to failure. No matter what happens he pursues his hopes and dreams, refusing to be defeated by life.
"Creative people have dreams but sometimes life gets in the way, I suppose that could be said to be the essence of the play. It's about men, but not in a Men Behaving Badly way. I can relate to the topic, as an actor I get up every day and have to come to terms with the fact I might be rejected for a role. At what point do you say 'is it more noble to continue and is there glory in pursuing it, or do you look at the cost and say 'is it worth it?', says Niall.
The play speaks to those who have ever wanted to create something but are crippled by self-doubt. The Last Will and Testament of Henry Van Dyke is a debut play for Birmingham writer Karrim Jalali, and the title comes from a quotation attributed to Henry Van Dyke......ďThe woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.Ē
The message is that if we waited to be perfect at everything, nobody would ever achieve anything. You must use what talents you possess.
Niall has been a local resident since leaving Ireland eight years ago, coming to London to follow his own dream of being a successful actor. He had studied in UCD for a MA in Archaeology while being involved in amateur dramatics. He also did some training stints with the Gaiety School of Acting.
Ironically, after he arrived in London was recalled to Ireland for a role in the film 'Dracula Untold' which was being made in Belfast. His most recent film role was in 'Dead Along the Way', an Irish-made movie which has been shown at film festivals in Ireland and America (it can be downloaded on Amazon Prime).
His involvement in this play came about when a friend told him that his brother-in-law, Karim, had written a play which he might like. Niall read it, loved it and saw immediate potential. He contacted Karrim and they set about getting a theatre to stage it. The play was well received during a short run in Clapham, and Niall felt it would transfer well to a Chiswick audience. As a local he was familiar with the Tabard Theatre and contacted Simon Walker who came on board.
Nathan Wright who plays his friend, is Arts Ed trained and a long time friend of Niall's.
Niall says he understands the dilemma of the character he plays, torn between pursuing his dream and the sacrifices it entails to make dreams a reality. Like most actors he has had to take up flexible jobs to be ready to react when the casting calls come in.
When not on stage, he can be found working in Wheeler's, Chiswick, very conveniently around the corner from the Tabard Theatre.
March 29, 2019