FORMER FAIR City star Seamus Moran comes to the Town Hall Theatre studio next week with his self-penned solo play, Have A Heart - a wonderfully dynamic and visual drama about love, obsession and head-versus-heart conflict featuring a tour de force performance from Moran.
In the play, an architect called DJ, who has recently had a heart transplant, thinks his new heart is talking to him. Is he going insane, suffering side-effects from the medication, or could it actually be possible? When his new heart persuades him to embark on a major quest, his life is turned upside down and inside out.
“I originally wrote Have a Heart as a radio play,” Moran tells me. “It seemed to me if I was going to be writing about a guy who’s hearing a voice in his head then radio was the right vehicle for that. It didn’t get anywhere as a radio play and I put it away and had completely forgotten it until I saw Druid’s production of Penelope by Enda Walsh; that reminded me of the power and physicality of theatre. It got me thinking that maybe my play wasn’t a radio piece after all; it’s about two characters fighting over the same body and I saw that maybe it was actually more physical. So I re-wrote it and got Liam Halligan to direct it because he is very good at dramaturgy and he has directed me a few times before, so he is someone that I trust."
“In the play you’re introduced first to Ray, the person whose heart it is, just as his memory is fading in his last moments before he loses consciousness,” Moran continues. “You hear what led up to his accident and why he needs DJ to find his fiancée and make things right with her. Then DJ takes over, who is a cerebral character and he is the driver of the play.
"It becomes like a detective story; DJ’s got very few clues to start with. He is cerebral by nature but then realises he has to let the heart take over. So the theme of the play is about heart and instincts versus head. Once DJ yields to the heart the play gets a bit wacky because logic goes out the window! Ray’s energy takes over leading them toward his girlfriend.”
Have A Heart is Moran’s second play as a writer, though one has to go all the way back to 1988 for his debut, A Thin Red Line (1988 ). “I had no urges to write in the meantime because that play was such a disaster as far as I was concerned in terms of having one thing in your head and thinking you were getting it down on paper then seeing what came out on the other side,” he says wryly. “It’s very hard to get what is in your head on to paper in a way that’s close to what you were thinking.”
Moran has certainly succeeded in getting his thoughts down on paper with Have A Heart judging by the play’s enthusiastic reviews. As well as its head v heart conflict and suspense it also has plenty of laughs, as Moran explains; “In the chats between Ray and DJ, because Ray is young and energetic and devilish while DJ is old and staid and set in his ways, there is a lot of comedy in their exchanges and in the changing of the physicality based on the voice. Also, there is a female character, Martha, that everybody loves and she’s funny.”
Have A Heart is at the Town Hall Studio for one night only, on Tuesday November 15 at 8.30pm. Tickets are €15/12 through 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie