Av og til må man skrive hele livet, intervju med Simon Kavanagh

Intervju 04.03.2019
Jon tyson xur NT Act1f4 unsplash

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Simon Kavanagh har arbeidet i teknologibransjen i over tjue år og skriver på sitt første teaterstykke. Han er irsk og bor i Oslo. I mars 2019 har han verksted og visning på Dramatikkens hus.

-Hei Simon, kan du fortelle noe om teaterstykket du arbeider med?
“Scenes from a broken world” is three separate but related episodes, set in a familiar world. Each episode zooms in on a single tense interaction between two characters. The characters are different from episode to episode but designed to be played by the same two actors.

The first one is “Interrogation”, where we meet an Officer and a Suspect locked in an intense interrogation. The second is “Internment”. This episode opens with a Sentry trying to make a Captive choose between two options. But there is no real choice, only an exercise in control. And the third episode is “Interview.” The setting is an interview but it becomes obvious that the participants have a shared history which is revealed gradually.

Through all three there are some common tropes and themes. Invasive technology, especially surveillance, pops up a lot. Identity, retribution, closure and power are also explored throughout. I would finally say that even though the episodes are dark, I hope there is a certain amount of humour in each piece.

-Snart skal du arbeide sammen med skuespillere og dramaturg her på Dramatikkens hus, hva er det du ønsker å bruke verkstedet til?
I want to develop the 6 characters in the piece, understand how they relate to each other in a physical way and how their physical interaction influences the verbal interaction. I also want to understand where the peaks in the dialogues are, and what can be trimmed away or added to the text to improve the performance. Finally, I hope to build a network and I’m sure I’m going to learn a million other things from working with professionals.

-Du har skrevet hele livet. Hva er det som har fått deg til å åpne opp skrivebordsskuffa og vise verden arbeidet ditt først nå?
Firstly, I would say I’m honored to have got the chance to work with Dramatikkens hus even though I’m not an established writer. I think this is a very commendable thing about Dramatikkens hus, that they consider the quality of the work over the renown of the author.

I guess a lot of the timing is to do with how ready I felt I was. I am a harsh self-critic and until recently I don’t think any of my work was at the level where I felt comfortable looking for support. The piece which we will focus on was begun quite recently, in a flurry of activity in 2018. So it’s not anything which has been sitting gathering dust. When I was done with an early draft I left it alone for a few weeks, to let the enthusiasm die a little – I can get so enthusiastic about something I get blind to how good/bad it actually is. Then when I picked it up again I saw that there might be something there. So I considered how to bring it forward.

And about working on my first piece at the age of 43, I don’t have any strong feelings about it. I simply needed this amount of time to reach a level of maturity with my work, where I was comfortable with the concepts I was trying to express. If others reach this maturity earlier then I applaud them for it. But if I had tried to engage with an organisation like Dramatikkens hus earlier I would have not been ready.

-Du er ny i teaterbransjen, og vi gleder oss til å arbeide mer sammen med deg. Kan du fortelle litt om deg selv?
I have been living in Norway for over ten years, most of that time in Oslo. I am Irish. I work as head of Innovation in a large technology company. I’ve worked in tech companies for over 20 years. It’s been really interesting to track the mega-trends like the rise of the internet, mobile phones, social media and more recently AI. I’m especially interested in the effect these things have on society and how we interact with each other.

I had a fantastic English teacher who challenged us to read very difficult pieces even though we didn’t get it 100 %. I think this is where my interest in drama came from. There are so many different forms of theatre now but I’m drawn to a bare-bones performances with engaging stories and minimal effects or distractions. I think theatre has the potential to educate and provoke, but first and foremost it has to entertain.

I once read a quote which I’ve adopted as my own (and conveniently forgotten who said it first!): writing is the only time I feel I’m doing something important. Of course, there are other things which are important in life but nothing else has the power to engage me as completely as writing. Nothing else gives a greater sense of satisfaction if it’s going well or a greater sense of despair if it isn’t going well.