‘The Maltese Falcon’ – not

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Darren Maher of Magic Roundabout theatre company - playwright, actor, occasional director

A: Darren Maher 26

MONDAY night theatre continues at Dolan’s Upstairs venue on the 12th with Magic Roundabout’s reading of ‘The Maltese Falcon – (if not already taken)’. It’s a play written by Magic Roundabout’s Darren Maher who was on stage in Limerick most recently in their excellent production of Mamet’s ‘American Buffalo’ at Loft Venue.

This show, with another penned by Maher, ‘Spinal Krapp’ made it to a 10 night  run in Dublin this year at Theatre Upstairs on Eden Quay.

Maher is in local news again as writer of ‘The Maltese Falcon – (if not already taken)’, which Arts page is moved to abbreviate to TMFINAT. Miffed that such a mighty fine play and book are invoked by a work that has yet to see the light of stage, Maher takes the cut with his usual good humour: TMFINAT was the one title on a working list of suggestions put forward that he took to.

The pun is that his play is based on a group of actors arriving at a playwright’s apartment for a reading of his latest – and it’s a turkey. Forget the genius of Dashiell Hammet’s thriller or Huston’s film noir; the object of Mr Maher’s play is plain bad.

“TMFINAT is very much behind the theatrical scenes,” he grins from under his Mohican plume. “Five people who have not met previously show up, each with a different agenda. One of the party has been published or in a play and is that just bit beyond the scale of the others. One wants to get away from the wife and the kids, another wants to be a star but is not overburdened with intelligence.

“One character is there for the reading and realising the play is a dud, does not give a damn that it is. Number five is the writer”. And so the evening begins.

Darren Maher’s fatal but winning flaw is his tenacity to truth; he cannot blur, skirt, understate nor omit. He cheerfully ‘fesses up to ‘The Maltese Falcon – (if not already taken)’ being based on a night he spent years back turning up as an actor to such a reading: “I felt the evening we sat through had far more dramatic energy then the play we were there to read”.

With Zeb Moore having the steering hand and the cast of Tim Evans, Stef Barry, David Collins, Nigel Shinnors and Michelle O’Flanagan, there is hope yet for Maher’s 47 minutes of fame. Repair to Dolan’s for Monday August 12, 8pm for ‘artistic tension’.