Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty has a writing career spanning almost 20 years.

The writer is best known for his works such as Mickybo and Me and Scenes From The Big Picture.

His latest play Death of a Comedian is his first piece to hit the stage at the Lyric Theatre in his new position of writer in residence.

Starring Casualty star Brian Doherty, Doctors actress Katie McGuinness and Doctor Who’s Shaun Digwell it will run from until March 1 before taking to the stage in Dublin and London.

For Owen, this play is about a subject close to his heart – comedy.

But not because he fancies himself as a comedian but because as a consumer, along with football, comedy is his favourite TV show.

Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty  | Picture By Ciaran McElhinney

Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty – Picture By Ciaran McElhinney

Owen added that he wasn’t a stereotyped playwright and doesn’t expect people who go to his shows to be typical “theatre goers”.

He said: “I don’t think you necessarily have to be passionate about the theatre in order to be a playwright. It would be absurd if you hated theatre or if you didn’t understand theatre but I don’t think you have to be overly passionate in the sense that you need to go and see everything or need to immerse yourself in that world all the time.

“I think it’s wrong to think there is such a thing as a ‘theatre goer’, I think that notion puts people off.

“Especially in Belfast there is a perception about the theatre, that it belongs to a certain degree to the middle classes or that it belongs to people who consider themselves to be educated. It’s nothing to do with that and it couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Theatre is just a group of people performing something live, it could be anything, it could be like going to see Van Morrison. It’s just a very good story that’s very well told by an actor on stage.”

Actors Katie McGuinness, Shaun Dingwell and Brian Doherty in Death of a Comedian

Actors Katie McGuinness, Shaun Dingwell and Brian Doherty in Death of a Comedian

And as for Death of a Comedian, Owen believes it will appeal to anyone who loves comedy.

He said: “I had been thinking for quite a while that I wanted to write about a stand-up comic. I was interested in the idea of how comedians become on stage and what it is they actually do and how that’s connected to the idea of the performance.

“For me I wanted to see if I could do two things. One was to see if I could write a different type of play, in that most of this play is just a guy doing stand-up so in that sense it’s a bit different from other plays.

“I also wanted to look at the notion of how success might affect your own art.

“The play isn’t based on anyone, I just imagined the idea that if somebody were to become more successful how they would meet the change in order to widen their audience.”

Owen McCafferty’s Death of a Salesman starring Brian Doherty, Katie McGuinness and Shaun Digwell will run until March 1 at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. For more information log onto www.lyrictheatre.co.uk.

Our Review

Owen McCafferty has captured a sneak peak into the world behind the scenes of comedy.

By showing the audience the darker side of the spotlight he has humanised the comedy personality exploring the depths of a world most people will never see.

From the changing nature of lead character Steve Johnston’s relationship with his bolchy but supportive girlfriend to the stripping away of every fibre of his being by the cut-throat showbiz agent – this play is funny, dramatic and surprising.

Owen’s ability to write real drama for real people gives this play a broad appeal.

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