Running with Dinosaurs is a play written by young Dublin playwright Nadine Flynn. The play focuses on a young man trying to find his purpose in the world outside his inner city Dublin flat, in a Dublin where gangland culture is on the rise. Asking the audience the questions, are you merely the product of our circumstance and if our fate is predetermined? A rehearsed reading of the play will take place Sunday 28th February in the Smock Alley Theatre at 4pm, tickets cost €5. The play is being put on as part of Smock Alley’s new festival Scene + Heard, which is a new platform devoted to showing off new work in its early forms.
Before the first public performance of the play I spoke with Nadine Flynn to talk about why she became a playwright and what the journey from script to performance entails.
Not only does it bring joy to me, but it (hopefully) brings joy to an audience too, and that’s all I want.
Wanting to be an author, writing books and short stories, Flynn hadn’t thought about becoming a playwright, it was only after she was introduced to theatre and saw that she could make her stories come to life that she decided to give it a go. “I gave it a shot and wrote a play, which was performed in UCD and when I saw my work performed live for other people I knew that the only way I could get satisfaction from my writing is if it was for the stage. Not only does it bring joy to me, but it (hopefully) brings joy to an audience too, and that’s all I want.”
Flynn describes the process of writing a play as a lot harder than people think. “What looks good on paper and sounds good in your head might not necessarily sound good out loud or work onstage. The only way you’re play will get better is through workshops. It also usually needs a few rehearsed readings before it’s ready for the stage.”
Her current play, Running with Dinosaurs, took Flynn six months to write and has gone through various stages including ten drafts, two workshops and four critiques. “If you’re like me, a play is never finished, the editing process is constant and ongoing … Plays are delicate and Theatre’s are particular so the process never really ends. But in saying that, the more you put in, the more you will gain, and you will reach a point where you know your script is ready, and once you get there, you send it out and hope other people have as much faith in it as you do.”
Flynn counts the people she looks up to in the field as “anyone who doesn’t take no for an answer when it comes to their own artistic vision.” In this she includes the actors who do the same show two times a day, seven days in a row; women in theatre, who have proved themselves again and again to be just as capable as men; the staff at The Lir Academy and those involved in the Waking the Feminists movement adding “the industry is a tough one to break, so anyone who succeeds deserves some type of praise.”
When asked what her advice to budding playwrights is Flynn urges them to keep sending their scripts out and to grow from all feedback, good or bad. She also reminds aspiring playwrights to be practical in their writing, “be practical also, theatre is a fluid art form and there’s room for experimentation, but if you want to write a scene where a building explodes, think about how that will work on stage.”
As cliche as it sounds, don’t give up
But most of all Flynn’s advice is to never give up, “As cliche as it sounds, don’t give up. If you’re a writer, in any industry, you need to have thick skin because not everyone will like what you do, but that’s okay.”
Nadine Flynn is a 23 year old playwright from Dublin. Having studied in UCD and working with UCD’s drama society Dramsoc, Nadine went on to study playwriting in The Lir Academy in Dublin. Running with Dinosaurs is her first “grown up” production.