Drama On One preview: My name is Stephen Kennedy, and I am a Beatle addict.
There. I’ve said it. It feels good to finally get it off my chest. Not that it’s a very well-kept secret or anything. After all – I am Director of the Dublin Beatles Festival – and the reason I’m sitting here right now and typing these words is because my play Death and the Beatles Fan is going to be broadcast on RTE’s Drama On One at 8pm this coming Sunday. The facts speak for themselves.
I wrote Death and the Beatles Fan about five years ago. It takes a comic look at what happens when Death attempts to collect the soul of a hardcore Beatles fan who has absolutely no interest in dying. It’s sort of a spoof of Ingmar Bergman's film The Seventh Seal – but instead of playing chess, Death ends up competing in a Beatles trivia quiz. It’s gritty realism at its finest.
Death and the Beatles Fan was originally written for the stage – and it had a sold-out run at the New Theatre in Dublin – as part of an event I put together called The Beatles Show. Then, about eighteen months ago, I re-wrote the piece as a radio play and sent it to RTE. Fortunately for me, my script found its way to Gorretti Slavin’s desk. Gorretti read my play and liked it – and she decided to record it for Drama On One. (Thank you, Gorretti. You are a lady of great taste and infinite wisdom. Long may you reign and play the banjo!)
So last summer Gorretti brought together a very impressive cast and recorded a cracking version of Death and the Beatles Fan. Joe Taylor performs the part of Tony – the Beatles fanatic in the play’s title – and Joe Hanley plays his best friend Brian. Death is played by Jonathan Ryan – and what a Death he is. (Jonathan really was born for Death. He has a voice on him that makes Barry White sound like a chipmunk caught in thistles.)
Oh – and Mark McGrath did a damn fine job on sound supervision – so I owe him a pint too.
Long story short – Death and the Beatles Fan is going to be broadcast on RTE Radio 1 this coming Sunday at 8pm. If you know any Beatle fans – and we all do – then please let them know that it is on. In the words of a certain song – "A splendid time is guaranteed for all." Or is it?
Drama On One: Death and the Beatles Fan, RTÉ Radio 1, Sunday August 6th, 8pm
About the author: Stephen Kennedy is the writer of various Beatle plays which have been staged in Dublin, Belfast, Liverpool, London, Dundee, Berlin and Maryland (in the US of A). These plays include John Lennon’s Last Day, Lennon v McCartney, Pete Best of the Beatles and The Beatle Monologues. Stephen is also organiser of Beatles Day at the Workman’s Club which will take place in Dublin on Saturday, November 4th, 2017. More information here.