Abbey Theatre's

Two Pints

March 6 - 31, 2019

The Pub

A WorldStage Production from Ireland
written by Roddy Doyle
directed by Caitríona McLaughlin

A Note from the Director

Caitríona McLaughlin

When Neil Murray and Graham McLaren (directors of the Abbey Theatre) asked me to direct Roddy Doyle’s new play Two Pints and tour it to pubs around Ireland, I was thrilled. As someone who has made theatre in an array of found and site-sympathetic spaces, including pubs, shops, piers, beneath flyovers, and one time inside a de-sanctified church, putting theatre on in pubs around Ireland felt like a sort of homecoming. I suspect every theatre director based outside of Dublin has had a production of some sort or another perform in a pub, so why did this feel different?

Was it the fact that we were asking two of Ireland’s leading actors to perform in such close and intimate surroundings?

Was it the fact that we were bringing a slice of Dublin to towns and villages around Ireland and not the other way around?

Perhaps it was that we were bringing a new Roddy Doyle play directly into the location in which it was set—a pub—before putting it on a stage?

Or was it simply the fact that our National Theatre had finally realised that it had an audience and future theatre artists often living three or four hours away in parts of the country lacking in basic public transport or access to live theatre, particularly new plays written and performed by exceptional theatre artists?

We wanted the experience for rural Irish audiences seeing this play in such small and intimate spaces to be like seeing the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club, or at Manchester Free Trade Hall, before the rest of the country knew what was going on. We wanted them to be the first, and to give them the sense of being let in on a secret, before anyone else, as opposed to being the last. It was a very punk aesthetic. I just loved that idea. And hence, the Two Pints tour was born.

When you get hold of a play like Two Pints, you know fairly quickly you have something special on your hands. Before reading the script I admit I was thinking: two men sitting at a bar talking about life and themselves, what’s new? As it turns out: everything. With this masterful piece of writing, Roddy Doyle teaches us an old lesson that we have perhaps lost sight of in contemporary drama: plays are about the people we live with. He has written a play that is utterly true to the banter you might hear between any two men in their sixties sitting in the pub, and yet it never once dips into any kind of bigoted, judgmental, or sexist remark.

Roddy is not only teaching those of us in the theatre how to write character for a more informed and respectful world, he is showing us that empathy is created by listening. What he allows us to do is eavesdrop on the hopes, fears, desires, and disappointments of two simple, but in their own way, extraordinary men. Yes, the language is colourful. Yes, there are a few fourletter words. But there is also much laughter, much love, much comedy, and much life, too. Eavesdropping on these two men, you’ll see that, like great jazz musicians, they riff off each other, and off their own experiences.

And as I sit here in a hotel bar wondering have I said too much or not enough in writing this, the conversation of two men at the bar floats into earshot:
One:    He’s mad for the ambience, that’s what they used to call it anyway, ambience!
Two:    I hear they’re building a hotel now, sixteen stories high!
One:    F*cking sharks, where’s it going?
Two:    Jesus Christ! I told you what I know!

…and I am struck once again by the accuracy and brilliance of Roddy’s writing.

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