It is also the first production of Titchfield Festival Theatre’s 2022 New Play Season.
It’s 1933 and the country is still suffering from the Great Depression. Mike Malloy, an ex-firefighter, has fallen on hard times, living rough and relying on drink to keep warm. Local bartender Tony Marino notices how Mike would drink his body weight in booze and pass out. He hatches a plan with some of his dubious friends to take out an insurance policy on Mike, plot his death and cash in the policy. He’s done it before… So what could possibly go wrong? This dark comedy is based on real events as Mike The Durable refuses to die.
Emma Bevan is the writer and director, and it is the fourth time that Emma has written for TFT’s New Play Season. Emma says: ‘I came across the tale of Mike Malloy and was fascinated by what happened to him.
‘Very little is actually known about Mike prior to this story other than he was an Irish immigrant in New York towards the end of the Great Depression and had been a firefighter.
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‘Mike has fallen on hard times, and he often worked for beer and whiskey. Tony, the owner of a speakeasy, had previously taken out an insurance policy on someone and claimed on it after killing her.
‘Encouraged and assisted by his friends, they decide to do the same to Mike. I was interested in how Mike continued to survive despite attempts on his life.
‘I've tried to keep as close as I could to the real story, except moving it to London.
‘Mike The Durable is an intriguing and true narrative. What he went through and survived is unbelievable – and we find ourselves laughing at what happened.
‘It's at times uncomfortable to laugh and it's dark but we can't help but see the humorous side.
‘For me, it shows that it is human nature to find humour even in darkness.’
Mike The Durable is at Titchfield Festival Theatre from January 5-15. Go to titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com.
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