Portsmouth-made filmmaker has debut comedy play about self-isolation published by top London stage firm

A FILMMAKER who honed his skills in Portsmouth has turned his hand to a new craft - with his debut comedy play being published by a top London stage firm.

Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 12:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th May 2020, 6:03 pm
Gavin Irvine, a filmmaker and University of Portsmouth alumnus, had his debut play about self isolation published by Josef Weinberger Plays

University of Portsmouth alumnus Gavin Irvine has won multiple awards for his work with screenplays, but a moment of inspiration for the Northern Irish storyteller led to his first attempt at a play.

Down The Plughole is around 20 minutes long, about self-isolation and mankind's current plight, written following an open-ended call out from Josef Weinberger Plays to inspire creativity.

Gavin said: ‘I was lying in the bath and reading a book, I pulled the plug and looked at the water being sucked down the plughole. That was it, the whole idea for the play just immediately came to me.

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‘It was one of those beautiful moments as an artist, when you get that little creative spark.’

Down the Plughole is an absurd comedy about the destruction of mankind in a bathtub, following Jake, a man in his 60s in self-isolation being cared for by his daughter, Martha.

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It deals with the uncertainty of our fate as we contend with fatal diseases, over-population, an ageing population, the threat of nuclear war, and acts of God.

Gavin wrote the first draft in 40 minutes on the edge of his bed, before spending three weeks honing the script with help from Helen McKenna - known as the punctuation queen - and Gavin’s sister Nicola Norton.

James Cawood and Gavin’s friend Amelia Madan head Josef Weinberger Plays which publishes playwrights including Arthur Miller, John Steinbeck and John Godber. Amelia described the play as ‘hilarious’ and ‘ludicrous’.

Gavin gives praise to Damian Toal, who taught him at university. He said: ‘I guess if he hadn't encouraged me there's a very high probability I wouldn't be writing and directing films and now becoming a playwright. So you can blame him!’

On the current situation, Gavin said: ‘Try and look after each other and laugh because laughter will get us through this and that’s why I wanted to write a comedy.

‘If someone reads this and it makes them laugh or chuckle even for a little second then I have done my bit.’

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