I talk to Liam Joseph and Callum O’Brien, founders of Moonchild Theatre Company about their upcoming new play Pluto. Liam and Callum are both friends who met through working at the Harold Pinter theatre when working front of house.
Tell me about Pluto?
Liam – I wanted to put on The Pillow Man by Martin McDonagh at Baron’s Court but it was just too complicated and expensive. Theatre’s want new writing and so Callum introduced me to the film script he’d written. So I said to him can you write a play?
Callum – Liam has always been interested in space so I wanted to incorporate that. Then I read that in 2016 in North Carolina a law had been passed that meant that transgender community had to use their birth gender bathrooms. So if you were born a male you had to use the male bathrooms regardless. And so I had space on my mind and I was thinking that there were similarities in the fact that Pluto has been relegated to being a dwarf planet. – Caroline its about people having regulations or laws passed without a right to reply? Yes but I didn’t want to give a voice to the people who passed the law – the bad guy. So it could be about politics, social or trans genderism or just be taken literally an algorithm.
It kind of happened at a time when this transgender law was passed and then NASA was given it’s biggest ever budget and all this happened within 24 hours. Which then made this play become extremely relevant and current.
Where did you meet? So did you guys meet here at The Harold Pinter?
Yes we did, it was kind of a slow burn, over a period of time we realised we knew the same people and were interested in the same things. We realised we worked well together. Callum’s is very calm and I’m (Liam) very stressed all the time, so it works really well.
Tell me about your backgrounds?
Liam – I wanted to be a cyclist at first. I think that’s where my drive comes from. But that didn’t work out. I was doing school plays and then went to university and studied drama theatre. Studying all aspects including stage management, sound design and loved it all. Then in the last few months I thought maybe I want to be an actor. I’ve worked here for two years and played a few parts since I’ve been here. Caroline tell me more I was Lysander in Midsummer Night’s Dream for Shakespeare 400 and then I probably shouldn’t say this but I was in Howard Barker’s In the Depths of Dead Love. Caroline how was that with all the controversy that surrounded it? Liam – It was hard as actors. Particularly on press night when we could hear all the protests whilst we were actually on stage. So yes it was hard.
Callum – I come from rural Ireland moving here when I was seventeen so I’ve been here for four years now. I always wanted to work in film. I accidentally saw Alien when I was eight but I wasn’t actually scared, I just watched it and thought it was the most amazing thing. Being from rural Ireland people didn’t understand and tried to talk me out of it. But my parents were very supportive and encouraged me to move to London and I went to Southbank University studying film. I’m a very visual person and have specific ideas. The poster for the play shows that, I wanted it to be more a film poster. Caroline I think it most definitely reflects your desire. I want to explore more, continue short films and I’ve lots of ideas such as a sitcom.
Is there life for Pluto after this run?
In August after the run at Barons Court in August we will be taking it to the Cockpit Theatre. We have a huge vision for Pluto and want to take it further and further using Callum’s film experience.
I understand you’ve had a lot of support and encouragement from the guys here and at ATG?
Yes we’re really lucky and thankful they’ve been so supportive. They allow us to rehearse here and most of the team are made up from the Harold Pinter Theatre so we are really grateful to them.
If you could be super hero or have a super power?
Callum – Magneto cool character great costume
Liam – Travel in Space at light speed and see all these wonderful planets and stars
If you could travel back to any era?
Callum: The Bard era to be able to wander around and tell my stories.
Liam: I’m from a religious background so I’d like to go back to Jesus’ time just to see what actually happened.
Who do you think is the most influential person in the world today?
Callum: Trump the manipulation the obvious influence of his “supporters”. Actually can I have two? J K Rowling because she has influenced people to read again. She has provided some really good role models and so the generation that has grown up reading Harry Potter has had that.
Liam: I agree Trump for the wrong reasons unfortunately.
All that remains for me to say to say is thanks for your time Liam and Callum. It was great to hear about Pluto and your exciting future plans. Please see below the listing details about the play and support new writing – book today!