sk any politician negotiating this topsy-turvy world, and they’ll all tell you that survival is all down to having a good script.
Whether it’s attending the opening of a new school or pushing their way through an angry protest, a few choice soundbites can save the day.
And so, is it any wonder that Greystones’ very our Minister For Health has risen through the government ranks so smoothly. Here’s a politician, after all, who doesn’t have to rely entirely on spin doctors and PR gurus for his career-boosting – and, on occasion, possibly even career-saving – pearls of wit and wisdom.
Yep, jump back to the turn of the millennium, and our boy was already weaving wily words and spinning tales to keep the masses happy, the 13-year-old St David’s student having written his very own play whilst still getting used to long trousers.
Being from Redford Park, the budding playwright naturally had the darker side of life on his mind, his debut production, On The Run, tackling such subjects as alcoholism, child abuse and death.
And you thought Applewood Heights was rough.
Studying under the steady hand of the iconic Gladys Sheehan, young Simon was wise enough to present his work to an established playwright before unleashing it upon the public, and luckily for him, the Abbey Theatre’sBrian Farrell – also of this parish – gave On The Run the thumbs up.
Having taken the talented young lad “about three or four weeks to write” – beat that, Mamet! – that seal of approval from the man behind I Do Not Like Thee, Dr Fell and The Last Apache Reunion inspired Simon to stage a production in the town, with the 50-strong cast and crew rehearsing in the Sea Scouts Den before a 5-day run at the end of August in St Patrick’s Hall.
The play was a sellout, despite the fact that tickets were a whopping great £4 for adults and £2 for OAPs and children.
Joining the second year St David’s student on the night were principal players – and buddies – Fiona Armstrong, Sinead Lavelle and Erin Wiley, along with younger sister Gemma, with proud parents Mary and Bart cheering on from the wings long before the curtain was raised. Simon was also quick to give thanks and praise to his music teacher at St David’s, Stuart Crampton, father of the groovy Dylan.
With the theatre world then at his small feet, with approval from one of Ireland’s leading playwrights, packed houses every night, raves from the critics, when you look back, you have to wonder, for Simon Ignatius Horatio Margaret Harris, where did it all go so wrong…?
You can check out Simon Harris’ My Greystones entry from November 17th, 2016 here.
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