An Interview with Gavin Smith
THE MUMBLE : Hello Gavin, so are you looking forward to Gap Years being at the Oran Mor
GAVIN : Very much so. It’s my first Play Pie and a Pint and I can’t think of a better venue and audience for this short play. Whilst I’ve seen lots of them as an audience member it’s very different and exciting to have penned one.
THE MUMBLE : Can you tell us a little about the play
GAVIN : It focuses on a newly retired woman Geraldine. She’s full of life, has lots of disposable cash and is looking forward to 20 or so years of doing all the things and seeing all the places she always dreamed of. She knows that in a couple of decades she will be too old to do all these exciting things so has to live it up now. These are her Gap Years! But then… like so many retired grandparents of this generation… Geraldine’s daughter shows up looking for regular free childcare so she can go back to work. It’s a comedy as mother and daughters personal grand plans crash together and Geraldine finds herself changing nappies rather than flying to China.
THE MUMBLE : How are you finding director Steve McNicoll’s handling of your brainchild
GAVIN : Well the show is a bit about looking after a baby and I suppose Steven is doing similar by looking after my ‘Baby.’ He hasn’t dropped it yet. He’s a great director because he knows comedy and knows theatre and he’s injected a lot of heart in to the piece that I think has lifted the comedy even more and he’s pulled together a cracking cast.
THE MUMBLE : What is the difference between writing for television & writing for the stage – what are the nuances you notice
GAVIN : You’ve got a lot more to think about. There’s more time to fill. You want the play to be dynamic and pacy but it’s all happening live and needs written out completely. Television tends to be tightly edited but in a play you can’t just cut to the character a few months on in an instant having grown a beard. The set might need to change, the costume change and the beard to be put on in the wings. That all affects pace and rhythm. In TV if a speech is too long and dragging then you can always just cut it down in the edit of the programme but there’s no such fall back for theatre. What you write, what you see and what you hear is what the audience get. There’s no additional beards in Gap Years.
THE MUMBLE : What is the secret to making somebody laugh?
GAVIN : If I knew that I’d be a millionaire! There’s so many different ingredients and like all recipes sometimes it’s the best thing you’ve ever made and other times you overdid the salt. Authentic comedy characters with a clear attitude are a must. Recogniseable ideas and situations are essential and then just exaggerate those and look for laughs. The important thing is for audiences to get the character, buy in to the big idea and connect with it on some level. That’s half the battle and then you just have fun with it. No matter what you do there’s always some people who enjoy it and some who don’t. Just think about all the differing comedy opinions you have with your friends and family. There’s no one size fits all.
THE MUMBLE : What makes you laugh?
GAVIN : My kids. Five and seven and they talk some amount of nonsense. I love it.
THE MUMBLE : What does the rest of 2017 have in store for Gavin Smith
GAVIN : Gap Years the tour, Gap Years the series, Gap Years the movie, Gap Years the Prequel. Hopefully. But if not, I’m definitely going to Legoland in the summer with the family. Booked that up the other day.