Howie the Rookie, premier (Premiered Bush Theatre, London 1999); further venues incl. Performance Space 122 (New York 2002); Everyman Palace Theatre, Cork (17-22 June 2002); Manchester Library Theatre (Rocket Theatre Co., Aug. 2002).
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Jason Zinoman, For Him, the Devil Is in the Rhymes, review of Mark O’Rowe, Terminus, in New York Times (13 Jan. 2008): [...] Introducing his latest work at a reading uptown last year Mr. ORowe explained to a sparse crowd that if he sits down to write a play without any preconceived notions of plot or character, the first thing that usually pops into his head is a sex scene. Then he read a Joycean monologue featuring the image he began writing the play with: a woman falling from a construction crane. What is surprising is not so much that she is saved from certain death by a demon made of worms - the play is Mr. ORowes most fantastical - but that he then makes love to her with a tenderness that Mr. Rowe is not known for. [...] It was not Mark ORowes dream to be a playwright. Growing up in the working - class town of Tallaght, the child of a toolmaker and a housewife, he preferred kung fu movies to the theater, which he hardly ever attended. You couldnt have set me in front of a drama for love or money”, he said. / That changed when, at the age of 24, he saw the film House of Games and joined the generation of young writers who got their start imitating David Mamet, who wrote and directed it. He seemed very immediate”, Mr. ORowe said. It wasnt like Shakespeare. It was just, like, three - word sentences. / From Mamet he found his way to Pinter and then, inevitably, to Beckett, whose novel Molloy inspired the structure of Howie the Rookie”, which received rave reviews in both London and New York. [...] Of course there is the question of how many Irish devils can fit in the New York theater scene. Mr. McPherson has already carved out his niche on Broadway with The Seafarer”, about a poker game in which Satan holds a formidable hand. When Mr. ORowe read that play, he said, he couldnt help thinking, Oh no, hes using the Devil too. (See full text, in RICORSO Library, Criticism / Reviews, infra.]
Mark Schreiber, Mark ORowe, in The Literary Encyclopedia: his theatrical work is mainly concerned with the dystopic underbelly of contemporary urban Ireland: the underbelly of the Celtic Tiger [online; 30.07.08].
Eamonn Kelly, After Beckett, review of Terminus, in Books Ireland (Feb. 2008), pp.11-12: Terminus is a lyrical gothic tale about the brutal side of Irish urban life, concerning three characters in various stages of ennui and degradation whose fates intertwine. The play is delivered in three separate monologues in a rhythmic, rhyming rap-style verse which is at once startlingly original while also being reminiscent of older verse-play styles, not to mention Beckettian and Joycean. The style is so attractive that you feel at first that everyone will be tempted to start writing like this. But as the play progresses, the relatively strict rhyming demands of the style become a bit strained, the rhythm attaining a fairly predictable sing-song swing. However, the imagery he conjures more than compensates for this perhaps nitpicking criticism. [Quotes as infra.] (p.11.) The C character turns out to be the B character’s mysterious date who in turn turns out to be the A character’s errant daughter on a mission to suicide. So in this sense at least B and C are well met. The play then takes a supernatural turn, sometimes reminiscent of Paradise Lost, a striking allusion to the descent of Dublin into a violent netherworld. The play ends on a compromised redemptive note, invoking supernatural ideas of reincarnation in order to signal a hope of rebirth. (p.12.)
From Both Hips (1997): An urban comic thriller of violation and vengeance in which a Dublin man is set on revenge after he is accidentally shot in the hip by a member of the Drugs Squad. Surrounded by three women (his wife, her sister and his girlfriend), all of whom are determined to advise him - something has got to give. From Both Hips is a cool, fast sweep through the grey no-mans-land of cops and criminals in contemporary Ireland. [See The Playwrights Database - online; 29.07.08.]
Howie the Rookie (1999): a white knuckle ride through a nightmare Dublin, where enemies and allies are interchangeable and brutal events take on a mythic significance; effortlessly scoops you into the dirty dives of Dublin to reveal a feud of honour regarding a scabies-infested mattress and gangland revenge over lost Siamese fighting fish. [After The Playwrights Database - online; 29.07.08; & Rocket Theatre Howie the Rookie - online.]
Made in China (2001): Set in a completely re-imagined Dublin underworld, Made in China involves martial artists, rogue cops and savage low-lifes. A dreadful accident causes a violent tug-of-war between two criminal foot soldiers over the loyalty of a third. Self-loathing, guilt and loneliness emerge in this frenzied narrative, which culminates in a blistering battle for survival. [See The Playwrights Database - online; 29.07.08.]
Terminus (2007): Three anonymous characters monologue in lights on stage; the older woman who is alienated from her daughter; the daughter who has joined up with an unknown date in a pub; the date who is a psychopathically violence serial-killer who has sold his soul to the devil.
Boy A (2008) - Boy A (2008), scripted by O'Rowe and based on the novel of Jonathan Trigell in which Jack (24) is released from prison where he has remained since he and another boy murdered a child when they were themselves children. Jack experiences coming-of-age under the mentorship of his social worker Terry while the tabloid press and Terry's real son make trouble for them both. [After Rottentomatoes, online].