4 Things You May Not Know About Enda Walsh

Image from The Guardian

Enda Walsh

Enda Walsh gained popularity in the U.S. last year after winning a Tony for his book to the musical, Once. Before Once hit Broadway, however, Walsh had already carved out a successful career as a playwright with frequent productions throughout Europe, particularly in Ireland and the U.K. In honor of the 4 remaining performances of Undermain’s production of Penelope, here are 4 things you may not know about playwright Enda Walsh.


1. At first, Enda Walsh was reluctant to write the book for Once. Although Walsh was a fan of the film Once (on which the musical is based), he initially felt that the topic was too light and might be a waste of time. However, Walsh stated in an interview with Theater Jones that the project “seemed like a good holiday for [me]. I’m constantly doing dark stuff, and stuff that’s very complicated. There’s a part of me that can do light, but I don’t do it that often.”


2. Enda Walsh has a long friendship and professional working relationship with actor, Cillian Murphy. In 1996, Murphy made his acting debut in Walsh’s breakthrough play, Disco Pigs. They have been working together ever since. The duo collaborated on the one man show, Misterman, about a psychotic, reclusive man in a small Irish town. Last Spring, the show traveled to New York where Murphy performed in the cavernous St. Anne’s Warehouse. Describing his experience working on Disco Pigs, Cillian Murphy told the Guardian, “I was in a band, and Enda wanted to be in a band…Theatre was not really on our radar, but I doubt anything I could have done in a rock group would have come close to the excitement of Disco Pigs.”


3. Walsh began his theater career in Cork because the Dublin theater scene was so tough to break into. Describing the theater scene in Dublin, Walsh explains, “they were all Trinity College graduates and they were all about four or five years older than me, which seems a lot when you’re 19, and I just wasn’t smart enough or precocious enough.” He finally managed to find a job with an educational company in Cork that performed in schools. Incidentally, the Cork accent became an integral part of Walsh’s work. In 2011, he told theartdesk.com, “Cork people are great orators. They don’t talk so much as proclaim and they are very precise and eloquent.”


4. Enda Walsh generally completes a play in  3-4 weeks. While he does some light editing to his scripts, he never rewrites. Walsh explains in his interview with Theartsdesk.com, “I trust that I know what I’m doing in the moment that I’m writing – and it is whatever the f**k it is. I’m not writing to try and make a perfect play.”

[Colleen Ahern]