Arthur’s attempts to dig his way toward a better future

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Bulldozing through the crash: Declan Mills as the titular character in Arthur's Dig, the one man play that comes to 69 O'Connell Street on Friday, February 13. See www.limetreetheatre.ie for details
A NEW play utilising the construction industry crash as a backdrop to one man’s failed attempts to build his own house is coming to 69 O’Connell Street.

A NEW play utilising the construction industry crash as a backdrop to one man’s failed attempts to build his own house is coming to 69 O’Connell Street.

Arthur’s Dig, written by Mark Wale and performed by Declan Mills with direction by Tara Derrington, has been winning rave reviews in the short time it has been performed.

Declan, who plays Arthur and ten other characters in a one man tour-de-force performance, worked on the story with Wale to deliver a taut one hour piece.

The play documents one man’s epic struggle to bulldoze through the crash and build his own future, Mills explains.

“Arthur is basically a guy who decides to build his own house after losing everything he has,” says Mills, who had a role in George Clooney’s film The Monuments Men in 2014.

“It is basically the story of one man’s efforts and how disillusioned you can become when we are fixed on these external things. It is essentially a story building a home together from scratch and the guy just goes off his head,” he laughs.

Arthur and his wife Jenny set up camp in a field gifted to them as a wedding present, their sole remaining possession, to build the house. It doesn’t go well, needless to say, but Mills warns that the piece “it is not by any means depressing”.

“It is a redemptive story,” he says.

“There is an element of the construction industry in the story. The external structure of the story is borne out of that but you quickly realise that it just a layer of it.

“Building something is like writing a play or a movie, you pour your heart and soul into it and for every triumph and little victory that you come across, there is another even larger obstacle you never thought of in front of you.”

Mills’ performance has been hailed as “energetic” and “stunning” and he agrees that while demanding, it is great fun to play so many roles at once.

“Yeah, it is. I love Arthur, I really do, I think he is a such a great guy. If I was starting it again I would probably do a two hander and have Jenny there beside me,” he says.

“It is a great joy to be able to do this - I wasn’t hired on to do this, it is something that we have cultivated ourselves, so we pleased ourselves, or we tried to, from the very beginning. So if it wasn’t a joy, if it wasn’t good craic - I wouldn’t do it.”