MadonnaTribe meets playwright Tommy Kearney
MadonnaTribe readers were promptly informed a few months ago about Madonna & Me, a play written by Tommy Kearney that will debut in London in April 2007 at the Union Theatre in Southwark. Today we are happy to meet the playright himself for a nice chat that will bring our readers for the first time ever behind the scenes of this project.
MadonnaTribe: Hi Tommy and welcome to MadonnaTribe you are the author of Madonna & Me, a play set in a suburb of Liverpool at the time when Madonna was in the UK with her “Who’s that Girl World Tour” ‘ at London’s Wembley Stadium. How did the inspiration to write this play come to you and why did you choose Madonna as the element that bonds the characters?
Tommy Kearney: The play spans a number of years, from the present day back to 1984 when Madonna released Holiday. It then follows the characters for a number of years, but it’s condensed. I wrote the play, because it was I play I wanted to go and watch. Madonna was and still is very popular in my household and all my mates at home loved her. She was the person the girls all wanted to be like, so I used it and you’ll see the ultimate wannabe Paula, the fans will relate to her I’m sure.
MadonnaTribe: What Kind of Madonna fan are you?
Tommy Kearney: A huge fan, I’ve got an extensive collection of goodies and I’ve been to every tour in the UK and I’ve seen her in Madison Square Garden twice, but the best Madonna moment was being at the Brixton Academy gig. I was right at the front and it was amazing!
MadonnaTribe: Loyalty and Friendship are the main themes of the play. Why did you choose these themes and how did you explore them in the play?
Tommy Kearney: The play is a tale about a group of friends and it shows how the friends you have as a teenager are not necessarily the friends you have as an adult and why.
MadonnaTribe: You say that a simple song and video can change a person’s life, let’s discuss this fascinating concept and what is the Madonna song that changed your life?
Tommy Kearney: Well if I told you the answer to that, I’d spoil the play!
MadonnaTribe: The show is set in 1987 with Madonna touring with Who’s That Girl
show. Did you actually see the show in Wembley; what do you remember about it?
Tommy Kearney: The show passes through 1987 and the Who’s that girl tour features in the play. I did go to see the show on the 18th August 1987 at the old Wembley stadium with two friends. We traveled down on the midnight train from Liverpool and arrived at Wembley about 6am. Then we waited and queued for hours. We dashed across the Football pitch and arrived at the front. I’d never seen so many people before. It was huge! At the end of the show Madonna asked the audience for a comb. Then she combed her hair like I’d never seen anyone comb before, it was just so, so sexy!
MadonnaTribe: Do you have a favourite song from that tour?
Tommy Kearney: Yes, who’s that girl? I still love it today.
MadonnaTribe: Are the actors in the play fans of Madonna? Tell us more about them.
Tommy Kearney: If they aren’t they soon will be! Annmarie, who plays Paula is busy researching and has borrowed half of my collection! I think she’s wearing bows in her hair now and lots of bangles! All the actors are all from Liverpool, it’s a ‘Scouse’ play so I wanted an authentic ‘Scouse’ team. My director Pearl is from Liverpool too. It’s nice being with creative people from home who now live in the ‘Big Smoke!’
MadonnaTribe: Madonna can now be considered a cultural icon that has been standing out there for almost 3 decades. What is, according to you, the main quality that allows Madonna to be such an iconic figure that has the ability to put people together, as it happens in your play.
Tommy Kearney: She just appeals to the masses and always has! I think anyone who crosses cultural and racial boundaries like Madonna brings people together and I think she loves that and respects it and that’s why the public loves her.
The gay community loves her because she’s always stood up for them. The Men love her because she’s just so sexy and women like her because they see a strong woman with a great taste in clothes and now a great Mother. As an example of her appeal to different generations I’d like to tell you this, a couple of years ago I bought a fancy dress chest for my niece. It had various costumes, like fairies and clowns. My sister asked her if she wanted to wear the petal fairy dress, her response was, ‘No! I want to be a Cow Girl like Madonna!’ You see I think it runs in the family! Her mother wanted to be like Madonna and then she does!
MadonnaTribe: What is the moral behind your play and what is the lesson to be learned from “Madonna & Me”.
Tommy Kearney: Love thy neighbour. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
MadonnaTribe: Many of our readers from the UK will be surely coming to see the play, what would say to them?
Tommy Kearney: Well a big thank you for coming along to see the play, I do appreciate the support. Please buy a program so I can raise money for ‘Raising Malawi’ and also bring your friends. They don’t have to be a Madonna fan to enjoy the play, you never know, they might find a little bit of you in the characters!
MadonnaTribe: To end this interview, how would you describe Madonna using just one word?
Tommy Kearney: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Check out more at www.madonna-and-me.co.uk.
Thanks to Tommy Kearney