Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Time to Murder and Create - A Short Story by David Butler - 2018

Irish Short Story Month - Year Ten

Click HERE to read “Time to Murder and Create” by David Butler.

In April 2013 David Butler kindly agreed to participate in a wide ranging Q and A session of which I am quite proud.

“Time to Murder and Create” depicts life in a small touring theatrical company.  There was a time when sucessful writers earned more from productions of their plays than their novels.  Somermat Maugham made a fortune from his plays. Yiddish writers like Shalom Aleichem, Sholem Ash, and I.L. Peretz were all very successful as playwrights.  Yiddish theater was produced by traveling theatrical companies.  (Yiddish Empire: The Vilna Troupe,Jewish Theater and The Art of Itinerancy by Debra Caplan is a very good book on the social life inside 
the Yiddish theater.)  

Butler’s story does for a traveling 21st Century  theatrical company what Sholem Aleichem’s novel Vanishing Stars did for the late 19th century Yiddish theater.  It shows us drama behind the dramas, the jealousies, romances, the production challenges and the sheer Love of the theaterical life.  

As “Time to Murder and Create” opens our narrator, who has been with the Hurley Burley Company for twelve seasons, tells us his role in the theatrical company.  Butler gives us a very good look behind the scenes and into the narrator’s personality.

“ You could say I run the show. Well sure, you nod. From a technical point of view. The lighting-guy gets the cues wrong or goes AWOL, the actors perform on a dark set. But that’s not what I mean. Any button-pusher can follow cues. Even in an amateur affair like ours where everyone multi-tasks, so that generally I double up as the sound-guy, it’s hardly rocket science. Of course, there is loading up the lighting-rig. And that takes up an entire morning. And there’s the gels, and gobos. Checking the wattage. The temperature. Fixing the barn-doors. Programming the control-panel so it pretty much runs itself. Again, it doesn’t exactly require a degree in engineering.
What it means, in the run up to a show, and even more for the couple of weeks we’re on the circuit, I don’t get the jitters the rest of them get.”

The theatrical group is led by an American, Bev Garner. The troupe preforms American classics such as The Crucible.  Most productions have four or five actors.  We see romances develop, the group is in their own world, traveling, working and living together can cause friction, sexual tension and more.  Butler really draws us into the company.

A lot happens in this brief, marvelous story.  I have left out the best parts for you to discover.  

“David Butler is a novelist, playwright, poet and writer of short fiction. With a BA in Mechanical Engineering, the literary path could initially seem a peculiar ambition for an ostensibly numerical mind. The Renaissance man later became a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and speaks no less than five languages other than his mother tongue; French, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish and Russian. David may be the Jack of many trades, but is far from a ‘master of none’.
Over the years Butler has collected a cluster of gongs for his work including the Ted McNulty Prize (2001) and Brendan Kennelly Award (2002) for poetry, the Fish Short Story Award (2014), the Cork Arts Theatre (2015) accolade and has twice received the Maria Edgeworth Short Story Award.
David is perhaps best known for his novels The Judas Kiss (New Island, 2012) and City of Dis (New Island, 2014). Patrick McCabe wrote of the latter, ‘David Butler’s compelling mythic, metaphysical X-ray is beautifully written and ought to cement his growing reputation.’

David Butler lives in Bray, County Wicklow, with his wife and fellow author Tanya Farrelly.”  from The Gloss -

Butler’s website has links to other stories and interviews.

I hope to feature one more of Butler’s stories this month and look forward to following his work for numerous years.

Mel u


No comments: