What’s In A Name

Character names are very important to me when writing a play and I have come up with some names over the years, which, although they mightn’t have made it to a christening, I am very proud of nonetheless.
I remember when I was writing my first three-act play ‘The Maiden Aunt’ back in 1999, struggling to find a name for the aunt herself. I think she was originally to be called Jane O’Toole, but I felt that that didn’t have enough bite to it. So, I was in Buckley’s Supermarket in Mullingar one evening – when it had a small cafe attached – and was having a cup of tea there when the name Gertie O’Grady suddenly came into my head. I thought it had a ring to it. And so the maiden aunt became Gertie O’Grady and Jane O’Toole became one of her friends, who is just mentioned in passing.
Other names which I have been especially happy with over the years include: Winnie Rabbitte, the priest’s housekeeper in ‘Here Comes The Bride’ (probably my favourite); Maisie Looney, the husband-seeker in ‘Love Thy Neighbour’; Justin Tweedy, the sensitive director in ‘Too Close To Home’; Lucy Lacey in ‘The Two Loves of Gabriel Foley; Florrie Hackett in ‘Out Of The Frying Pan’; Aubrey Peacock, the poet in ‘Fortunes and Misfortunes; and Blaise Curtin, an obnoxious actor in ‘Here Comes The Bride’.
Sometimes the character’s name hits me straight away; other times it takes a lot longer, but it’s worth the effort in the end..

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