Who is Honor Molloy?
I guess I’m a product of the cities I’ve lived in: New York City; Allentown, PA; Dublin.
Born in the Rotunda Hospital—Europe’s oldest maternity hospital—I grew up in a lively theatre family. Artists, journalists, actors, musicians, even The Dubliners, gathered round the fire for parties in the teeny stable that my father had converted to a mews. This paradise came to an end as what my mother called “The Troubles” arrived at our door. The drink drove us out of Ireland and my American mother brought us home. Allentown was a dreary place in the 70s. It was alienating and I only wanted to escape. So, I studied all forms of art, fostering my discipline, ready for the day I could start my real life somewhere else.
I came to New York to attend the NYU Graduate Acting Program. As a result of that I embarked on a decade of producing and performing in my own work in the small theatres of the East Village, the Lower East Side, and SoHo. At the same time, a group of actors founded The Working Theater—a company dedicated to making play-going a regular part of working people’s cultural lives. I got swept up in their mission and became the development director, writing grants, as well as reading all the plays that came in the door. I often thought, “I could write a better play.” So I went off to graduate school to study with Paula Vogel at Brown. This led to Brecht and to the Royal Court in London and to a more political approach to playwriting. Back in New York after grad school, I thrived in the company of theatre people—a highlight of this time was a residency at New Dramatists.
I spent ten years working with Simon & Schuster Audiobooks, immersing myself in storytelling, meeting actors, producers, writers, and publishing professionals. I started writing a memoir which eventually became the autobiographical novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage. Once published, I discovered New York’s Irish American community and have come to terms with that kid who left Dublin all those years ago—washing up in the cultural wasteland that is Allentown.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m writing the first draft of the book for an Opera / New Music Theatre Work that I’m developing with Composer / Performer Corey Dargel. This piece concerns three patients confined to a long-term psychiatric ward and their psychiatrist. Each patient believes she is Christ. This piece examines the brain, memory, and what constitutes personality.
Do you have upcoming events you’d like people to attend?
World of Words: Queens
April 12th 3 – 5pm
LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
31-10 Thomson Ave,
Long Island City, NY 11101
Who are the writers / playwrights, past and present, you admire?
Sam Beckett, Caryl Churchill, Jim Cartwright, Ntozake Shange, Tennessee Williams, Sebastian Barry, Maeve Brennan, Maura Laverty, Sarah Waters, Sarah Atkinson, Alice Munro, Zadie Smith, John Cheever, Frank Conroy, and, of course, Shakespeare
Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
My mother, Yvonne Voight Molloy, for being a mighty spirit and getting us out of Ireland.
Name five things you’d like to do or accomplish in the next five years.
Five is too many for me, so I’ll do two:
See The Three Christs in production
Write Naked Allentown – a collection of stories about my childhood in Allentown
If you could dream of trying something in the arts you haven’t tried, but would like to, what would it be?
O, to be a visual artist. I have always been jealous of artists and their paintings, sculptures, and installations.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Reading and running. In that order.
Honor Molloy reading “Up Went Nelson”
18 Replies to “SPOTLIGHT ON AUTHOR/PLAYWRIGHT HONOR MOLLOY”
Honor is a great artist, reader, writer.
She is a real smarty girl.
Not to mention a party girl (in a good way!).
She is generous and humorous.
And married to Joseph Good-a-rich.
Ahhhh, Seamus Scanlon. You are toooo kind. Thanks! xo–h.
Great interview, Honor. Lovely to see the spotlight on you and your fine work. Well deserved, as you’re (always) such a generous supporter of others and their work. Your “Three Christs” project sounds fascinating.
I wish you oodles of luck with it.
Thanks, Connie. It’s so good to be in the same room with you. The poetry and your love of words is palpable. xox-h.
Thanks, Mister H. xo–h.
Honor is totally cool, and I’m not saying that just so I can read it back to myself.
Mzzzzz Finnegan is totally cooool, tooo! xo–h.
The little oranges. It’s a phrase that has been bouncing around in my head since I first heard Honor read that story of hers. And who wouldn’t want a reader/writer to do more if they’ve heard that story? No one I know.
Excellent interview! I first met Honor at the Our Land Festival in 2012 and bought “Smarty Girl”. I was hooked. Through her kindness I was introduced and welcomed to the Irish-American Writers and Artists salons and ultimately Artists Without Walls. Can’t thank her enough. It has been a great ride, and the talented Honor is always there supporting other artists. We are all fortunate to know her.
I can still remember you approaching the table and not being sure if you should read Smarty Girl–but you did and you joined this generous community. I’m so glad that you did! xo–h.
Honor is a true artist. Just being in her presence is a source of energy and inspiration. She also hangs with Joe Goodrich, one of the smartest, coolest, insightful cats I know. A double blessing to have the friendship of Honor & Joe!
Thank you, Pedro. No small-fry in yerself. XOX–h.
Hey, Mah Woooman,
Haitch has been a dear aul pal since 1988, and it’s no secret to me how gifted and-more than that -damned great company and a generous spirit-she is.
You’re a oneova, Babe. It IS Babe, inn’t it?
Ahhhh, Peege. Thanks so much for your wrap-up of our glorious, adventurous (Italy, anyone?), and hilarious friendship. Love–Honor
Very glad to read this wonderful interview, Honor, and to learn that we share, in addition to love of the word, a few things in common. I grew up in Wilkes-Barre, PA–the same kind of place as Allentown, only bigger–and couldn’t wait to get out. Nothing like a bleak, poor, scarred, alienating landscape as a source of motivation! I look forward to the future projects you describe!
Angela, I loved your Spotlight On . . . interview too. So many fine thoughts about poetry–very inspiring. Can’t wait to hear you read again, very soon. xo–h.
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