Galway Fringe Winner 'Men At Play' Embarks On Galway And Dublin Tour

A humorous, thought-provoking and moving play called ‘Men At Play’, which explores the performativity of masculinity amongst gay and straight men, and won BEST THEATRE PRODUCTION AWARD at Galway Fringe Festival, embarks on tour of Galway and Dublin.

Men At Play

Men At Play, which premiered at the Galway Fringe Festival on July 23rd and ran for three nights at the Columban Hall, winning the Best Theatre Production Award, is embarking on a tour of Dublin and Galway from November 2 to 10 2018. It is a writing and directing debut for the playwright Brian Burns, who lives between Kinvara, Co. Galway and Dublin.

Men At Play Writer Brian Burns
Playwright Brian Burns

The principal theme of the play is the performativity of masculinity and the difficulties all men – gay or straight – face, in living up to the ideals of the gender inscribed upon them at birth, and reinforced by their families and society. The main characters, Fergus and Fionn are brothers – one gay and one straight. They’ve grown up in a rural Irish family with an alcoholic father who perpetuates toxic masculinity and berates them for not performing his idea of what a man should be, and a loving mother who always tries to see the best in every situation.

This amiable duo tries to make sense of the masculinity assigned to them, by enacting poignant and sometimes conflicting memories from their rural Irish upbringing, playing multiple characters, in both naturalistic and non-naturalistic theatre styles, incorporating a humorous and tender medley of storytelling, movement, dance and song. The play also deals with father-son relationships, mother-son relationships, mental health issues and loss. These themes are explored with great humour and tenderness, provoking thought, laughter and a few tears.

Men At Play

The play was described by Charlie McBride, journalist with the Galway Advertiser, as a ‘must see’:

“Burns gets full mileage out of the ways in which his play’s title can be read. The characters are aware of being in a play and often address the audience directly; there is an engaging sense of playfulness in how the story is rendered as it deploys a range of theatre styles, movement and dance, and it also projects the idea that masculinity itself is a type of performance ranging across the spectrum from macho to camp. And even though Fergus might be said to be the main character this never feels like a ‘gay-centric’ drama as it shows equal insight and interest in all the shades of that male spectrum. ”

For Galway tickets, visit

For Dublin tickets, visit

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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