In The Shadow Of The Black Dog
By Daniel Hallissey
An endearing, raw comedy, the story takes place in the present, while the narrative includes flashbacks that inform the audience of significant events from his past and the motivations that lead Alquist to challenge his beliefs about what it means to be a man in today’s world.
The catalysts for writing IN THE SHADOW OF THE BLACK DOG are BASED ON TRUE EVENTS. My best friend died. Soon after, I became ill and was sitting in a hospital emergency room, alone and scared believing I wouldn’t have long to live. I felt unable to call anyone for support to be with me. Months later, I was chased down by two men on a moped, wielding knives, threatening to kill me and I narrowly escaped. After the experience of these events a thought has stayed with me I haven’t been able to shift: I don’t know if I can save myself. I eventually reached out to my mates and found we were all harboring the same fears about being a man or not a good enough one.
This story is about confronting fear, embarrassment and pain, learning it doesn’t work if we keep avoiding the root causes and staying quiet. We can’t just put on a mask and convince ourselves everything will be OK. The way to break this cycle of hurt and suffering and to be able to move on is to be willing to ask questions, address the underlying reasons for our unhappiness and engage with others so we can better understand ourselves. Only then can a better life be possible, as we stop trying to survive each day and start to live.
Writer / Performer
Christopher D Clegg
Set / Costume / Lighting Designer
All The Pigs
Ages 15+, Strong language, sexual references
"That pretty much was sixty minutes of perfection."
"The honesty behind Hallissey’s words is incredibly moving: Hallissey’s play proves itself to be a raw piece of storytelling."
Beth Blakemore, the wee Review
"Hallissey knows how to craft a good line, whether it be a mid-coitus quip or acute observations on the codependence of life and death, and the human condition."
Adam Coles, Auditorium Magazine
"The whole show felt like an intimate chat with your best mate. At moments, you felt like laughing and crying at the same time. A thought-provoking and exciting piece of theatre."
Emily Morris, The Spy in the Stalls
"The show is an honest, and important, contribution to the public discourse on male mental health. A brave exercise in self-exploration, and could prove the useful conversation starter it hopes to be."
Harriet Wilson, The Scottish Play
"In The Shadow of The Black Dog is an intimate, challenging piece that is not afraid to ask the questions that are often quick to be avoided."
Joe Lawrence, Theatre Weekly
"Visceral in performance, In The Shadow of the Black Dog is innately human in response to loss. Profoundly personal, with an important goal."
Dominic Corr, The Skinny
"The play's messages about reaching out, talking things through and not suffering in silence, ring out loud and clear. An engaging show that reveals the deeper vulnerabilities of an outwardly confident male."
Chris Omaweng, LondonTheatre 1
"With suicide being the biggest killer of men under 50, In The Shadow Of The Black Dog, is clearly an important show."
Oluwatayo Adewole, Voice Mag
Industry Feedback on the Script
“I really enjoyed ‘In the Shadow of the Black Dog’ and found it dark, stylish, funny and it’s consistently interesting and entertaining”
Owen Lewis, Director
“You kept the drama moving swiftly and the dialogue was really readable. You’ve written a deeply flawed, but charismatic central character.”
Gillian Greer, Senior Reader, National Theatre
“The writing is clever, witty and develops at a good pace. The situations are in turns moving and entertaining, created through an accomplished voice. As such it is an impressive and promising play.”
George Turvey and Chris Foxon, Papatango Theatre Company
“Funny, honest and really moving.”
Francis Grin, Playwrite
“Funny, engaging, raw, brutally honest and a piece that has great potential as it is so relevant and current.”
Belinda Lang, Actress and Director
“Really great script, bravo.”
Greg Mosse, Writer & Director
“Daniel is an extremely thoughtful and brave writer of intelligence and wit, with intense honesty and humour, deftly pin-pointing recognisable and topical human traits and failings. He does not shy away from revealing aspects of himself in his work and drawing on personal experience. He shows a passion, combined with logic, for the art of story-telling which I have never witnessed before and I look forward to seeing what other stories he tells in the future. A solid script. Funny, engaging, heartfelt and raw. I loved it”
Libby Brodie, Producer, Libby Brodie Productions
“The script is brilliant. Intelligent writing. Great character. Well structured. It’s a strong story that raises important issues”
Annabel Bolton, Director
“The story is very moving and had my heart racing at points”
Hannah Tookey, Producer
"Really engaging. There were a few one-liners/turns of phrase that had me laughing, and I liked the way you deferred the action, and emotional pay off enough for the events to feel surprising as they came up."
John O'Donovan, Nick Hern Books
"The writing throughout has a raw, emotional undercurrent offset by a comic impulse that frequently finds expression in self-deprecation. This is typical of an instinct to sniff out moments of pathos and explore this man’s anguish with a combination of severity and levity."
Let's make festivals go flyerless.
Last year the Ed Fringe highlighted, in 2018 there were over 3500 shows. Most companies order on average for the festival 10,000 flyers, to hand out to promote their shows. Combined, that works out at 546 trees. Just for the Edinburgh Fringe. Now think of all the festivals around the world and not just the arts.
All The Pigs are leading the way to change this.
Not only have we printed our show on jumpers, but we have also created a QR code you can scan with your phone’s camera and instantly a link will appear sending you to our shows booking and information page for Assembly at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This saves paper, waste, trees, is environmentally friendly and sustainable. It also cost the same amount spent to buy 10,000 flyers.
It's a revolution in promoting. It encourages interaction by engaging potential audience members in conversation. This flyer works on most social media platforms as well. All The Pigs are the first Theatre Company to champion this idea, for others to follow and change the way we think about promoting shows at festivals around the world.
Look at the Glastonbury Festival 2019 with the ban on single-use plastic bottles. If theatre festivals were to turn around and say no flyering or recyclable paper only, it would make creatives become creative in changing their strategy and approaches to selling their show.
All The Pigs champion this idea, for others to follow and change the way we think about promoting shows at festivals around the world. We want to campaign and champion festivals to stop the use of flyers.
Below is how we can achieve this. With any modern smartphone, hover your camera over and click on the link that comes up. Our show's details will come up on your phone. No waste, no hassle, no problems.