Bad Horses
by Martin Murray

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An inexperienced ranch hand tries to get hired at a cowboy’s horse stables. But the horses here aren’t like regular horses. These horses are… bad!




Martin Murray is a writer based in New York City. He received his MFA in playwriting from Columbia University. His original screenplay Miranda won a Columbia Blue List screenwriting award. Vangelis Films released his feature film Sleepaway Slasher, which he co-directed, in 2020. His debut as a screenwriter The Power of Positive Murder! is in pre-production with director Lloyd Kaufman and Troma Entertainment and is set to film in the summer of 2024.  Martin was a Playwriting Fellow at Shanghai Theater Academy, where his play 360 Owl Head was produced and published in Mandarin. Martin also worked as a teaching artist at Greene Middle and High School as part of The Twilight Zone Project in association with Binghamton University. Martin acted as a dramaturg and line producer for Narcissus: An Ancient Roman Pantomime, a live television/theatre event presented by PBS-WSKG.  Martin worked as a staff writer with The Wondrous, Inc.




When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

I had always been a writer ever since I was a little kid. I started writing by drawing little comic books in my notebooks at school. Eventually the dialogue boxes got bigger and bigger and the drawings themselves got smaller and smaller, before I abandoned the drawing part altogether and just kept the words.


How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

In March 2020, like everyone else on earth, my world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I was weeks away from starting rehearsals for my MFA playwriting thesis at Columbia University, and we had fully cast the play only two days before the New York City lockdown went into effect.

The silver lining of the time was ZOOM sprouting up and taking over, and I was able to take some online writing workshops to stay sane. Bad Horses came out of a comedic sketch writing workshop. It was originally only 2-3 pages long, but the premise stayed in my mind, and I kept wanting to revisit it. I punched up the sketch outline into a full 10-minute play, and every couple months I would go back to revisit it and tweak it, until it evolved into the version being presented at OOB 49.


What are five words that describe who you are as a playwright?

Writing, itself, is the blessing.


What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

My parents, my brother and sister.
My uncle, Tommy.
My friends. The people I grew up with.
My teachers.
The people I love.

Whenever I write a new play, I’m always surprised to hear how many of their voices are present.
I can’t escape their influence, nor do I want to.


What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

I have multiple forms of synesthesia.


What are some of your favorite plays?

True West & Fool For Love by Sam Shepard;
Killer Joe by Tracy Letts;
The Receptionist by Adam Bock;
Yellow Face by David Henry Hwang;
The Aliens by Annie Baker;
Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin;
Fabulation & By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage;
Blood Wedding & Yerma by Federico Garcia Lorca;
Mud & Drowning by Maria Irene Fornes;
Rimers of Eldritch & Balm in Gilead by Lanford Wilson
God’s Ear by Jenny Schwartz;
The Homecoming & Celebration by Harold Pinter


Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

Yes! My debut as a screenwriter is a film titled The Power of Positive Murder! It is very loosely adapted from the novel Crime & Punishment by Dostoyevsky. It’s currently in pre-production and is set to film in August 2024 with director Lloyd Kaufman and Troma Entertainment.

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