What a joy it is to open one’s email and find ‘Hey, want to make some theatre?’
Ok…it may not have been phrased in that exact way but some weeks ago, during a time where I was eager to get my teeth stuck into an interesting project, I received an email out of the blue that seemed to hear my cry. The email was marked “AD” and was from Maeve Stone whom I had worked with the previous year on Pan Pan’s Everyone is King Lear in is Own Home. Maeve was someone I had hoped to work with again as I felt we shared similar attitudes towards theatre and I really admired her creative approach. She asked if I would be interested in being her assistant director on a ‘site-specific/non traditional’ piece based on Strindberg’s The Red Room and I didn’t need to be asked twice.
The adventure began…
In our first meeting, Maeve informed me of her growing interest in Scandinavian drama and culture and what drew her to this particular text.
Having not read the novel before, she explained the central ideas, and I was immediately struck by how relevant the piece was within an Irish context today, exploring themes such as unemployment, corruption and the crisis of identity. I was especially interested in her choice to work on a Strindberg text, with the emphasis on dreams being central to the work. This would allow for a more surrealist and experimental exploration of the text, something I think was important to both Maeve and I from the beginning of the process.
During our initial conversations, we discussed the importance of finding the right space (a difficult task), and how this space would ultimately inform and shape what the piece would become. One Wednesday afternoon, we visited some spaces and went on what seemed like a manhunt to find the guy who knew the guy who knew the girl who might have a number for that guy who possibly had connections to that office. Rest assured, it all worked out in the end!
What excited me most about this project was Maeve’s adamancy that she didn’t want to rush the process, but instead give it space and time to breathe. While our first showing will be a work in progress in January, the adventure will hopefully continue late into next year. I believe that giving a piece the time to grow is one of most crucial elements of creating new work and I am excited to see how the seed of this idea will morph and change during the development process. Only time will tell…
Watch this space.