Kildare native Alice Farrell on Eternal Rising of the Sun

Alice Farrell, HotForTheatre fan and Kildare native

Alice Farrell                                              HotForTheatre fan and Kildare native

We asked HotForTheatre friend and Kildare native Alice Farrell to tell us about her experience of seeing Eternal Rising of the Sun. Here’s what she had to say:

Gina Devine is a hard chaw.  If you are one to cross the street on seeing tough customers dead ahead, she will have you skipping out into traffic without waiting to look both ways.  But what you’ll realise within about ten minutes of getting to know her is that her circumstances and her experiences to date have created this harsh version of herself.  Too much of her life has been spent hearing that she is hopeless and that she should cop on, too little spent hearing anything positive about herself at all. 

We meet her at a point where the little good in her life seems cruelly outnumbered by all that’s not, but then she reveals something that might just tip the balance, if only she could get enough of a chance.  Gina wants to dance.  That this is an affront to most around her is just one more obstacle that she’s going to have to deal with.  She’s working on her moves and trying to ignore the haters, both a combination of difficult steps.

I’m a little bit scared of Gina, but I’m impressed by her too.  At different moments you will want to shout at her, run away from her, console her, shake her, reassure her and maybe even despair of her, but you’ll find it almost impossible not to care about her.  Once we see past her tough nut exterior and learn more about Gina’s life, the realisation that we are all a fair bit more than the sum of our parts will nudge even the most judgemental.  For anyone that has felt the sneers and the jeers and went on and did it anyway, Gina’s dancing this one for you.

Alice Farrell, April 2013.

Book your tickets to see Eternal Rising of the Sun at the Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare on April 25th here 

Civic Theatre patron on Eternal Rising of the Sun

The Civic Theatre asked one of its loyal patrons, Darren Casey, to preview  “Eternal Rising of the Sun” in advance of its arrival at the Civic Theatre at 8pm Wednesday, 24th April, the opening of our national tour – HotForTouring.

Eternal Rising of the Sun at the Civic Theatre Tallaght, April 24th as part of HotForTouring 2013

Eternal Rising of the Sun at the Civic Theatre Tallaght, 8pm Wednesday April 24th as part of HotForTouring 2013

Please take some time to read his thoughts on the play:

‘I have just had the extreme pleasure of watching ‘Eternal Rising of the Sun’ – written by and starring Amy Conroy. This is a truly remarkable adaptation of an insight into one woman’s life. This poor woman had to deal with everything from sexual abuse, an abusive partner, trying to fit in and raising a mixed race child just for starters. Her trials, tribulations, highs and lows are something that can be seen within all walks of life in different ways throughout Ireland. If you have not lived part of it yourself, you will know someone who has.

Amy Conroy executes this role and all of the other characters with brilliance and she is a remarkable performer. She has a great memory and an even better artistic presence on stage not to mention some pretty nifty moves. She also has the ability to switch between characters flawlessly. Without giving too much away I have no doubt that everyone that goes to see this brilliant performance will identify with the main character and the complete story.

Whether you are 16 years or age or 116 years of age, you will be glued to your seat for this one, and it definitely should not be missed. It’s got something for everybody. I personally found it extremely funny with lots of humour, sadness, realism and a sense of wanting. I am really looking forward to seeing this performance live.’ – Darren Casey

Book your tickets here

Our first blogger – Manchán Magan

OURSELVES ON THE WORLD STAGE

as published in Magan’s World, The Irish Times, 2nd February 2013

CACIMT - Manchan Magan Clifden Castle 4

Manchán Magan, HotForTheatre Fan, travel writer, playwright and general great guy.

We are conscious of being ambassadors for our country when abroad, but what of the characterisations of ourselves that we send to perform on foreign stages? The Abbey and Druid regularly trot out melodramatic archetypes of old Ireland – the Bull McCabe, Pegeen Mike, Friel’s Ballybeg villagers – to entertain and supposedly represent us. These exaggerated, mythologised caricatures are hopefully not regarded as realistic by audiences, but even so, it would be nice to have more accurate, muted portrayals representing who we really are now. Fortunately, contemporary theatre is providing this.

Elegant little plays like Elaine Murphy’s Little Gem about three generations of Dublin women dealing with death, dildos and salsa classes now tour the world on our behalf – offering a more genuine and intimate view of us to sold-out audiences in New York, Paris and Australia through the support of Culture Ireland.

Amy Conroy’s play I Alice I about an elderly lesbian Dublin couple coming out to the world sold-out in Manhattan and had audiences crying in Reykjavík. Thanks to funding from Culture Ireland, it will soon tour the Antipodes, along with Amy’s other evocation of a Dublin life, Eternal Rising of the Sun. I’m intrigued to know how they will get on. Conroy’s character ‘Gina’ in Eternal Rising of the Sun is a track-suited unmarried mother with the hooped earrings and coiled slouch of inner city privation. The performance is eerily authentic. One senses every ecstasy pill she’s popped, every drunken fight, the abusive men and bitchy girlfriends. It is her ruthless honesty that makes the audience feel so strongly for her and want only the very best for her. We find ourselves plotting ways to reach out and help her. But Gina doesn’t need that. To her mortal embarrassment she has just completed a series of contemporary dance classes under the fluorescent glare of
the community centre, and while it was a tortuous experience it might just mark a new beginning.

Gina (in the guise of Conroy) will soon make her way to Perth and I can imagine no better ambassador for us. Conroy is also bringing I Alice I to Festivals at Brisbane, Auckland and Tasmania. The latter is really intriguing, as she is not performing in the capital, Hobart, but in 3 smaller towns including the clapperboard town-hall of Swansea, a remote settlement of 530 people, many living in crumbling colonial buildings and classic beachside shacks. From there, the play goes to a theatre in Deloraine (pop. 2,745) which caters for the outlaying ranches and farming stations and then on to a high school in Burnie on the North of the island.

I haven’t been to Tasmania, but my impression is of 1930s England in a wild landscape of wallabies, gum trees, possums and little penguins. A third of the island is national park, and beyond the capital, I imagine only remote settlements of brown, brooding 19th century buildings, tea shops with bustling Maggie Smith characters and their Colonel Blimp husbands and an engrained suspicion of the unorthodox.

My vision might be as inaccurate a representation as the Bull McCabe is of Ireland today, but either way it’ll be a surprise for them to get to meet the two elderly Dublin woman, Alice Kinsella and Alice Slattery at the heart of I Alice I, and share in their tender and courageous account of their secret life. Asthey clutch nervously at their knitwear and try occasionally to make eye contact with the audience, the two Alices manage to reveal their unlikely love story, an unflinching account of shopping routines, holidays together, arguments, the infidelity that threatened their relationship and the simple furtive kiss in Crumlin Shopping Centre that propelled them on this confessional journey around the world.

While these intimate shows mightn’t have the mega-wattage to sell out Broadway or the West End, it is their humble, compact nature that allows them the opportunity to wind their way into remote community halls around the world where they can entertain and engage audiences, while also updating people perceptions of Ireland one community at a time.

For more of Manchán’s writing visit manchan.com