‘Have the courage to be seen …’ so says Will O’ Reilly

Will O'Reilly

Will O’Reilly

Self confessed FEEDER and top soup chef at Betelnut Café at Draíocht, Will O’Reilly, shares his thought’s on ‘Eternal Rising of the Sun’ …
Gina Devine, the outspoken, shape-throwing heroine of HotFORTheatre’s ‘Eternal Rising of the Sun’, is unhappy. Tormented by an abusive father, struggling through a teenage pregnancy and inheriting an idiotic boyfriend, Gina finds solace at the back of a local contemporary dance class. Her struggle to keep up with teacher Anton’s instructions illustrates her steely determination, a determination that has kept her afloat in a difficult life so far and she spares us nothing as she imparts her disturbing tale with humour, strength and poignancy.

 

I was fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of Amy Conroy, the actor/writer behind this powerful piece of theatre, during its rehearsal stage at Draíocht, whenever she popped out to me for (a much needed, I’m guessing!) coffee. Her modesty and soft Kerry accent belied the incredibly resilient, and uniquely Dublin, character that she, alongside director Veronica Coburn, were creating on a daily basis over the summer of 2011. With my interest piqued after our conversations, I went along to one of its earliest performances at the Dublin Fringe Festival. Words failed me after the stage went dark at the end of Gina’s account and I soon realised that I wasn’t alone. A stunned audience momentarily silenced by Amy Conroy’s powerful performance and trying to process what they had all laid witness to, leapt to a rapturous ovation.

 

I won’t lie to you; this is an incredibly upsetting play, difficult to watch at times but impossible not to. Gina, however, is a natural born story teller and she laces her account with a wicked sense of humour and some neat dance moves to boot. There is redemption, albeit difficult to swallow and an awareness that comes to Gina through the title of this piece.

‘Eternal Rising of the Sun’ has stayed with me long after its curtain fell, and the fate of Gina (and all the ‘Gina’s out there) have niggled at the back of my head ever since. Gina’s story needs our ‘courage to be seen’ and I look forward to its return to Draíocht.

 

- Will O’Reilly, Blanchardstown, May 2013