‘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

 

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