Then it meant that you were a Protest Singer”
– Shakespeare’s Sister – The Smiths
This is an unusual piece of work by Theatre Club and is the third part of their trilogy about Ireland. History is the social history of a place over the course of the last 100 years. While a number of important things happened in this location, at the same time, it could be anywhere around Dublin as we are often told. It is an estate in Inchicore, a fourteen acre piece of land, which at one time housed the imprisoned 1916 revolutionaries and later became one of the most notorious social housing schemes in the capital.
As you enter the theatre, the band plays a loud guitar groove. The music is lead by Sean Millar, who has previously worked with the Brokentalkers, and he is well used to the Project stage. There are musical interludes throughout the evening, with two of the main actors, Ger Kelly and Barry O’Conor, joining Sean at the side of the stage to play guitars and other instruments.
We are soon introduced to the ideas and beliefs of the 1916 rising, the forefathers of this nation. The actors play various roles and later discuss the actions of the revolutionaries, flitting in and out of character. The structure of the play is unusual as it changes quickly between times, locations and formats. Some of the scenes are almost dance pieces, some are re enactments of actual events and some are events that could have happened. There are a number of discussions dotted through the piece, which are also scripted. The main focus of the play is on the estate at St. Michaels, a social housing project that has a number of high rise tower blocks. It charts the steady decline of the estate into a place where no one would like to live, due to a lack of investment from the council. I won’t ruin the finale of the piece other than to say, dress warm, as it may involve leaving the comfortable confines of the theatre and a ramble on the streets of the capital!
After my friend and I left the theatre last night, we initially talked about the play but then moved on to a quite broad discussion on the wider topics raised, dealing with how the issues were treated and whether we agreed with their various points of view. Does this mean they achieved what they set out to do? Hopefully so, but you’d have to ask them that!
History runs at the Project Arts Centre until December 22nd with tickets from €12/16
Read our interview with Ger Kelly here.
Written by Grace Dyas and devised by cast
Directed by Grace Dyas
Associate Director Louise White
Set Design by Doireann Coady
Musical Director Seán Millar
Music Composed by Ger Kelly, Seán Millar & Barry O’Connor
Video Artist Joe Lee
Lighting Design by Eoin Winning
Costume by Emma Fraser
Performed by Shane Byrne, Gerard Kelly, Lauren Larkin, Louise Lewis and Barry O’Connor
Produced by Aisling Murray
Production Manager Adam Fitzsimons
Stage Manager Tom Mullan