“Sick is about what happens at the end of love. It’s a play about isolation and care-giving. It’s a play about family and reversing roles. When fantasy is the only release and life is hell, how can you drag yourself back to reality? And what will reality mean to you? “Didn’t mean to scare her. I think I just wanted her to recognise me. I’ve been a stranger here for over a week”. Crude Mechanics present a play about the pressures of reality and seduction of fantasy.”
We had a chance to interview Áine Ní Laoghaire who plays Orla in Sick. You can find the results below…
In your role in this play, you are a Caregiver looking after your mother. This sounds a challenging role?
Yes, it definitely is. The play itself is a challenging piece of work, as an actor, and as it’s Orla is the driving force behind the action, there was a real need to find all the nuances of her reality. No one is just a caregiver, or defines themselves in that way alone, so for me it became about trying to understand Orla, and how her role as a caregiver affects her view of herself, and of her world.
Has it given you a deeper understanding of the role of Caregivers?
It’s given me a huge insight into the daily realities of being a caregiver. It’s not a role anyone could undertake lightly, and yet people do, willingly and lovingly every day. So while I would be slow to say I have a deeper understanding of the role, I have nothing but respect for the people who choose to caregive.
Did you do much research into Caregivers before taking on the part?
We did quite a bit of research as a cast. There are cast members with relations who suffer from dementia, who very generously shared their personal experiences and stories which was hugely informative. There was a lot of documentary watching, and I’m still in the process of reading Iris by John Bayley, which is a heartbreaking book about the process of watching his wife, Iris Murdoch suffer through her dementia.
Is it difficult to introduce humour into a play on this topic, or can you find humour in anything in life?
Ideally you can find humour in anything in life, but I’ll admit at times we struggled! No, one of the things our research really uncovered was how cheerful so many Alzheimers sufferers can be, and how many of them retain their sense of humour. Deirdre Monaghan, who plays Ruth, did a fantastic job of really teasing that out in her performance, and we worked hard to find a sense of connection and warmth between this mother and daughter relationship.
Your character escapes to a fantasy world in this work. Can you tell us more?
Let’s just say Orla has an interesting interior life….. She uses her imagintion in the way any of us do, to pass time, to escape, to make life a little more entertaining.
Will you get to see any of the other productions in the festival? If so, which ones are you looking forward to?
In particular I am looking forward to seeing Pilgrim, directed by Aoife Spillane Hinks, starring Rex Ryan, Songs from a Car Park by Jessica Kennedy & John McIldof, and The Centre of the Universe by John Doran.. possibly the funniest man in Dublin.
With so much on around Dublin, are you concerned that people will be exhausted by the second week of the festival?
Absolutely not. Fringe goers know how to pace themselves. And with such exciting work happening the second week, people will be well prepared to Fringe it up.