Interview with Jessie Keenan – Choreographer of Low Lying – Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival


We had the chance to talk to Jessie Keenan, choreographer of Low Lying, a new production in the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival which takes place at a secret location in the Docklands this week! You can see the results below.

Low Lying – Robbie Blake, Jessie Keenan and Ciara McKeon

Dates Sep 23 – 25 @ 14:00 & 16:00 – Tickets €14 / €12 conc.
Duration 60 mins – Venue: Meeting point at Spencer Dock Luas stop

Low Lying is being performed at a ‘secret location in the Docklands’. How do you go about getting permission to perform in such a venue? 

We tried to get access to quite a few different locations before we eventually found our perfect site. Originally we were looking for vacant lots in the docklands area but the difficulty of finding who actually owned the lot, and then locating the right person to speak to about it, proved to be a harder task than we’d imagined! On top of that there was also the unstable nature of doing a show in a venue that could get sold at any moment! That was a scary thought, so we took a slightly different route and…I shall say no more. You’ll just have to come along and see for yourself!

Productions such as this always have a sense of anticipation, with the audience stepping into the unknown. Is it important to keep the audience guessing?

We are interested in giving the audience time to take in what’s around them. When you know where you’re going you often don’t pay attention to your surroundings. While spending time in the Spencer Dock area researching this project, we noticed people are constantly in motion, going from destination to destination. We want to highlight this unusual cityscape and ask the audience to take in its strange landscape of shiny glass-cloaked buildings, wastelands of unused development sites and hoarding that all co-exist together.

Does the fact that it is not taking place in a traditional theatre alter the way the dancers will perform? 

Working outside of a traditional theatre set up brings wonderful things like beautiful light, interesting architecture and great acoustics. However it’s worth bearing in mind that toilets, dressing rooms, electricity, seating and a smooth sprung floor are definitely not a given! The space alters the choreography we make rather than the way the performers perform and in this way it becomes our eighth performer. Our company of 7 performers (including ourselves) are a mix of singers, Michelle O’Rourke and Rory Lynch, and dancers, Marion Cronin and Sarah Ryan. Our interdisciplinary mix has led us to think outside the box when approaching how to work in our site specific, non traditional space. We are filling the space with new vocal music, sculptural images and dynamic movement responding to and informed by the venue itself and the surrounding area.

This is a collaboration between yourself and Visual artist Ciara McKeon and composer Robbie Blake. How did it come about? 

An early version of Low Lying was commissioned by Dance Ireland in March 2015, as part of the Mind Your Step project, which included a performance trail through the Docklands and a symposium. Around the time of the call out for these submissions I met Ciara at one of my dance classes. Ciara’s practice focuses on live performance art and her performances have a strong relationship to physicality and dance. Robbie I knew firstly from being my boyfriend! And then also professionally from having worked together on a previous music and dance collaborative project. His practice explores the presentation of vocal music with interdisciplinary collaboration. The three of us had all seen the call out separately and because of our mutual interest in cross-disciplinary work we decided to apply as a team. After the success of the Mind Your Step project we wanted to continue working together and develop our collaborative creative practice, so we decided to make Low Lying into a full length show.

What else do you hope to see in the Fringe Festival? 

We saw Riot on Saturday night and it was amazing!! I think everyone needs to see it. My list for this week is – Monday: Watch Out for the Right! by Cláudia Dias, Briseis After the Black by Dylan Coburn Gray and The Aeneid by Collapsing Horse….this could be a bit ambitious with our own show opening on Friday but I’m still hoping it’s all possible!

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