Interview with Timmy Creed – Spliced – Dublin Fringe Festival
We had the chance to talk to Timmy Creed, writer/ performer of Spliced at the Dublin Fringe Festival. We asked him about his new play, which is set in a handball alley on Green Street. We asked him about the difficulties of the location and what inspired the play itself. You can see the results below.
“In a handball alley between three concrete walls, a conversation is taking place between a hurler, an artist and a musician. Timmy is contemplating life outside the institution that raised him: the GAA. Must he go back to fully understand? Why are emotions suppressed for a stronger exterior? Can we talk about this? A new show written and performed by Timmy Creed with visual artist David Mathúna and electronic musician Chris Somers. Directed by Gina Moxley.”
Spliced – Dublin Fringe Festival – Sept 20th – 24th – St. Michan’s Park, Green Street
I must have walked past Green street a hundred times and never noticed the handball alley. Are there other ones dotted around the city centre that I’ve equally missed?
The one on Green Street is probably the most exposed in the city centre. There is a really nice old mossy one in the grounds of St. Patrick’s Hospital that is well worth a look. There is another one behind the fire station in Dolphins Barn that is used as a car park now. I was told there was one in UCD and by Guinness Store House, but both seemed to be gone when I went looking for them. I spent a few days walking around and when I saw the one in Green Street I knew I had found the perfect stage.
How do you go about getting permission to perform in a handball alley? Who do you have to approach?
We were lucky that Dublin City Council look after the one on Green Street and they have close relations with Dublin Fringe which made things easier. I spoke to DCC initially before I applied to the Fringe and they seemed to be interested in the project from day one. This handball alley is in fact owned privately by a man named Ed, who we still haven’t had the chance to meet, but DCC look after it on his behalf. We are honoured to be the first event taking place in this particular space.
The logistics must be a nightmare with no electrical sources for lighting, sound equipment etc. Is it more or less challenging than you imagined?
I won’t lie, it is a challenge. We nearly decided to have the show take place in a theatre due to the logistical challenges. I had always imagined it taking place in a handball alley, and after several meetings with the team we decided we had to take the leap of faith. One of the major obstacles was treating the sound in the space. Due to the nature of the material of the walls, there is lots of bounce and reverberation happening at strange frequencies. We will be working with a very experienced sound engineer Canice Mills who will be instructed on time delays and frequencies. The show will have to go up and come down every night also which is logistically a nightmare. We will be erecting two screens for projections, fitting lights and speakers, and setting seating and backup marquees for audience members. If it rains the show will be very interesting, challenging, and beautiful. We hope it doesn’t. The park at St. Michan’s is known for interesting faces at night which will add some atmosphere to the surrounding streets. We will have a security guard on board to ensure things run smoothly. The big challenge is ahead of us in the week of the run.
This is a collaboration with visual artist David Mathúna and composer Chris Somers. How will it work, is it a play with music and images?
I think it is a piece of live art myself. There is a text, there is music and there are visuals. We have developed the piece together over 9 months and each medium drives different parts of the story. I will be the only performer on the stage, and David and Chris will be performing live behind the audience. There will be moments where each one of us performs independently of the other two and then collectively as a three.
This piece aims to start a conversation about ‘Identity and mental health in the GAA’. Do you think there’s a particular problem in the GAA community, or is it more about Irish men?
I think the GAA has a very fixed identity. It teaches a particular type of behaviour in young men and women that is accepted and understood within the community. People and behaviours outside the community are often viewed as different and strange and barriers are put up. A neighbouring parish can often be seen to have a different set of values based on GAA rivalry. The more we challenge the identities we cling to the more rounded our experiences can be. I think Irish men are incredibly interesting. Outside of Irish speaking communities, I think that we don’t celebrate Irish-ness like we could. There is a deep wildness inherent in Irish people that is often confused with 6 pints of looser talk and shouting and leaping around. Unlike other countries and cultures that use dance and song to inhabit and express their identities, I think lots of us hide behind our true Irish-ness. That freer, wilder, expressive side that’s waiting to burst out of us. Similarly, on one level the GAA celebrates Irish culture as it is an ancient game, but I feel nowadays the game is more of an expression of competitiveness, strength and dedication rather than Irish-ness. I would love to see GAA clubs and teams act as men’s groups where spaces are created for people to feel that it is okay to talk about whatever it is they wish to. The spaces are there, we just need some more voices.
Gina Moxley is the director of this piece. She has been responsible for some of the major hits from the Fringe in recent years, such as ‘How to keep an Alien’ and ‘Solpadine is my boyfriend’. How would you describe her directorial style?
Gina is brilliant. She is direct and very clear about what is bullshit and what is truth. She said to me recently how the audience have truth antennae and when it’s not true, they know it straight up. She has been really helpful with the writing in steering me in certain paths and focusing the style. I cannot say for sure about her directorial style because we start rehearsals on Monday. Her help so far has been inspiring and I have no doubt she is the same as a director. Looking forward to getting stuck in.
What’s your prediction for the GAA Football final? Will Mayo beat the curse?
I really hope it’s Mayo. Their fans and players deserve something for the role they play in the All-Ireland every year. Dublin will be hard to beat but the west is coming this I think. The west for the double!