Interview with Maria Tivnan – Director of You Could Be Us
We got the chance to ask Maria some questions about the new Fregoli production ‘You Could Be Us’ which opens at Smock Alley main space next Monday (Nov 20th 2017). We asked her about life in a small theatre company in Ireland and about the new production. You can see the results below…
You Could Be Us – Smock Alley – Nov 20th and 21st
I love the name of your company. How did you come across it?
Fregoli is after Leopold Fregoli, actor and the worlds fastest impersonator, and also a syndrome where one thinks that everyone around them is one person playing many parts!
This is another new piece of writing. Are you committed as a company to working with new scripts?
Yes, since 2009 we have worked with at least one original script a year.
What are the advantages of this approach? Are people open to seeing new work on stage?
Its very challenging but very rewarding to work with a writer and bring an idea to life. Its addictive in a way! Yes we feel that people are open to and excited about new work.
Do you receive an arts council grant or how do you fund your productions?
We are not currently funded by the arts council, we recieved some funding this year from Galway City Council, Creative Ireland and were supported by the Townhall Theatre for the debut of this show. We are currently operating on a very wiry shoestring.
How precarious is the existence of most small theatre companies? Is it a labour of love, as much as anything?
It is precarious indeed, we are lucky to have operated for 10 years now, but I think that is because of the energy, dedication, commitment and yes, love of those involved.
How much does the budget alter the way you approach work? What limitations does it impose on you in terms of rehearsal time/ set design/ costumes etc.
Unfortunately the budget is a huge factor, most of the time we stage plays with little or no set and costumes that can be found or borrowed or taken from real life wardrobes! This show needed the set and the lighting and the sound production they were all quintessential to this production. We just about managed to get everything together but there were a lot of sacrifices!
This production has the same cast as your previous production “Pleasure Ground”. Is this just a coincidence or was it written with these actors in mind?
No, it was written with the cast in mind. They are a brilliant cast.
This is your first production to take place in a larger venue (in Dublin). Does the acting style have to change to cater for the larger space?
We need to alter the set, and play to our audience, but we always play to our audience. We just need the audience to fill up the venue a bit now!!!
What’s next for Fregoli?
We hope to tour this production, and debut a new original script The Streets are Ours by Robert Higgins next year.