As a part of our course requirements at The Lir, the MFA directors present a new short piece (scene, devised work, choreography, installation) every week of the first two terms, totaling approximately twenty-four pieces between September and March. This is in addition to our academic coursework and has been the source of extreme frustration and profound creative development. Casting, rehearsing, sourcing costumes, props, lighting and sound on a six-day turnaround felt, at times, completely impossible. Each week I banged up against the challenges of creating theatre in a foreign city with no budget. I yearned for my collaborators back in NYC who I’d have corralled into volunteering, or the Jack’s 99 on 32nd St where I could find multi-packs of any color of disposable cup I needed for $1, or the creative and eccentric friends whose apartments are like props storage, where someone would undoubtedly have an antique candle snuff that I could borrow for a day or two.
After a particularly vexing day of attempting to source props (WHY DOES NOTHING I NEED FROM AMAZON.CO.UK SHIP TO IRELAND?), I had an epiphany of sorts. My angst, my stress-levels, my constant exhaustion and frustration, my fears that I won’t be able to actualize the bigger, more abstract ideas are all growing pains. By transplanting myself into a new creative city and network, I’ve had to work doubly hard to access resources that I took for granted before and it has opened the way I solve artistic ‘problems.’ Instead of running with my first impulse, these roadblocks have forced me to come up with second, third and often fourth alternatives, which sometimes ends up being the most interesting. In the instances that I decide my first instinct is the one I must follow, I feel much more confident in taking bold steps, like spending most of my March stipend on 350 white latex balloons and enough popcorn to feed 85 audience members (worth it). I consider my choices more rigorously and pragmatically and it has had a tangible impact on the work itself.
It was a tough decision, but I ultimately chose a MFA over a MA or a MPhil because I knew I wanted to spend my year making as much new theatre as possible and forming as many practical relationships as I could. I knew I’d be signing away most of my travel/ exploring time, but I honestly don’t feel that I’ve missed out. I’ve learned so much about the theatre traditions here and it has undoubtedly informed my approach to and contextualization of theatre. I’ll be in Dublin rehearsing away until mid-July, but I’ll leave with an expanded portfolio of projects and processes that have been invaluable to my development. Here’s a small sampling of some of the bigger pieces I’ve created/ collaborated on this year.
AIN’T NO RAINDROP WHEN SHE’S GONE
Performance inspired by an excerpt from The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot
@ the lir
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
. . .
If there were water
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
. . .
But there is no water
Performance: Keelie Sheridan — keeliesheridan.com
Design & Concept: Valentin Peter Eisele
Devised Project – ‘Revolution’ @ the lir
“And now you’re here. I saw you. The camera saw you. And by the way, might I add, you all look terrific. You really do. You look happy. You look together.”
He turns to take a selfie with the audience. Flash.
“I was there, too. I mean, I am here, too. Now. With you. The camera saw us. We’re happy. We’re together. We’re a part of something. And I have proof. “
Actors: Aron Haggerty, Amy Hughes, Ciara Smyth, Colin Smith, Jerry Iwu
Director: Keelie Sheridan — keeliesheridan.com
Light: Colm McNally cmcndesign.com
Set = Costume: Valentin Peter Eisele
Spring Awakening– by Frank Wedekind in a New Adaptation by Anya Reiss
Studio One @ the Lir
Anya Reiss’s fearlessly contemporary adaptation of this always controversial classic repositions Wedekind’s challenging story of emerging adolescent sexuality in today’s world of easily accessible pornography, cyber bullying and self-harm. Originally set in the late 19th century in Germany, Reiss’s up to date version reflects the same intensity and confusion felt by a group of teenagers who are over-pressurised by a demanding education system, their peers and their parents. Completely ill informed about sex and relationships due to a repressive society and their parents’ silence on such matters, the teenagers turn to each other for support.
Director- Selina Cartmell
Set and Costume Design- Katie Davenport
Lighting Design- Eoin Winning
Sound Design- Ivan Birthistle
Assistant Director- Keelie Sheridan
Assistant Set Designer- Colm McNally
Assistant Costume Designer- Mary Sheehan
Assistant Lighting and AV Designer- Bill Woodland
AV Designer- Brian Kenny
Hair and Makeup- Val Sherlock
GRIMLY HANDSOME by Julia Jarcho
(European Premiere) @ the Lir
Director: Keelie Sheridan
Costume and Set: Valentin Eisele
Lights: Bill Woodland
Tickets will be available for purchase here in the coming months.