By Ben Taylor
For my TY work experience I spent a week watching rehearsals of OUTRAGE written by Deirdre Kinahan and directed by Jim Culleton. The whole crew were so welcoming and the overall experience was fun and interesting for someone who is interested in theatre.
Jim made the rehearsals such a laidback, pleasant experience whilst still working hard. He would let the actors try any suggestions and would always say ‘That’s really good guys’ or ‘That’s great guys’ after a scene. The actors would experiment and put in so much attention to detail, like what way they should pick up the typewriter and how they move across the stage. I found this really fascinating and made me appreciate everything that goes on in making a play.
The rehearsals would start at 10 AM at the Lab on Foley street and I could leave when my usual school day would finish at 3.30 PM. The day would be broken up by little tea breaks and a long lunch where we would all eat baked goods while sitting in the kitchen. They would include me in all conversations, have a good laugh and ask me any thoughts or comments I had on the play.
Everyone would take antigen tests at the start of everyday which made it even more relaxed to be sharing a room with no worry of Covid-19.
Unfortunately, the play was a week away from showing and the actors knew all their lines so I didn’t do any line practice with them. However, I set up the stage and the observation of rehearsals was interesting enough.
I talked with costume designers and met the writer, sound technician, producers and the stage manager Sophie, who was very nice to me.
On the last day I went into the Fishamble office and worked with Dafni, the Marketing Officer. She taught me how they advertise the plays by using Graphic design, digital content etc. She also explained how they get organisations which appeal to the message behind the play to watch or promote it like schools, women’s rights organisations and student unions. We had interesting conversations about how the play deals with themes like the discrimination of women from that time period and how we should email these groups.
This week I learned how a play can be directed in a relaxing environment and how to advertise plays to a target demographic. I would highly recommend anyone to come in for the week to see how it works and give you an idea how everyone has a role in creating a play.
by Síofra Corrigan
I spent my week at Fishamble watching rehearsals for their new play OUTRAGE written by Deirdre Kinahan and directed by Jim Culleton. I have a lot of interest in performance and acting and it was amazing to watch professional actors at work. I had not realised how much craft goes into each individual scene and how every single movement and motion is intentional. The play sheds light on the unspoken part of Irish History, the shame women were forced to endure and the true scale of destruction which Irish civilians were accustomed to. I loved how Jim and the actors interacted. They had conversations about scenes and the serious topics which they were portraying to ensure all their voices were heard and understood. Jim gave them the space to experiment while there was a constant offering of suggestions and ideas about how to run scenes from the actors. This made me realise that this was a space where I aspired to have a future career in. There was a lot of communication in the process and respect for every person involved.
We always had the script in front of us which allowed us to see the foundations of the play while having it performed and seeing it in action. The play is about Civil War which was obviously a time of great division and the stage is separated so that you can watch either side of the performance. I think that was a very clever decision because it meant the audience was divided and one side would be watching a very different play than the other side. On Wednesday I moved from my usual spot to the other side of the room so I could see the play from both perspectives. The actors juggled playing to both sides seamlessly and they’re always enjoyable to watch. Sophie, the Stage Manager, was really brilliant and had to stay focused always so that she could read out lines to the actors if they misspoke or forgot them. I learnt how much concentration was involved for Stage Managers.
On Thursday the actors had their costumes sorted which I loved to see. Costume design and historical fashion are both things I’m interested in. The costumes fit each character’s personality and really helped you to transport in the 1920s, in a war-torn Ireland. I also learnt how many decisions were made when it came to taking off coats for dramatic effect or putting on aprons to depict rural life. Props also were a big focus of this play, the main two being a bicycle and a typewriter, that were moved and used constantly. This made it feel like the characters were moving locations even though it's all set on one stage with no stopping between scenes. Chairs were used to sit and stand on, the levels of the play were always dynamic and fun to watch. The fact the play had no stopping between scenes gave it a great flow and allowed the actors to showcase their talent by switching between emotions and characters. I found Mary’s and Naoise’s ability to switch from their characters of Nell to Ms. Woods and PJ to Pat Finney and back again very impressive. I also loved Caitríona’s portrayal of Alice as it was clear she really resonated with her character. The actors were all amazing to watch and I never got tired of seeing them perform.
On Friday I went to see the marketing side of Fishamble which was very cool. Art is something that focuses a lot on just creativity but It was interesting to hear all about the behind the scenes which has to happen to sell tickets and make sure the play actually gets on stage. I was surprised with how many niche audiences there are for Irish Theatre.
Overall, my week at Fishamble has been really educational and fun and I would recommend the experience to anyone who wants to make a living in theatre. This week I saw all the various aspects that it takes to make a play come to life. There is something for everyone and there are no small roles!
My week with Fishamble
by Lilas Bailey
I spent the week of the 7-11th of February at Fishamble, a theatre company located on Great Denmark Street that focuses on promoting and developing new plays. While I was there I read some previous and upcoming plays that Fishamble were putting on, sat in on table reads and performances and also learnt how the marketing and business side of Fishamble works.
On Monday and Tuesday, I sat in on a read through of a new play called “Whistling against the Wind”, written by Sarah McKenna Dunne. It follows five characters, of different ages, who live in a small village in rural Ireland. It focuses on the secrets and incidents that they cover up for fear of disrupting the social hierarchy in their village. Five actors came in to read for the roles and I had a fantastic time hearing the words on the page come to life, as well as meeting new and interesting people.
On Wednesday and Thursday, I listened to a table read of another play, “untitled elegy play”, written by Andrea Stolowitz. This play was very different to “Whistling in the Wind” in the sense that instead of it being written as conversational dialogue, it was a series of interviews.
These interviews were conducted by students in America who asked people in their lives how they have spent the last two years of living through a pandemic in addition to more philosophical questions about life and death.
It is made so that there five actors, but 14 roles, so that each actor plays 2-3 roles. This was a very interesting concept to me because I had never seen it done before. The interviews from each character were divided up so that one character might speak for a page, then another character played by a different actor would speak.
The actors were lovely and I really enjoyed talking to them about their experiences in the acting industry. It was great to be able to get advice and ask questions that will help me in the future if I pursue a career in acting and theatre.
On Thursday this play was performed at Fishamble for an audience of about 8 or 9 people, including myself. I enjoyed seeing the play put together and preformed all the way through with no stops like there had been during the read through and rehearsal.
On Friday, I read two upcoming plays, “Outrage” by Deirdre Kinahan and “Heaven” by Eugene O’Brien.
“Outrage” was about the Irish Civil War and the affects it had on Irish Citizens. I liked the fact there were only three roles and that they told their story rather than acted it out.
“Heaven” was about a middle-aged couple navigating through their marriage. This play was also written uniquely. There were only two characters and they took turns speaking in monologues, there was no dialogue. It was an unusual way to write a play and I am intrigued to see how it would be staged.
I was also shown a new side of Fishamble, how marketing and business works for them. I learnt how preparations and promotion for a new production usually take place and how posters, flyers, videos, social media and their monthly newsletters are created. It was informative to see how things we have learnt about running businesses in school is put into practice in the real world.
I also read two of their previous plays, “The Treaty” by Colin Murphy and “Duck Duck Goose” by Catríona Daly.
“The Treaty”, as the name suggests, is about the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. I enjoyed it because it gave me a different insight and perspective on the signing of the Treaty and made the characters that we read about in school come to life. I wish we read plays like this in school because I feel that the way Irish History is taught makes it seem boring when in actuality it can be fascinating.
“Duck Duck Goose” is about sexual assault allegations and how this affects a friend group, who do you trust and who do you believe? This play broached the serious and important topic of consent and I think this is another play that could possibly be read in schools.
Overall, this week I read plays that had been previously produced by Fishamble as well as upcoming plays. I sat in on table reads and learnt about what rehearsals are like for actors. I spoke to the actors themselves and found out how they have gotten to where they are now and where they went to college, as well as previous productions, TV series and movies they had been in. Finally, I saw how marketing and things that I have learnt in business class in school are put into practice in real life. I really enjoyed my week here.
I would highly recommend this as work experience to people who are creative and interested in a future career in acting or theatre. Because I was more interested in the performance side of things, I was mainly involved in table reads and rehearsals, but if you are more interested in how the business and marketing side of things works, I'm sure here would also be an excellent place for work experience.