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!
Fishamble: The New Play Company is supported by