Friday, March 31, 2006

O'Kelly's Operation Easter

Donal O’Kelly – the man who put the “act” into “activist” – is set to put theatre at the heart of the debate about the 90th Anniversary of the Easter Rising. The writer-performer behind shows like Catalpa and The Hand has now written Operation Easter a play that promises to “casts a searing light on the 1916 Rising.” The play, which is a collaboration with the OPW, will be staged at Kilmainham Gaol and star O’Kelly alongside, among others, Arthur Riordan and Ruaidhri Conroy.

The Irish media’s resident neo-con appeasers now seem to require everyone to regard the events of Easter 1916 as somehow related to the activities of the Bush regime’s “global war on terror” and those who took part as, quite literally, terrorists. From the past evidence of O’Kelly’s political leanings, it seems unlikely that the playwright will take that tack.

For the moment we know only that he sees the Rising as “a visionary and violent act that was to be the conceptual act of our nation,” (see?! lots of acting there!) But was that a good thing or bad thing? As Zhou Enlai remarked when he asked in 1949 to assess the impact of the French revolution: “It’s too soon to say”. Operation Easter opens 24 April.

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