Thursday, April 27, 2006

Declan Gorman's "trilogy"

“You’ll notice that I don’t use the word trilogy about it,” says playwright and director Declan Gorman about his company’s latest venture. This game of three parts features plays spanning a decade of work by Drogheda’s Upstate Theatre company. “I must have used every other available word – series, cycle, whatever. But the truth is, it was a kind of unintentional trilogy.”

There are, of course, other reasons why Gorman isn’t keen to get into the trilogy business. “I suppose when you think of all the activity in this area, the Synge cycle, the Friel Festival, well, it has really become quite a popular way of presenting work. But I felt a bit nervous. Putting myself into that company, as a much less known playwright, is just a bit strange…”

In Gorman’s take, the Irish independent theatre scene has been very bad about re-appraising its own work. “Certainly, there are exceptions, and Paul Mercier and Passion Machine have done a good job of looking again at their legacy. But in general, productions just get lost,” he says. The Border Chronicle is an attempt, he suggest, to prevent this happening with Upstate’s decade-long period of independent work.

Upstate began performing in 1997, with Gorman’s new translation of Gerhart Hauptmann’s The Weavers, but by the next year has begun the project which now lives under the title The Border Chronicles, with Hades, a episodic drama, in which dramas from ancient Greece were magically finding themselves re-enacted in the Irish borders of the late twentieth century.

That play was followed by another Gorman show, this time centring on life on the Cooley peninsula during the foot and mouth outbreak. It is these two play, along with a third as yet unperformed piece, At Peace, which now form the Border Chronicles. In this final piece of the trilogy, now planned for next year, Gorman and the company have turned their attention to the changing face of their locale, an area hardly exempt from the population shifts which the rest of the country is enjoying.

The new diversity has, according to Gorman, meant the incorporation of some surprising elements into his fictionalised version of the Borders.

“I’ve been back and forward to Latvia quite a bit, because I wanted to incorporate Latvian mythological sources into At Peace. What I wanted to do this time is really ask: what does Monaghan looks like to Latvian eyes to the people who are increasingly coming to live there?”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Declan Gorman's name flashes by in MI3.(i'd say blink and you'd miss it, but that goes for almost everything in the film.) Anyway, that Declan is a baddie. You see, in somebody's eyes, Declan Gorman is a good name for a baddie. Hard to tell, all the same, which baddie, suffice to say he does not live to see the credits roll.

1:55 AM  

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