Galatea Rehearsals – The Irish Version

Galatea (Northern Ireland)Last year, Sole Purpose Productions put on a production of my play Galatea at the Playhouse in Derry, Northern Ireland. I’d had the opportunity to live in Derry while working on the script for The Lavender Railroad in 2010 and met Pat Byrne, the artistic director of Sole Purpose. She took a fancy to the script and her production in Derry was a great success – so much so that she managed to find funding and support to take the show on tour across Northern Ireland in August 2012.

Thanks to support from the Canada Council, I’m looking forward to seeing the show during its tour next month. I wish I could also join the company for its rehearsals, which recently started in Derry, but have to make do with reports from Pat and the actors involved. Sole Purpose has posted some photos from their rehearsals on Facebook. Here are two…

Micheál Kerrigan (Georgie) and Glen Tilley (Harry) in rehearsal

Damian Friel (Eli) and Alex Wilson (Freddie) in rehearsal

One of the things about the Irish production that I found fascinating was how the company made it “local.” I was able to sit in on some late rehearsals last year, which is when I first met the actors involved. None of them sounded like the people where I live, the people whose voices I might have first imagined as the characters in the play. But as I watched and listened, the Canadian tones of the play melted away and it was plain to me that this was as Irish a play as it was Canadian.

The enthusiastic response of the audience to the performance confirmed this. One individual noted that “we could sense resonance between the play and the ‘lived lives’ of the people acting in it.” I was grateful to hear this observation, because Galatea is a play about relationships, and the joys and sorrows of our loves and our relationships are a universal thing, whether in Canada or Ireland or Iran or Cambodia.

This year’s tour starts Upstairs at the MAC in Belfast on August 3, and I hope that those of you living in the vicinity have the opportunity to see the show. I’ll be posting some more of my musings and some backstage observations once I join the tour next month.