Padraig Naughton discusses Turning Point at the Shakespeare Theatre Company: Lansburgh Theatre / 8 June 2010
Yesterday evening was the presentation of the four Turning Points; readings at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Lanburgh Theatre.
Consequently, it was an especially long day and even longer night of post show debate and merriment. At the outset it was decided that as ‘Turning Point ‘ was primarily a project about the creation of new writing for theatre.
We decided that Arts & Disability Ireland and Fishamble would focus their efforts on bringing the four disabled playwrights to Washington rather than a complete cast of Irish actors.
This meant that Fishambles’ Director Jim Culleton had one and a half days to rehearse with eight US based actors in advance of the readings. The actors Chris Dinolfo, Brian Hemmingsen, Chris Imbrosciano, Nanna Ingvarsson, Jason Lott, Austin Porter, Alexandria Wailes and Christopher Wolfe were very enthusiastic from the start of rehearsals and were keen to explore the many Irish cultural reference points within the scripts.
Consequently, the first full day of rehearsals which took place at the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts last Saturday were read-throughs interspersed with many questions and wide ranging debates. Jim was assisted by Orla Flannagan Fishamble’s Production Manager, Gavin Kostick, myself and each of the writers who attended the rehearsal of their script. On Monday afternoon we reconvened at the Lansburgh. While Arts & Disability Ireland and Fishamble did not specifically ask the writers to write on disability, that is in fact what happened. However, four very different plays were selected.
Steve Daunt’s play ‘How Very Normal’ explored the childhood memories of one disabled and non-disabled friend who meet after 16 years for an evening at the opera and to share a post show bottle of wine. John Austin Connolly’s play ‘Ellipsis’ takes the audience into an intimate conversation between a husband and wife who are reflecting on the recent suicide of their son. Stephen Kennedy’s play ‘Should've Gone to Lourdes’ is a comical coming of age story for a young disabled wheelchair user and his non-disabled brother who are visiting a brothel in Amsterdam.
And Rosaleen McDonagh’s play ‘Rings’ is a series of interchanging monologues: a father and daughter reflect of their experience of disability, deafness, the role of women and being a Traveller.