STAR OF THE SEA
adapted from the novel by Joseph O’Connor.
Moonfish Theatre in collaboration with An Taibhdhearc Tour to 24 October 2015.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.
Review: Anne O’Leary 24 September at Draíocht Theatre, Blanchardstown, Dublin.
Vivid tale of a voyage that’s deservedly going on tour.
Staging a play based on a multi-award winning, international bestseller is never easy. Neither is a slot on the giddy opening night of the Dublin Theatre Festival, a blaze of eighteen days of inspirational theatre. Most daunting of all is the writer of that novel seated in one of the front rows. Moonfish Theatre handles it all beautifully, putting on a top class performance, well carried to the end, when the audience reacted with a standing ovation.
Star of the Sea charts twenty six days at sea on a ship making its way from Ireland to New York during the famine in 1847. The ship becomes a microcosm of Irish society, the bankrupt landlord, the wronged maid, the ambitious journalist, the villain as their lives intertwine over a number of years. Although the background is dark, it never overpowers and if there is any message here it is that life goes on during a catastrophe: Babies are born, people die of syphilis, lovers are consumed by jealousy.
Because the time-frame is not linear and the setting moves back and forth from ship to Connemara landscape to Country House, a device is required. Text is projected onto the sails of the ship which form the main set along with some wooden boxes and a piano. Clever lighting enables the sails also to be used as silhouettes for different settings.
Both edges of the stage are exposed, allowing the audience to view the mechanics of the production as they happen. The music, sound effects and writing of surtitles are all created live by the ensemble of six, who play multiple roles and operate the technology. The production is bilingual, the visual style making it accessible to non-Irish speaking audiences. Music and song are an important focus too, performed beautifully by each of the ensemble.
The collaborative nature of this production makes it impossible to single out any one performance but special mention must be made of the two Moonfish co-director sisters (also part of the ensemble), Máiréad and Ionia Ní Chróinín, for their highly entertaining show using a sophisticated range of media.
Ensemble: Simon Boyle, Morgan Cooke, Grace Kiely, Zita Monahan, Ionia NíChróinín, MáiréadNíChróinín.
Director: Jo Cummins.
Designer: Lian Bell.
Lighting: Matt Burke.
Sound: Pat Hargan.
Costume: Cherie White.
1 Oct 8pm Linenhall Arts Centre Castlebar 094 902 3733 www.thelinenhall.com
3 Oct 8pm Watergate Theatre Kilkenny 056 776 1674 www.watergatetheatre.com
7 Oct 8pm George Bernard Shaw Theatre Carlow 059 917 2400 www.visualcarlow.ie
9-10 Oct 8pm Riverbank Arts Centre Newbridge 045 448327 www.riverbank.ie
14 Oct 8pm Siamsa Tíre Tralee 066 7123055 www.siamsatire.com
17 Oct 8pm Source Arts Centre Thurles +353504 90204 www.thesourceartscentre.ie
21 Oct 8pm Hawk’s Well Theatre Sligo 071 9161518 www.hawkswell.com
24 Oct 8pm Solstice Arts Centre Navan 046 9092300 www.solsticeartscentre.com