I remember seeing Croi Glan for the first time in 2010, in the Dance House Theatre Studio performing ‘This Is’. And I remember thinking ‘by heck, this is marvellous, why would you want to look at boring regular bodies when you could be looking at these, weird, wonky bodies!’
Now I realise that the use of words like ‘boring’, ‘wonky’, ‘weird’ etcis not very nice, especially when describing people and I shouldn’t be saying it out loud, but these were my exact thoughts. And like most thoughts, they came unbidden to my mind unedited by my own self. I suppose I could have edited it before typing, but too late now and I suspect you get the point I am trying to make.
Croi Glan are fascinating, well I was certainly fascinated by them and immediately suggested the idea of working with them, at which, to their credit, they didn’t scoff.
So four years later, after much emailing, phoning, funding application writing, budget planning and phone calls, we began a rehearsal process.
Now here is another blast of honesty, as this short blog will become utterly unfamous for, there was many a time that I stood in the studio with members of Croi Glan and thought
to myself ‘what in the name of all that is holy, am I going to do with you, what am I going to do with performers who can’t do 32 plies in a row or instantly replicate an ISTD exam piece!!’ Yes folks, I felt, more than once, at a complete loss, standing in a strange land where I couldn’t speak a word of the local tongue.
But, there are many ways to communicate and communicating is what we theatre makers do. So we drew some self portraits with colouring pencils and slagged Mary off about her right arm which has the mind of a teenage boy. (She started it) Obviously we did a lot more than that, but I won’t bore you. They couldn’t do anything* and yet…..yet, they could do everything**. Everything is do-able, everything can be done and a few versions of it too. They are masters of doing stuff and I love doing stuff! I am a big fan of stuff.
So come see our stuff, come see the fruits of our efforts. In some ways I think it might be the most important work I have ever made/been involved in; breaking the taboos around disability, poking fun at the vulnerable, inviting people to rethink what they think about wheelchairs and wonky bodies, challenge audiences to reconsider disability and its meaning. That, or you’ll leave the venue thinking ‘I wish they stuck with the colouring pencils’.
Croi Glan are Tara Brandel and Mary Nugent, both of whom are in this show. They have a pool of dancers they work with including William O Donovan, making his Tiger Dublin Fringe Debut on this show. I collaborated closely with the self appointed technical director of ponydance, Gareth Doran, who has made the soundtrack and is doing all technical stuff, photography and flyer design.
I shall wax lyrical another time about the wonders and adventures of working with Tara and Mary, but in the mean-time, buy your tickets here.
Shows run at 6.30pm from Sept 14-17 in the Chocolate Factory, 26 Kings Inns St, Dublin 1
We did a sharing of the show in the Skibbereen Arts Festival in July at the West Cork Hotel. Shout out to them for having us, the Skib Arts Fest rocks, ably run by Declan McCarthy. Thank you.
Thanks to Arts Council Ireland for funding the project, Firkin Crane, Cork for subsidising rehearsal space and to An Sanctoir for giving us a residency.
Thank you all
*32 plies and an ISTD exam piece