Q & A with Director – Andrew Flynn, Decadent Theatre Company Artistic Director
Andrew Flynn is Artistic Director of Decadent Theatre Company. One of Ireland’s busiest creatives, he directed the Irish premiere of Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen which just wrapped sold-out runs in Dublin and Galway. Later in 2023 will see Andrew direct ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ in the Galway International Arts Festival in July and ’Billy Roche’s’ As Such As We in Nov/Dec in The Jerome Hynes Theatre in the National Opera House, Wexford.
In advance of ‘From a Low & Quiet Sea’, the director Andrew Flynn gave us some insights into the play, adapted for the stage from Donal Ryan’s acclaimed Booker Prize-nominated novel.
How did you go about sourcing the theatre rights for From a Low and Quiet Sea and arrange for yourself and author Donal Ryan to adapt it?
From A Low and Quiet Sea began life as a novel. It is a brilliant work of fiction that came from Donal’s imagination. A novel is a very different form of literature to a play. I was in awe of Donal’s skill and talent from reading The Spinning Heart. Then I read The Thing About December and I fell in love with that book. I approached Donal about trying to adapt it for the stage and through the great work of Jarlath Tivnan and a brilliant cast, we staged The Thing About December in 2019. In 2020 the world stopped, and I approached Donal about adapting From a Low and Quiet Sea. The novel had wonderful characters and three separate stories, and I spent several months editing the book, trying to distil the novel into a dramatic text. Several workshops with great actors and Donal were facilitated where we challenged and tested the work. This continued in rehearsals, and we finally had a show in July 2022.
Given the four stories intertwining in the piece, I wonder how much were the cast involved in structuring the final work as it appears on stage?
The cast and actors were central to the process. The workshops and rehearsals were very collaborative and together we helped shape and edit the dramatic text. In respect of designing the play, what were your considerations as a director? The play Is all about the characters, their stories, and words. The design needed to be very simple, it needed to provide a space where the characters can exist but would never distract or take away from the play’s language and words. In truth, this play goes back to the very essence of theatre. All you need is the actor, a space and the audience.
What is next for Decadent after this tour?
Following the tour Decadent will mount a production of a Duncan McMillan play at the Galway International Arts Festival in July. Then the company will embark on a winter production of ‘On Such as We’ by Billy Roche.
From a Low and Quiet Sea
25 – 26 May | The Civic | 8pm
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From a Low and Quiet Sea is a co-production of Decadent Theatre Company and Galway Arts Centre. Andrew Flynn and Donal Ryan were recipients of a 2021 Elevate bursary grant to adapt and workshop the script from the novel. Decadent Theatre Company gratefully acknowledges the support of the Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Galway County Council and RTÉ Supporting the Arts.