“O brave new world that has such people in it!” – The Tempest
At a time when we haven’t been able to gather, it’s been a unique challenge bringing a group of young people together to deliver a performance; to meet, rehearse, and deliver online. All those things we take for granted in the theatre; shared space, air, breath, timing, bodies moving together, a sense of ensemble – all go out the window and we are at the mercy of our internet connections.
If you’ve ever suddenly dropped from a video call, it has the odd sensation of a person freezing mid sentence and rushing out of a room without a word. It’s disconcerting to say the least. Never in real life have I had someone begin to glitch in front of me, or freeze then suddenly speed up as their body tries to catch up with their voice – but online, we take it all in stride.
One of the most profound things we have available to us in the theatre is the collective imagination; the idea of coming together and holding something in our minds. For a period of time, we all agree to believe in the same imagined reality, and to make a connection with each other, and the telling of a story. We agree to go to the same place; wherever the play is asking us to go – a blasted heath, a city flat, a crumbling cottage on the edge of the atlantic – we go there together. As Shakespeare told his audience, “think when we talk of horses, that you see them”.
Online, that vital act of imagination can still happen – maybe we need to push a little harder, believe a little further, and trust each other a little more, but it can still happen. What has maintained, has been our ability to connect; to have conversations, for characters to speak to one another in real time, to form meaningful relationships, and for an audience to witness that happening.
Tenderfoot has certainly been a different shape this year, but while signal can be glitchy, connection remains as strong as ever.
Davey Kelleher – Acting and Playwriting Mentor
Davey is a theatre and opera director based in Dublin. He is an Associate Artist with the Civic, Studio Director with Irish National Opera’s ABL Aviation Studio, and a guest tutor at the Lir Academy Dublin, Ireland’s National Academy of Dramatic Art.
He recently directed Conor Mitchell’s “A Message for Marty (or The Ring)” for Irish National Opera’s “20 Shots of Opera”, in 2019 he directed and produced “A Short Cut To Happiness” for the Edinburgh FringeFestival (Nominated – Scotsman Mental Health Award 2019). Other directing work includes the solo play, SEAHORSE; multi-form puppet shows, GLOWWORM, and BIRDY; spoken-word sci-fi, THESE LIGHTS; and the geopolitical allegory THE OLIVE TREE; which has toured internationally. He has worked as Associate Director with the Cork Opera House for their summer programmes since 2016. Work with Irish National Opera includes AIDA, and THE BARBER OF SEVILLE, and well as directing for their Studio Outreach Programme.