Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, Patrick Lonergan, on why he thinks Incantata is "the show that everyone in Galway should see."
Like so many brilliant plays before it, Paul Muldoon’s Incantata will make its world premiere on a Galway stage. It’s a deeply moving story of love and loss, while also containing humour and grace in the way in which it deals with its subject matter.
Here’s why I [Patrick Lonergan] think it’s a must-see GIAF show and why it promises to be one of the Irish theatrical highlights of 2018.
Incantata is a deeply moving love story, focussing on Muldoon’s relationship with the artist Mary Farl Powers and written in the aftermath of her tragic death in 1992. It’s full of emotion and depth, revealing feelings that everyone can relate to and that everyone has experienced – but which we don't often see being expressed so clearly.
It's very funny. This might seem surprising given the subject matter, but there are a lot of great jokes in Incantata, as well as a down-to-earth playfulness that creeps up on you - so that a lot of the time you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry.
It's about being an artist, exploring the relationship between two great creators of Irish art. There’s a real sense of how the two inspired and supported each other, of their shared joy in creating something beautiful and surprising out of nothing. This will be of huge interest to anyone who's every written or painted or otherwise sought to express themselves creatively.
It’s a chance to see Stanley Townsend, one of Ireland's best actors, here in Galway. People who've seen him on stage know what to expect: he’s been brilliant in many plays, most recently Conor McPherson’s Bob Dylan musical The Girl from the North Country in London’s West End. He’s also hugely popular from Redwater, The Tunnel, 24 and Ashes to Ashes and lots of other good things on TV.
It’s being directed by Sam Yates. One of Screen International's "Stars of Tomorrow", Yates is just off the back of a successful production of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, which featured Christian Slater. He has worked with many brilliant Irish actors in recent years, so the chance to see his work here in Galway is very exciting. And he’s working with an exceptional creative team that includes the composer Teho Teardo (Galway audiences will know his work with Enda Walsh) and other brilliant theatre-makers.
And finally: so many Galway International Arts Festival shows in the last few years have started here in Galway and gone all over the world to Australia, London, New York, and so on - think Ballyturk, riverrun, Arlington and Misterman. This is a great chance to see the world premiere of something that people will be talking about nationally and internationally in the next few years. It’s very exciting to be able to see it first in Galway.
Patrick Lonergan is Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway.
Incantata by Paul Muldoon is directed by Sam Yates and stars Stanley Townsend. For more visit the event page.
Town Hall Theatre
16 - 27 July - various times
16–21 July, 8pm & 24 & 27 July, 6pm & 9pm
Matinees 19 & 21 July, 2pm
Duration 1 hour 10mins approx.