'riverrun' is Olwen Fouéré’s adaptation and performance of the voice of the river ‘Life’ in James Joyce’s 'Finnegans Wake'. Work on the adaptation began in 2011, including performed readings of the work-in-progress in Dublin, Paris, Lyon and Galway.
In creating this, Fouéré’s work began by listening for the voice of Alp (Anna Livia Plurabelle) in her guise as the river 'life', whose never-ending course through 'Finnegans Wake' emits a powerful transformative energy as she dissolves into the great ocean of time. Fouéré didn’t actually read the entire book; instead she dipped in and out, probing the voice of the river.
Fouéré is one of Ireland's leading theatre makers and takes a unique approach to Joyce's extraordinary sound-dance, in collaboration with an exciting creative team. It’s co-directed by Kellie Hughes, with sound/design composition by Alma Kelliher, scenography by Monica Frawleym and lighting design by Stepehen Dodd. Production support for riverrun is provided by Rough Magic.
The world première of 'riverrun' took place at the Galway International Arts Festival 2013 at Mick Lally Theatre on 22 July, to critical acclaim. “An extraordinary tour de force” commented The Guardian. “Fouéré’s bold, funny and eloquent drama might just be life-changing”, said The Telegraph, while Irish Theatre Magazinepraised Fouéré's “brave, agile and defiant performance”.
'riverrun' was presented at the Kilkenny Arts Festival in August 2013 and at the Dublin Theatre Festival in October 2013, before it started touring worldwide to London, Edinburgh, New York and Sydney. In May 2016, it was presented at the Kennedy Arts Centre in Washington as part of Ireland 100: Celebrating A Century of Irish Arts and Culture, a major festival highlighting Irish culture and its relationship to America.
Fouéré has won two major awards for her performance of 'riverrun': The Herald Achangel Award, from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and an Acting Excellent Award from The Stage, Britain's leading weekly theatre and entertainment industry publication.