Limerick’s Wildebeest back in harness for new production

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Susan Loughnane and Eilis O'Donnell in Wildebeest Theatre Company's Separation. Picture: Ken Coleman
LIMERICK’S iconic Park Kiosk plays a central role in a new site-specific production by the excellent Wildebeest Theatre Company.

LIMERICK’S iconic Park Kiosk plays a central role in a new site-specific production by the excellent Wildebeest Theatre Company.

Separation, devised and performed by Love/Hate actress Susan Loughnane and Fair City’s Eilis O’Donnell, runs as a promenade production in the city for a series of “intimate performances” from Thursday, October 29 next.

The play, directed by Shane Whisker - who featured in Wildebeest’s quite superb On the Wire in the Sailors’ Home for City of Culture last year, which was nominated for an Irish Times Irish Theatre award - tells the story of two of women, “both fighting a different cause” in 1915 Limerick.

Separation focuses on the stories of Maggie Bridgeman and Laura Daly, neighbours on opposing sides of the nationalist divide, who meet secretly at a tobacco kiosk.

As the years roll by, outside forces and their own ideals cause tension as the play looks at Ireland’s most turbulent period in history, with wives separated from husbands, daughters separated from mothers and neighbours separated from each other.

The story centres on the instrumental role many women played in the formation of the Irish Free State and it takes place in and around the Park Kiosk in the People’s Park.

“Working in the Park Kiosk is a fantastic opportunity to explore a new site-specific theatre location for Wildebeest,” explained the theatre company’s founder and artistic director Marie Boylan.

“The performance will be wonderfully intimate as only eight audience members are allowed per show,” she added.

The play’s development was supported by Fishamble: The New Play Company’s New Play Clinic Scheme with Mike Finn as script supervisor and was funded by Limerick City and County Arts Office as part of the Park Kiosk residency scheme that also sprung up during City of Culture.

Wildebeest’s dark and atmospheric On the Wire focussed on a similar period in Irish history, detailing the travails of a local soldier returning from WWI.

Separation runs until November 8. See www.wildebeesttheatrecompany.com.