Anybody who saw Moonfish Theatre’s stage adaptation of Joseph O’Connor’s novel Star of the Sea when it premiered at the 2014 Arts Festival or when it returned to Taibhdhearc in 2015, will have one piece of advice for those who haven’t yet seen it: ‘Go’!
It’s at the Town Hall Theatre next Friday and Saturday, September 1 and 2, before embarking on a US and Irish tour.
The show is a theatrical delight – musically and visually gorgeous and with fine acting performances from the members of this bilingual Galway company.
Moonfish had no idea when they were developing the show that it would become such a success, according to actress, singer and musician Grace Kiely. Grace was involved in creating the piece and takes on several roles as well as playing music for the production.
“We knew we liked it. And if you’re making something with that degree of honesty, and something you’d like to see yourself, surely it will be appreciated by other people,” she says of the drama.
Waterford-born Grace was drafted into Moonfish 10 years ago as a musician for their first show, Bonny & Read. It was a fortuitous encounter for both parties.
“My background was in theatre but they didn’t know that at the time,” she explains.
Grace had studied drama for two years in Cork before going to UCC where she graduated in Irish and English. She went on to do a Masters in media through Irish at NUIG’s Acadamh in Carraroe.
“That’s how I ended up being part of Moonfish. The way they create theatre really suits me,” she says.
The Moonfish creative process is highly collaborative and unusual in Irish theatre.
“It’s such ensemble work and everyone has a say. It benefits from that because it creates a rich tapestry,” observes Grace.
With such communal involvement, the tapestry could easily turn into a mish-mash but Moonfish haven’t fallen into that trap.
“It’s about knowing when to pull back,” explains Grace. “That comes from knowing who you are working with. It’s a learning curve, but there is a reason why we keep going back to a core team. And there are times when someone has to make a final call, but it’s great to have that freedom to create.”
Their theatrical recreation of Star of the Sea was a feat for the company.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.