Kate Tempest’s ‘Wasted’ gets its Irish premiere

Deirdre Breathnach (Charlotte), Cormac Culkeen (Ted) and Adrian Lavelle (Danny) during NoRopes Theatre Company rehersals. PHOTOS: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.
Deirdre Breathnach (Charlotte), Cormac Culkeen (Ted) and Adrian Lavelle (Danny) during NoRopes Theatre Company rehersals. PHOTOS: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Wasted, the debut drama from one of the UK’s most exciting young writers and performers, Kate Tempest, will receive its Irish premiere in Galway next weekend.

The play about three 20-somethings getting wasted and wasting their lives, is being staged by No Ropes Theatre and will give Galway audiences a chance to see Tempest’s rapid-fire drama in an Irish context.

Wasted is the second production from No Ropes, a company that presents “new productions of innovative and little-known dramatic works that will speak to the younger generation, who may well recognise themselves in the pieces”, according to its founder, Mairéad Folan.

Connemara-woman Mairéad set up NoRopes after completing an M Litt in theatre at NUIG.

The company’s first production was The Open Couple by the Nobel-winning Italian playwright Dario Fo, which was staged at the Town Hall Theatre studio last January.

Just a few months later, in May, they presented Wasted as a work in progress at the Galway Theatre Festival.

Wasted centres on three friends in their 20s who come together on the 10th anniversary of a friend’s death – the cause of which was an accidental overdose.

Ted lives with his girlfriend and has a nine-to-five job which he hates and wants to get out of.

Charlotte is a teacher in a school where the teachers don’t care for their students.

Danny is a stoner. A musician who once had big ambitions, he has never fulfilled his promise because he’s a stoner.

Mairéad first encountered Wasted via a group which she set up with fellow theatre lover, Lisa Fitzgerald, when both were doing post-graduate courses at NUIG.

“We founded Performance Matters so we could have regular meetings on plays. Lisa brought it in – I read it and immediately heard the chorus all around.”

That energy Mairéad felt when she ‘heard’ the chorus convinced her that this was a play she could direct.

“And even though it was set in London originally, it’s very Galway. The word ‘tribe’ is mentioned several times and the three characters are also stuck in a rut that we are wondering if they will break out of. That resonates in Galway, with its reputation as being ‘the graveyard of ambition’,” she feels.

“We are challenging the audience, asking if you are stuck in a rut, can you change it.”

Wasted features the age-old theatrical device of a chorus which in the 2012 UK premiere, was performed by the three actors, standing at the front of the stage and using microphones.

Mairéad went for a different approach, and has the chorus on surround sound, which gives a totally different feel to the production – it’s like being in the cinema, she says.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.