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Eamon’s show puts Maeve in spotlight

Judy Murphy

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Eamon Morrisey

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Eamon Morrissey has been writing and performing in one-man shows for years, but the actor who is best known these days for playing Cass in RTÉ’s soap Fair City, says it doesn’t get any easier, despite practice.

Eamon will visit Galway’s Town Hall Theatre next Monday, May 25, with Maeve’s House, a touring production from the Abbey Theatre.

The one-man show features extracts from the writings of Dublin-born Maeve Brennan, a leading figure in New York’s literary scene for much of the last century before mental illness and alcoholism saw her become a bag lady. When she died in 1993, in a New York nursing home, she was an almost-forgotten figure.

Eamon Morrissey, now aged 72, grew up in the village of Ranelagh, in the south side of Dublin City. His parents had bought their house from Robert and Una Brennan, both of whom were involved in the struggle for Irish independence. Eamon’s father had fought alongside Robert Brennan in 1916 and later,during the War of Independence and Civil War.

Robert Brennan was appointed Irish Ambassador to Washington in the 1930s and moved his family to the American capital.

Growing up, Eamon knew of the connections between the families. He knew of Maeve Brennan’s short stories too, as these appeared in The New Yorker magazine, which was renowned for the quality of its writing.  His mother, also called Maeve, was a great fan of the magazine, he recalls. These days you can buy it freely – in the 1950s it was “an extravagance”.

In 1966, as a 23-year-old actor with the Abbey Theatre, Eamon was in New York appearing in the Broadway premiere of Philadelphia, Here I Come! He recalls being in the subway, reading a short story in The New Yorker which made the hairs on his neck stand up, because it described perfectly the wooden stairs up to the bedrooms of his childhood home.

The author’s name wasn’t at the top of the article, so he turned to the end to check the author. It was Maeve Brennan. He was so intrigued, he contacted her via The New Yorker. She arranged to meet him in the renowned Russian Tea Rooms – Eamon reckons Brennan, who was a hard drinker for most of her life, was trying to stay off alcohol.

“She had a fearsome reputation in New York at the time, but she was very nice to me and loved that I was enjoying New York,” says Eamon. Back at home, “the more I read her, the more I came to appreciate her. She wrote wonderful prose”.

Brennan’s short stories were mostly set in Dublin and many dealt with people who were stuck in cul-de-sac lives and marriages. These were melancholy, but she also contributed factual pieces to The New Yorker under the guise of The Long-Winded Lady, and for these, “she was a merry writer”, says Eamon.

Brennan lived in New York, but her stories revealed a woman who knew an awful lot about the Ireland of the 1950s and 60s, he adds. She had stayed in touch with other writers here, especially other women, who advised her not to return as it was no country for women.

“She wasn’t political, but the cul-de-sac stories were about the dying of a dream, and the relationships between the sad couples reflected the disappointment at what had happened to the Irish dream, post-Independence,” says Eamon. Her end, as “almost a bag lady” was terrible, he adds, “but she was a great writer, who belonged everywhere”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

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Anne’s Roses of Hope for Médecins Sans Frontières

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Kinvara artist Anne Korff has launched an initiative to support the work of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

It’s a new book, Roses of Hope – Meditations, which contains a selection of six reproductions of her artwork, 25×25 cm in size, ring-bound and with a hanging attachment, ready to display on a wall.

Roses of Hope – Meditations was created as a series of paintings during the pandemic in 2020-21. Throughout this period of solitude and isolation, Anne wanted to share her artwork as a way of providing support, inspiration and nourishment for the soul. Each painting is a meditation using energy, colour and shape to bring hope and solace.

According to the Irish Times’ art critic Aidan Dunne, ‘Anne Korff’s paintings vividly reflect her experience of the refugee crisis . . . in a space of what feels like infinite loss, flickers of hope appear’.

Anne, who studied Fine Art in Berlin moved to Ireland in 1977. A decade later, inspired by her passion for history and archaeology she set up her own publishing company, Tír Eolas. Her publications include beautifully illustrated guides and maps of the Burren, south Galway, Lough Corrib, The Shannon Valley, as well as The Book of the Burren.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Film Fleadh’s invitation to pitch a script

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Submissions are now open for the annual Film Fleadh Script Pitching Competition, which will be held next month as part of the online festival.

The competition focuses on the crucial role of good writing in the audio-visual sector and has provided many writers with an opportunity to get Entrants should submit a 500-word written pitch (from beginning to end with no cliff-hangers!) and applications are welcome from writers of any skill level. Any genre of feature drama, documentary or animation will be considered.  Finalists will be chosen to pitch their idea live online as an ‘Elevator Pitch’ of 90 seconds to a virtual panel of industry judges and an audience. The winner will be announced at the Fleadh’s online awards ceremony and will receive a prize of €3,000.

In addition to the money and the opportunity to pitch to industry professionals, there are other benefits to taking part. These includes opening the door to producers; writers having their project optioned by producers; being invited on mentorships to hone their craft; bolstering their confidence and giving them their first opportunity to win over an audience. For the winner, the money can allow them the time to develop and expand their pitch into a full film script.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Innovation and tradition at heart of Brú Theatre’s new programme

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Martha and Ronald Sayers and Melissa Gillespie, right, during rehearsals for ‘Ar Ais Aris’ overlooking Galway Bay off Grattan Road. The immersive virtual reality experience takes place from June 11-20 in Gaeltacht communities along the Atlantic coast. PHOTO JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Brú Theatre Company has become an integral part of Galway’s arts scene since it was founded three years ago by Artistic Director James Riordan and Producer Jill Murray. Focusing on new writing, mask theatre, live music and dance, this innovative, talented company has won over audiences and critics alike.

Brú has now launched its programme for the remainder of 2021 with a mix of work that includes virtual reality performances, two stage shows and a physical theatre school.

“From drag to keening, it’s going to be great,” according to James Riordan who is ready for the next challenge.

“The support we have got from audiences and organisations alike in the past year has spurred us forwards, and I can’t wait to share all the shows, songs and stories we’ve been cooking up over the last year.”

From the beginning, Brú has produced bilingual work across a range of genres and that’s the case with Ar Ais Arís, an Irish language, immersive Virtual Reality experience which is touring Gaeltacht areas from Donegal to Cork from this Friday, June 11 until Sunday, June 20.

The show will site audiences by the sea before transporting them to Connemara’s mountain tops and far-away piers as it explores emigration, displacement and the poetic body, all via virtual performances. Inspired by Irish language writers including Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Pádraic Ó Conaire and Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Ar Ais Arís was originally commissioned by NUI Galway and Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture. It’s being presented as part of Brightening Air/Coiscéim Coiligh, a countrywide series of arts events supported by the Arts Council. Tickets are available from www.brutheatre.com

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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