Lost Lear – unique dramatic exploration of dementia


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Lost Lear – unique dramatic exploration of dementia Lost Lear – unique dramatic exploration of dementia

Lost Lear, a play about dementia in a family, comes to the Town hall Theatre on November 8 as part of an 11-venue of Ireland.

Written by tour award-winning theatre-maker, Dan Colley, this very loose adaptation of King Lear, is an examination of the self and the part of us that’s inaccessible to others.

Lost Lear is unusual in that the story is told from the perspective of the person with the condition.

First presented last year, it was developed as part of an Artist in Residency programme at Kildare’s Riverbank Arts Centre and co-produced by Collapsing Horse Theatre.

“We were overwhelmed with the reaction when we first presented it,” says Dan, whose own grandmother was in a care home that had old shop fronts to help residents recall their youth and make them feel comfortable in their surroundings, rather than feeling scared by memory-loss.

This darkly comic remix of Shakespeare’s play is told from the viewpoint of Joy, who is living in an old memory of rehearsing Shakespeare’s classic work.

Her delicately maintained reality is upended by the arrival of her estranged son. Cast as Cordelia, he must find a way to speak his piece from within that limited role. Using puppetry, projection and live video effects, the audience are landed in Joy’s world as layers of her past and present, real and fictitious, overlap and distort.

The actors are Venetia Bowe, Peter Daly, Manus Halligan, Em Ormonde and Clodagh O’Farrell.

The Irish Examiner described Lost Lear as ‘Brilliantly conceived and executed . . .a remarkable achievement, and it was nominated for Best New Play, Audience Choice, Best Audiovisual Design and Best Supporting Actor at the Irish Times Theatre Awards.

Its creator, Dan Colley, who was creative director of the 2019 Macnas Halloween parade, Danse Macabre, specialises in devised ensemble work, theatre-for-young-audiences and spectacle.

He is Theatre Artist in Residence in the Riverbank Arts Centre, a member of the Project Arts Centre, and on the board of the Dublin Fringe Festival.

Tickets for the Galway performance on November 8 are available from, 091-569777 and the box office.

Pictured: King Lear is reworked in new and imaginative ways for this production.


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