Moonfish offering lively take on history with stage version of Redemption Falls

Grace Kiely in Redemption Falls.

Moonfish Theatre Company, which staged Joseph O’Connor’s novel, Star of the Sea at the 2014 Arts Festival, return this year with a new show based on his sprawling book, Redemption Falls, set in the wake of the 1861-65 American Civil War.

Their acclaimed stage adaption of Star of the Sea used performance, music, puppetry and projections to re-imagine the journey of a Famine ship which left Ireland for America with a motley group on board.

That emigration tale was one that really needed to be told, especially in Ireland, says Ionia Ní Chróinín of Moonfish.

And, as one of the passengers, housemaid Mary Duane, stepped off the boat in New York after an eventful, sometimes tragic voyage, there seemed to be a happy-ever-after ending.

“But the reality was different. And if we really want to tell the story of Irish emigrants, you have to carry on and tell what happened to them in the US.”

Redemption Falls does that, following Eliza Duane Mooney as she walks across the US in search of her brother Jeremiah who was sucked into the war as a drummer in the Confederate army.

Moonfish has a cast of seven performers and musicians who explore the diverse lives of seven characters, all of whom have been affected by the war.

The company which was set up in 2006 by Ionia and her sister Máiréad, has always operated on a collective ethos, with a collaborative approach to directing shows.

That ethos is stronger than ever now, because there’s a tightly-knit core group.  Everyone on stage for Redemption Falls has worked with Moonfish previously, although not all as performers.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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