ONE OF the most intriguing stage shows in the Town Hall Theatre in January is Wrong Curtain Theatre’s Cíosa Le Gear which runs at the studio space next week.
A “collaborative event”, it sees Wrong Curtain engage with the life and work of young, locally-based singer-songwriter Cíosa Le Gear. Using biographical information from interviews, a group of actors and musicians have come together to speculate who Cíosa Le Gear is and where her songs could lead her, while reflecting on their own relationships to music in the process.
Over an afternoon coffee, Wrong Curtain director Christopher McCormack and Cíosa Le Gear herself described how the show came about.
McCormack, from Kildare, recently graduated from NUI, Galway’s MA in drama & theatre studies course. He acknowledges that the course had a marked bearing on his ideas about theatre.
“The master’s influenced me to rethink the kind of work I would like to do,” he states. “It’s a doctrine of the company that the theatre is a space of shared energies. I think theatre as an art form is all about concentration on space, it’s on the room, the performers, the spectators.
“The work we would like to do would be about reducing that distance between performer and spectator. I think when there’s a more intimate space a harmony can be achieved between performers and audience.”
The genesis of Cíosa Le Gear stemmed from McCormack’s teaming up with kindred spirit John Smyth, who performs in the production.
“I had worked with John before and we found we both wanted to do the same kind of work and we were both interested in the process of creating the work,” McCormack explains. “We didn’t want to do the traditional thing of writing a script and hand it to the actors. We wanted to do show about music and then had the brainwave of finding a real live musician and built the show around them.
“We met Cíosa and interviewed her intensively. We asked her about her music but also details like about her family and beliefs and so on. We made a transcript of the interview then assembled a group of actors and musicians.
“One of the areas we were interested is the way personal information can get distorted through the media so each of our five performers has created their own ‘distortion’ of Cíosa Le Gear. It was important to us as well that none of the actors had met Cíosa. Some of them aren’t even sure she really exists!”
Cíosa does indeed exist. She is 20 years old and, as well as writing and performing her own songs, is studying art at GMIT. She describes her music as indie-folk and plans on releasing an EP later this year. How has she found the experience of being involved with the show?
“I haven’t heard any of these distortions yet,” she laughs, “but it’s been great to be involved even if I have been out of the loop in a way while they’re creating their own versions of me. It’s great for me to have an opportunity to play my music and get support from people.”
Cíosa herself doesn’t actually appear in the show and nor do any of the performers specifically play the role of Cíosa, as director McCormack explains; “It’s kind of tricky territory because we have all these Cíosas flying around. Her songs are used in the show. No-one impersonates her in the piece. We don’t want to get in the area of Cíosa being a metaphor for something.
“We’re interested in what Ciosa resembles in each of us. Ciosa is a songwriter and performer. It’s also about our own relationships with music. Each performer also creates their own composition for instance. They’ve all really delved into the process of making the play and we hope the show will be accessible and human and fun and different to traditional theatre.”
It certainly sounds different, and should make for a fascinating theatrical experience.
Cíosa Le Gear runs at the Town Hall studio from Tuesday January 18 to Friday 21 at 8.30pm nightly. Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777.