Sparks at Colours Fringe Festival
Sparks writer/director Pat Hynes and production manager Éibhleann Ní Ghríofa.
By Charlie Mcbride
THE COLOURS Fringe Festival swings into action next week at various venues throughout the city and among the featured events is a new play called Sparks at the Town Hall Studio, written and directed by Pat Hynes.
Sparks is a fractured story told through the eyes of Gerry – an electrician who is tormented by his past. By turns disturbing, savagely funny, startling, and visceral, this one-man performance is a labyrinthine journey through Gerry’s increasingly erratic memories using his own voice and the voices of others.
Adrift in the horror of memory, he searches for a sense of self in an environment which restricts as much as sustains him. With sorrow, humour, anger, and wit, Gerry’s world is revealed. The play is the first offering from County Clare-based Hounds Hollow Productions.
“Myself and my partner Éibhleann Ní Ghriofa set up the company two or three months ago but we’ve had the idea for a while,” Hynes reveals over an afternoon chat. “We moved down to Lisdoonvarna from Galway to Poll na gCon which means ‘the hole of the greyhound’ so we changed it to Hounds Hollow.
“Moving down here enabled us to save the money to do this show. In time, we aim to be a bilingual company, we’ll put on plays ‘as Gaeilge’ under the name Poll na gCon and in English under Hounds Hollow.”
Hynes goes on to talk about the themes and concerns of Sparks.
“I originally wrote it as a radio drama and it got shortlisted in last year’s PJ O’Connor Awards,” he says. “Then I looked at it again and decided to turn it into a stage play and opted to do it as a one-man show.
“It’s about an electrician on a job in a school, he has to rewire an extension to the school. The job hasn’t gone to plan and the play is about him reliving his day, going through his memories of what happened and the people he encountered.
“It’s about the horror of memory and the pain of nostalgia for the individual, it’s about the inaccuracy of our memory. Gerry’s memory is fractured and he’s having difficulty telling the story.”
As well as being about the travails of one individual the play also acts as a metaphor for broader issues currently affecting everyone’s lives, as Hynes explains.
“It’s also about the crumbling of society, our economic meltdown and how quickly someone’s life can change in the period of a day,” he says. “We’re billing it as a psychological horror. It’s a very physical show, there’s lots of fast interchanging between characters – in doing it like that I’d have been inspired by Enda Walsh’s Misterman at last year’s arts festival.”
Sparks is Hynes’s third play, following on from King For The Weekend which was staged at NUIG’s Muscailt festival in 2007 and Wrecked at the Galway Theatre Festival in 2009. Like Wrecked, Sparks features actor Darren Killeen, who was recently seen in hit TV series, Game of Thrones.
“We’ve been working closely together on the play,” Hynes reveals. “We’ve redrafted the script a good bit during the course of rehearsals and Darren has had a big input into character development and the script as well and I’ve been happy to let him have that scope.”
Sparks runs at the Town Hall studio from Monday July 2 to Thursday 5 at 8.30pm. Tickets are €10/8 and available through 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie