NOROPES PRODUCTION of The Open Couple returns to the Town Hall Studio on Friday January 15 and Saturday 16 at 8.30pm. A three-hander, its fast-paced, satirical style, perfectly suits the studio setting.
Written by Italian Nobel laureate Dario Fo and his wife, Franca Rame, in 1983, the play has a very contemporary resonance with its exploration of the sexual politics of a fraught modern marriage betweeen Antonia (Deirdre Breatnach ) and her husband (Daniel Cronin ) who mix mind games, miscommunication, and emotional blackmail, with hilarious consequences. Filled with sharp witty dialogue, this play carries audiences through the warped reality of one couple’s fight for their own ideal marriage.
In describing his approach to theatre, Fo claimed: "The more one approaches the new by way of experimentation, the more there is a need to seek out roots in the past." With its use of age-old storytelling techniques to discuss controversial socio-political themes surrounding marriage, The Open Couple, in the excellent translation by Stuart Hood, is sure to engage Galway audiences.
“This is a great play to do as whilst it has many comic moments there is an underlying sadness to the piece," said the play's director Mairéad Folan. Her discovery of the play dates back over a decade. “When I was doing the BA in NUIG 2004, I had a class with the late Ros Dixon about European directors and playwrights. I had to do a presentation on Dario Fo’s Can’t Pay Won’t Pay and me being the completist that I am I read every play in the book and The Open Couple was one of them.
"I did it for Dramsoc and it was always in back of my mind to do it again so when I formed NoRopes I knew this was something that had worked before and could work again. Dario Fo wrote it initially and then Franca Rame performed it but she changed the script to suit her audiences and we have updated parts of the script to make it more relevant to Galway audiences. Just like Playboy Of The Western World is a touchstone play for Druid I think The Open Couple can be for us.”
The Open Couple was NoRopes’ debut production. “People came out of The Open Couple when we first did it and had loads of questions about relationships,” Folan observes. “It raises questions about what is the correct relationship to have, will this open couple work? It makes people think outside the box. I’ve always liked thinking outside the box, it is how I like to do things. I have a walking frame so I have to think outside the box to get access around the place and I like to get other people to think outside the box through theatre.”
I ask what kind of plays NoRopes might do in the future. “While The Open Couple is Italian we’re open to doing plays from anywhere, just as long as they have not been done before, or done often.” Folan replies. “People can see what we plan to do next by checking our Facebook page in February.”
The Open Couple cast also includes Brendan Savage. The creative team includes Dara McGee (set design ), Jim Faulkner (lighting design ), Conor McBrierty (sound design ), Peter Mannion (music composer ), Clarissa Finnerty (costume design ), and Michelle Ruane (make-up artist ). Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie