NEW DUBLIN ensemble, One Duck Theatre Company, arrive in the Town Hall Theatre on Tuesday January 26 at 8pm, with the world premiere production of its debut play, The Poor Little Boy with No Arms. A fast-paced, dark comedy-drama, it explores secrecy, control, and the Irish psyche.
A teacher called Ruby Ruby arrives in Skibberceannaigh, ‘The World's Most Liveable Community’, to a warm welcome from the friendly townsfolk. However, life in this rural idyll seems too good to be true, and one night Ruby comes across a mysterious man with no arms. He tells her the town discriminates against him and sets him arduous tasks to do in the dark of night. Ruby soon discovers this shocking treatment of her new friend is just one of the town's many dark secrets…
One Duck was founded by seven graduates of the Lir Academy and it was while the company members were still at the Lir they first devised The Poor Little Boy with No Arms with Mikel Murfi.
“In our second year at the academy we were put in a room with Mikel and told to devise a play, so over a 12-week period we devised what turned out to be The Poor Little Boy With No Arms,” reveals Alan Mahon, the play’s producer. “We did a few performances of it while we were at the Lir which went really well. We felt we wanted to come back to it at some point, however, we had to put it on hold for the year while we finished our courses. Six months after graduating, in December 2014, we held a workshop on the play and redrafted it. We were looking to implement the changes that would make it ready to do on a professional stage. I decided to take on the role of producer and we were lucky enough to get some funding from the Pavilion Theatre and then got 13 venues lined up, Galway being one.”
Of Mikel Murfi, Mahon declares him "a genius". “It was incredible that we got him in to work with us," he says. "His approach to devising a play is completely different to most other directors. It’s very physical and he has a wacky view of the world a lot of others don’t. He’s very creative minded and it was a joy to work with him.”
Alan expands on The Poor Little Boy with No Arms. “We’re in this village called Skibberceannaigh. A new school is built and Ruby arrives from an un-named city. Everyone gives her a tour around and is very friendly but Ruby can’t help feel that they are a little bit too friendly. She goes out for a walk one night and comes across this man who the town refer to as the poor little boy with no arms despite the fact that he is a fully grown man. He tells her the people don’t treat him very well. Ruby and the boy strike up a relationship and unbeknownst to the rest of the town they start having clandestine meetings. The town finds out about it and things unravel.”
While Alan is doing production duties for The Poor Little Boy with No Arms he is an actor first and foremost and is currently rehearsing the role of Hamlet for Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatre. Several other original members of One Duck also landed plum acting roles elsewhere so that this production sees a number of new faces in the show. Alan and the company have assembled some top-notch talent for the tour. The play is directed by Oonagh Murphy, who has worked with both Druid and the Abbey, with Bryan Burroughs (whom Galway audiences may recall from his acclaimed solo show Beowulf the Blockbuster ) serving as movement director.
The cast is Katie Honan (Ruby ), Colm O’Brien (Poor Little Boy ), with Sophie Jo Wasson, Lisa Walsh, Manus Halligan, and Finbar Doyle playing multiple roles.
Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie