LOCAL ENSEMBLE Fregoli Theatre Company are in the Town Hall Studio next week with Raymond Scannell’s award-winning play Breathing Water.
A native of Cork, actor/writer Scannell made his playwriting debut with Breathing Water at the ISDA student drama festival in 2000 where the play won an award for “most innovative and sexiest production” and subsequently enjoyed acclaimed runs at the Edinburgh and Dublin Fringe festivals.
A sharp, swift, and ultimately moving piece performed by a cast of four, Breathing Water is characteristic of Fregoli’s energetic and imaginative style. The play tells the story of Jonah who has an all-consuming fear of water ever since a sadistic Christian Brother ducked him in a baptismal font when he was a child, for failing to hand his homework in on time.
Jonah grows up a typical Irish teenager in a typical Irish town but is constantly haunted by nightmarish visions that he might one day be again submerged in water.
Fregoli’s production is directed by Maria Tivnan and she explains how the company came to be doing the play.
“Breathing Water was staged earlier this year by Dramsoc in NUI, Galway and my cousin Jarlath Tivnan had the role of Jonah,” she says. “I was asked to help out with the production and as I worked on it I really liked the play and felt it was perfect material for Fregoli.
“It has quick character changes and leaves lots of room for interpretation which is very much the kind of work we tend to do. So after the Dramsoc production had its run we decided to restage it with the same cast as a Fregoli show.”
Tivnan expands on the play’s appeal.
“It’s about Jonah’s fear of water but it also deals with themes of youth and love and it has a lot of humour in it too,” she says. “It’s very much an ensemble piece for the actors who play multiple roles and are all onstage throughout; there is lots of physical movement. It’s fast and entertaining, it has all the ingredients of good theatre.”
The four actors in Fregoli’s Breathing Water are Jarlath Tivnan, Aron Hegarty, Teresa Brennan, and Kate Murray.
The play runs at the Town Hall studio from Tuesday June 14 to Saturday 18 at 8.30pm nightly. Tickets are €12/10 from 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie Fregoli will be back in the Town Hall studio at the end of June with a new play, devised by the company, entitled The Secret Life of Me, a colourful and provocative piece which explores three women’s dreams and realities. More of that anon; in the meantime audiences can immerse themselves in Breathing Water.