There will be a homecoming in more ways than one when Jasango Theatre present a new version of Geraldine Aron’s My Brilliant Divorce on Tuesday November 1 at The Town Hall. Jasango Theatre was founded in Galway in 2009 by Jasmin Finn and Angela Ryan; they have since gone on to make a name for themselves on the national touring circuit. Following great success with Bombshells - including a two-year tour of Ireland, a summer residency at Fota House, and an American tour culminating in awards for Best Play and Best Ensemble in the 2010 Bethlehem Press Awards - Jasango are on track for another hit with this wittily observant and achingly funny play.
Aron’s play introduces us to Angela Lipsky, once half of Angela and Max, the world's happiest couple. That was before Max (affectionately nicknamed "Roundhead" ) unexpectedly dumps her and runs off with Rosa, a young Mexican woman who barely speaks a word of English. We join Angela on her poignant and hilarious journey as she rebuilds her life, finding herself adrift in a sea of weird sexual encounters, sneaky solicitors, phone-in counsellors, a bad case of hypochondria and the spectre of poverty. We follow her progress from messy marital break-up to a full divorce. Along the way we meet an array of extraordinary characters. These include daughter Vanessa, foreign cleaning ladies Meena and Leena, Ms Chang, Max/Roundhead, Bibi from Brooklyn, Dr Stedman, Jake the Vietnam veteran, Finlay the slightly camp Londoner, Mr Glute the chemist, Mr Tripp, Julie, Sylvie, Melody-Ann, Dr Epstein, and many others.
The title role is played by another Angela, Angela Ryan, co-founder of Jasango Theatre. Angela completed an honours MA in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway and worked in Galway in theatre and film for 10 years before establishing Jasango with Jasmin Finn in 2009. My Brilliant Divorce is an acting tour-de-force that highlights Ryan’s incredible energy and range as she swaps roles and accents at breakneck speed.
“She’s a character that really bounded off the page for me when I read the script,” Ryan says. “And there is the Galway connection there as well with Geraldine Aron so that appealed too. Angela Lipsky is a character that I think audiences can really connect with, she’s a very real woman. We’ve been getting a great response to the show so far on our tour and I’m really looking forward to doing it in Galway.”
My Brilliant Divorce is directed by George B. Miller, Artistic Director of Selkie Theatre. Miller also directed Jasango’s Bombshells and has an impressive array of Irish and American directorial successes under his belt in a career spanning over 40 years.
In keeping with Jasango’s commitment to promoting women artists, the production also features a photography exhibition by Lisa Daly. Taking the script as the starting point, Lisa has produced a collection of fun, thought-provoking photographs which will be displayed in the theatre lobby at every venue on the My Brilliant Divorce tour.
Another Galway-based female artist, Reidin O’Meara, will also be featured at the event. Reidin holds an honours degree in Textile Design from GMIT and her work explores the traditional culture associated with the female role.
The show also features an original music composition, ‘Don Chroi Naofa, composed by Attracta Brady, a graduate of UL with an MA in traditional music, and specially arranged for My Brilliant Divorce.