FREGOLI THEATRE Company graces the Town Hall Theatre stage next week with the play Home, described by Irish Theatre Magazine as “vibrant and heart-wrenching”.
The play confronts the issues of home and identity and how they may be jeopardised by situations beyond our control. Six characters of varying backgrounds share their stories employing Fregoli’s trademark character changing style with energy, humour, and colour.
The range of characters include an agoraphobic novelist; an Australian backpacker seeking his Irish roots; a farmer who is a fan of Fair City; an Irishman who has emigrated to Australia while his wife remains in Ireland; and a young woman from a deprived background who finds herself living on the streets.
The play was written by the cast, with the six actors scripting their own individual characters. “I wanted the company to go in the direction of devising something as an ensemble piece,” Fregoli AD Maria Tivnan tells me. “This idea was in my head since last January, though it wasn’t until June we put most of the work into it. I came up with the initial concept and the characters, and the actors started to write the parts.”
Home succeeds in weaving these separate storylines together into a satisfyingly coherent whole. “That was really difficult,” Tivnan admits. “We had certain fixed characters and we were trying to see how we could bring them together. We’d devised one play before on a smaller scale, The Secret Life of Me and our main criticism with that was that the stories didn’t really link. While that wasn’t really a problem with that play, in Home we didn’t want to just have six monologues.
“We realised we could link a lot of stuff thematically. It was a case of cutting out everyone’s written pieces and getting this big board and sticking them on and trying to see would they flow, and moving that, and editing that, and moving it around again. That took about a month to six weeks to get right.
“The context came from me wanting to have a variety of people and at the same time keeping the essence of what it is to be Irish as well, which is why I wanted the farmer in it, as myself and Jarlath are from farming backgrounds in Roscommon. A lot of the stories came from the actors personal experience, not necessarily autobiographical just things they would have picked up. Also, I have a lot of friends living in Australia, England, America and I emailed them and their responses fed into the play.”
Tivnan also highlights the effort and dedication that went into the production.
“We’re not grant-aided or paid so it was a massive commitment for six people. Three of our cast are full-time students and the others work part time. It could be difficult getting everyone together at the same time. It was a very enjoyable process creating the play but it was tough as well.”
Home features, Tivnan, Seamus O’Donnell, Kate Murray, Teresa Brennan, Jarlath Tivnan, and Oisin Robbins. The play is directed by Rob McFeely.
Home runs from Wednesday December 12 to Friday 14 at 8.30pm nightly. Tickets are €12/10 from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie