Live theatre returns to Ballina with decadent Eden

Patrick Ryan as Billy in 'Eden', which is coming to Ballina next month.

Patrick Ryan as Billy in 'Eden', which is coming to Ballina next month.

Decadent Theatre Company is leading the way toward the resumption of live theatre and ambitious touring with a 20-venue national tour of Eugene O’Brien’s award-winning drama, Eden.

Directed by Andrew Flynn, it comes to Ballina Arts Centre on Friday, November 12 as part of its journey across Ireland through October and November.

Eden is a story of stale love and fresh lust in the Irish midlands and a searing exploration of marital breakdown and taboo topics such as Irish masculinity, sexual dysfunction, and Ireland’s relationship with alcohol. The play’s two brilliantly drawn characters open their hearts to audiences with honesty, humour, and heartbreak.

From the writer of the hit RTE drama Pure Mule, Eugene O’Brien’s drama won Best New Play at both the Irish Times Theatre Awards and the Stewart Parker Awards in 2001. It has been performed in London’s West End, on Broadway, and translated into several languages.

Eden has been plagued by plagues, but the tense two-hander is ideally suited to the Covid era, according to Flynn, artistic director of Galway-based Decadent Theatre Company.

"This year happens to be Eden’s 20th anniversary," says Flynn. "It premiered in 2001 and bizarrely, that tour was cancelled because of foot and mouth disease. Social distancing is intrinsic to the play because the two characters are completely alienated from each other. The play’s structure demands that the characters never meet, interact or touch. They are in their own worlds on the stage and don’t even know the other is there.”

With twenty Irish venues from Cavan to Kerry booked for autumn 2021, Decadent is attempting to anticipate every Covid scenario. Traditional live performances with full capacity audiences are, of course, the hope. A multi-camera filmed performance will be ‘in the can’ to maximise audiences and worst case, to show if theatres are forced to close.

Starring Maeve Fitzgerald and Patrick Ryan, Eden’s sterling creative team includes Ger Sweeney (set design ), Ciaran Bagnall (lighting ), and Carl Kennedy (composer/sound design ). It contains strong language and adult content and is suitable for ages 16+. Running time is 80 minutes with no interval.

Decadent Theatre Company is firmly established as a leading force in Irish theatre and Flynn is one of the busiest directors at work today. Touring is in Decadent’s DNA, which has brought live theatre to 34 venues of all sizes across Ireland.

Since founding the Company in 1998, Flynn has developed 33 productions and 23 tours. In 2019 alone he directed five productions by five Irish playwrights that toured to 21 venues in 14 counties.

His most recent production was Kevin Barry’s There Are Little Kingdoms as part of the Galway International Arts Festival in September 2021. An extensive tour of David Harrower’s Blackbird is planned for 2022.

Always one of Ireland’s busiest directors, Flynn will also direct Donal Ryan’s From A Low and Quiet Sea, adapted from the novel, and the Irish premiere of Martin McDonagh’s West End hit, Hangmen.

Eden’s national tour is supported by the Arts Council’s Touring and Dissemination of Work and Capacity Building Schemes and RTÉ Supporting the Arts.

Eden by Eugene O’Brien will play at Ballina Arts Centre on Friday, November 12, at 8pm. Booking at www.ballinaartscentre.ie

 

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