Cúirt Approaches!

Merchant 2 Testt


Things are getting very exciting as we gear up to perform William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” in the Cúirt International Festival of Literature, 2014. This is the last leg of our Spring Programme, which has been a phenomenal success. It has taken us all over this country and even outside of it!

Now, we plan to put the finishing touches on the whole thing with this fantastic play about power and reciprocity… One man wagers his life on a contract which causes immeasurable change to everyone around him. ‘The Merchant of Venice’ investigates bonds of all forms from legal contracts to marriages, all in a world where a one’s word means everything.

With a cast of 12 truly impressive performers and under the directorial guidance of Darragh O’Brien, this production will be one to remember.

€1705/€2000, we are 85% funded!


With our funding campaign winding up, allow us to thank all our funders. Also many thanks to Caroline Forde, Martha Clancy, Finbarr Biggins, Kate Costello, Sinead Jordan, Aron Hegarty, the students of Trading Faces Stage School and Donnacha McGrath who rounded out the campaign in style. We didn’t make the target, but have come close enough to ensure a successful tour and we hope we can count on continued audience support for this great show!

Hangin’ with Harper part two!


At the risk of sounding very silly altogether, I very much think these are interesting roles for myself and Sam, anyway, as they’re very familiar to us, and we’ve both looked at this play in our first year of college and said, now that’s a role I want to play. So getting cast as Harper was unbelievably class.

I dunno, every time I’ve gotten to do Harper and Joe’s scenes with Sam, I’ve always just felt something somewhere click into place, like a door unlocking –though I grant, that would be something peacefully clicking out of place! Sam gets it, whatever it is, and thus I feel like I’m able to catch on. But because these are characters in whose episodes we’ve experienced or witnessed too, all these huge emotions tend to –if you’ll pardon the pun- come out, when we’re rehearsing. (Not that we wouldn’t accept ‘em if they did J). Which means we end up turning into lil’ irritable bitches after long runs, as I’m sure most of the cast witnessed the other day in our first run! –This clicking comes about particularly in fight scenes. The couple bickers often, not because one is ign’nt or getting up in the other’s proverbial grill, but because they just don’t understand one another, and that under pressure to justify a thought, Harper freaks out and tries to escape the conversation, or that Joe simply cannot deal with some topics, as they are very uncomfortable for him, or he has struggled with them for so long. So every time we do these scenes, I end up with this proper-pissed off feeling in my guts that just writhes around my stomach until the next scene, or until we get a breather.

The last rehearsal we had, I don’t know why, but in our scene where we have a very small argument, that becomes a big argument and Harper gets upset, I just started getting madder and madder, and played her like a bull, for the whole thing. It’s funny, how the character comes out when we’re going the scene tends to be as diverse as how she actually acts in the play. For how predictable her swings in and out of her mind and reality are, the type of catharsis is quite unpredictable.

So I read in Sam’s blog –and who’m I kiddin’ I’ve talked the crap out of it with him- that the bit that really resonates with him is the section where Joe is asked outright if he is gay by his wife. So not only does Joe have to deal with the prospect of a sexuality that he believes to be a sin, but also the prospect of disloyalty to his wife, though we can clearly see how hard he struggles to be patient with her, and care for her. But the more I think about it, the more I tend to see Joe’s character as trying to shunt Harper’s problems into a box, and not have to deal with them on a real level, because of how consuming his own problems are. Anyway, what I really got on board with was a scene where we don’t actually argue.

In a moment of sheer comfort between the two, rather than the usual boiling pot that I had come to know as Harper, once Joe’s genuine comfort and attempts to sooth this week’s panic were voiced, I found the tenderness between them very hard to handle. The whole scene became very sad as her panics of a man being in their bedroom cranked up to an eleven, through her husband’s attempts to sooth her. It was like the branches parted to reveal the reason in her madness –like that scene in Fern Gully, where she parts the branches and he can see all this beautiful Nature and such. Yup. That scene. I realised the reason why she wasn’t “just crazy”, as no one is. She is traumatised. After the life she had been through, that is very briefly suggested throughout the text, I saw the connection in one particular hallucination of hers, and figured out the root of it. I couldn’t decided what was worse: trying to listen to Joe apologise and hear him say this was all his fault… or knowing that it was actually slightly true. At this point, I burst into tears, and didn’t stop until the end of the scene. Kushner’s a feckin’ powerhouse. What fantastic dialogue. There are these beautiful exchanges, that when you read in your head sound a little (don’t shoot me) pretentious, but once you find the heart of it, these character’s just break your own in two. Some lines in particular are just so simple, and so effective. I won’t give any more away.

One scene I was watching with Chris and Mr. Quinners, was just gut wrenching the other day. It’s just the perfect study of the affection between lovers when they’re put through hell. Or the effect of hellish experiences on lovers years later? I don’t know. It’s just really fucking good. I started asking myself were Joe and Harper some twisted insight into Louis and Prior’s future? Another one is Joe Power’s character, Roy. There are some sinkers of lines in two of his scenes, where the character is just completely rendered. I find myself feeling around in the dark, until I come across one or two lines and it’s like the play has just grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me with the answers to what I was asking!

So to sum up… wow, I’ve said a lot. Should I even add a summing up? Those of you who have made it this far, have clearly earned the benefit of the doubt of having read this much!

We’ve some beautiful scenes and bits to show you when you finally get to see it. Even to some fellow actors, I really dig getting to see scenes that have been looked at that I haven’t gotten to see. It’s like getting to watch the video, where you know what’s gonna happen in it, but not how!

Anyway, to sum up (I’ve decided that yes, I will sum up) Harper’s grand, Kushner’s great and the play’ll be a scream! 😀


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Meet our Crew!

Darragh O’Brien

This is Darragh's first project as Director. He previously played David Blaney in ThereisBear!'s production of The Last Burning.

This is Darragh’s first project as Director. He previously played David Blaney in ThereisBear!’s production of The Last Burning.

Muireann Ni Raghallaigh

This is Muireann's third production with ThereisBear!

Muireann is Producer and Stage Manager on Angels in America. This is Muireann’s third project with ThereisBear!

Susan Collins

Susan Collins provided light and magic for our Campaign Video. This is Susan's first production with ThereisBear!

Susan Collins provided light and magic for our Campaign Video. This is Susan’s first production with ThereisBear!

Susan Collins became suddenly and thoroughly involved in theatre lighting six months ago. Once down the rabbit-hole, she found theatre tech to be a very welcoming place where you can combine awesome electrical tinkering with the ability to colour-in with dramatic beams of light. It’s like playing with giant crayons.

In the hectic half-year since, she has lit an assortment of productions for NUIG Dramsoc, as well as shows for the NUIG Theatre and Muscailt festivals. Her lighting design work on Seduced received one of NUIG Dramsoc’s two nominations for Best Lighting at this year’s Irish Student Drama Association awards.

This is the first time Susan has worked with ThereisBear!; she’s looking forward to a busy, hilarious, touching, exhausting, satisfying tour.

In her spare moments, Susan is completing a PhD in Astrophysics at the Centre for Astronomy, NUIG.

Brian O’Brien

Brian O'Brien shot and edited our Campaign Video. Click here to see it!

Brian O’Brien shot and edited our Campaign Video. Click here to see it!

Brian O Brien is a Third Year BA Connect With Film Studies student in NUIG. He has made several trailers for NUIG Dramsoc over the academic year: Never Trust a Smile (2012), Twelfth Night (2013), a documentary on the Laramie Project production (2013), and won a Societies Award for the trailer for GUMS’ production of RENT(2013)

He directed his first short film in Feburary 2013, and is currently preparing it for the Galway Film Fleadh. Of all his promotional work, His video for Thereisbear!’s Angels in America is his most ambitious. He is currently the auditor of Filmsoc, and has plans involving every talented person he ever meets!

Hangin’ with Harper

So, somewhere amidst 4-10 hour shifts at work and final year exam study, I have been attempting to be in a play called Angels in America, as the character of Harper Pitt, and lemme tell ya… it is something’.

I play the “sex-depraved, pill-popping housewife” of Sam Ferry’s character Joe, a married mormon struggling with his sexuality, and his feelings about it all –which makes the whole thing sound very like one of those after-school black and white informational videos shown to high school students of the 60s. Something of a very “don’t sass me when I’m telling you to wear a condom after the sock-hop, son” ilk. But it’s actually pretty great, and very raw.

I guess I’d like to talk a little bit about playing Harper, even though it feels like quite a jip, seeing as the project has to go on the back burner in the build up to the end of the semester. So, although the play deals heavily with homosexuality, in a time when many people didn’t believe it was a “real”, I feel that characters like Harper or Louis and Sister Ella Chapter for example, can tend to be overlooked because their key points in the plot is not their sexuality (in my opinion anyway, but what do I know? I can go suck a lemon!). If Harper was the protagonist of the piece, we’d be dealing with a play centred on anxiety, and the mental effects things can have on one’s life. A very relevant topic for me. Anyone who’s dealt with me on a very personal level after about a year or two, will know how prone I am to worrying about stuff, and how panicked I can get about something not going down well, or at all. Also having a sister who has mental illness, that I do find familiar in Harper’s episodes of stress or hallucinations, I feel that I have a sort of window into her character. I recognise  her when her mind wanders – I happen to have a very wanderous mind myself of conclusion and panic jumping-tos, so I’ve had enough time in my life to think of such episodes, and thus to understand hers.

When working on a play, I tend to need work in the housekeeping stuff more than anything. Diction, Pace, Projection, the alphabet of performing that every actor learns and should have as second nature after theatre schooling or play-participating. And I was always a shit student. So I’ve always found the emotion in a character easier to perform, and the rehearsal process becomes a practice for keeping it reigned back, or when to draw it out, all through the lovely tight-rope walk of speaking loudly, clearly and not like an ignorant gom in attempting a language.

…the next edition awaits!


So, the Bears have been unleashed in the town hall.

After a ridiculously stressful few days of construction, prep-stuff, and get-ins… we are finally, finally, performing this bloody good play.



The Last Burning: A quick jog down memory lane, by Martin Kenny

Last summer, Thereisbear! Theatre Company brought Patrick Galvin’s The Last Burning on tour throughout Ireland, performing in various venues across the country: Nun’s Island Theatre in Galway, Cork Arts Theatre in Cork city, St. John’s Theatre in Listowel, Kerry, Canavan’s Pub in Tuam, Hayden’s Hotel in Ballinsloe and Smock Alley in Dublin. The play is based on the final days of Bridget Cleary’s life, the last woman to be burned alive in Ireland under suspicion of witchcraft.


Muireann Ní Raghallaigh as Bridget Cleary in The Last Burning. Photography by Matt Burke.

As this was Thereisbear!’s first foray into the world of professional theatre, the project that loomed before us presented endless challenges, some of which would have made even seasoned veterans weep. However, with a 14 member strong ensemble, a production team that decreed sleep to be for the weak, all under the guidance of Artistic Director/Director Mama Bear, Hannah O’ Reilly, the old proverb rang true that many hands make light work. I had the honour of being involved in both the cast and production team, as a Villager (not the YMCA type, more the, “I’ll burn you if I don’t trust you” type) and producer of the show.

The entire process kicked off back in May 2012 (exactly a year ago now *sheds tear*) with the casting of our beautiful/handsome actors. In the months that followed, venues were rung, posters were created, a photoshoot in Barna woods was organised, programmes were designed and printed, props were acquired, costume and fabric shops were raided, rehearsals were scheduled, characters were developed and a general mighty fine time was had. Segments from the play were staged at the Volvo Ocean Race in order to spread word of the play, and scenes were also performed at the Galway Arts Centre for the official press release. By August however, the dress rehearsal was (literally) over and the tour was underway.


Another beaufitul composition from Barna Woods by Matt Burke: the estranged couple, Michael played here by Conor Kennedy-Burke, the mysterious Mr. Blaney played by Darragh O’Brien, and the witches who haunt Bridget.

The opening few shows were fantastic, the audience being full of friends, family and well wishers from Galway. From the instant the tarp was dragged onto stage, “The Hare’s Lament” sung and the soil raked across stage, both cast and audience were transported to another time and place, the insidious and supernatural nature of the play seeping into the air. After a successful home run, the rest of the country encountered the production. Through the tireless dedication of cast and crew (here we must include the ever level-headed Ciara Moyna who was our stage manager for the duration of the tour) in the various get-ins and get-outs, we were able to organise the transport of 18 people and their luggage, costumes, set, soil and other accoutrements, and pack it all into a  hired mini-bus (thanks Seamus!). Sadly, the tour had to come to an end and by the 17th of August 2012, it was time to wipe off the make-up, brush off the soil , pack away the Russian gas mask with horns that served as the severed head of goat, and hop on the bus one last time. The production was a roaring success for the first time outing of Thereisbear!, with acclaim at every stop along the way and Patrick Galvin’s own son and daughter coming to see the show three times.

The tour was an incredible experience, one which has indelibly soaked into my brain and still colours my experience of theatre a year on. Thereisbear!, while producing top-quality productions for audiences all over Ireland, also help to create incomparable memories here in Galway amongst its cast and crew, and continued support of their work will hopefully allow the company to keep doing both.

Break a leg Bears! If The Last Burning is anything to go by, Angels in America will be a blinder.


The witches had very cold feet all day in Barna Woods, no joke…troopers! Played here by Ruth Darcy, Mary Conroy and Meghan Smyth. Photography again by Matt Burke.


ThereisBear! Photos, by Conor Kennedy-Burke :)

ThereisPhotography! Conor has been with us from the start, from the heady days of ThereisBear! prehistory, right back to the first production of The Last Burning with NUIG Dramsoc.

Conor shot the photos of Claudia we’ll be using for the Angels in America poster.

We’re unveiling the poster on the blog later this week. Until then, here’s some of our favourite snaps of Conor’s.

'I put one hand to the crown of my head, and one hand to the sole of my foot, and all between I gave to the devil.'  Jenny O'Donnell as Deirdre in The Last Burning by Patrick Galvin (Dramsoc, 2011)

‘I put one hand to the crown of my head, and one hand to the sole of my foot, and all between I gave to the devil.’
Jenny O’Donnell as Deirdre in The Last Burning by Patrick Galvin (Dramsoc, 2011)

'We prayed that the fruit of Bailey's field would be ours, that thistles and briars would grow there.'  Roísín Lynam as Janet in The Last Burning.

‘We prayed that the fruit of Bailey’s field would be ours, that thistles and briars would grow there.’
Roísín Lynam as Janet in The Last Burning.

'When I leave my house I place a broom in my bed. The broom is shaped to my shape.' Eilish McCarthy as Margaret in The Last Burning, 2011.

‘When I leave my house I place a broom in my bed. The broom is shaped to my shape.’
Eilish McCarthy as Margaret in The Last Burning.

'I have jumped over the fire. The fire is in my womb.' From left to right: back row, Paul O'Mahony, Eilish McCarthy, Hazel Doyle, Roísín Dolan; front row, Jenny O'Donnell, Teresa Brennan, Roísín Lynam.

‘I have jumped over the fire. The fire is in my womb.’
From left to right: back row, Paul O’Mahony, Eilish McCarthy, Hazel Doyle, Roísín Dolan; front row, Jenny O’Donnell, Teresa Brennan, Roísín Lynam.
The Last Burning, Dramsoc, 2011.

Teresa Brennan and Peter Shine as Briget Dolan and David Blaney in The Last Burning (2011)

Teresa Brennan and Peter Shine as Briget Dolan and David Blaney in The Last Burning (2011)

'Blood, Mr. Chokey. Blood.' Peter Shine and Teresa Brennan in The Last Burning.

‘Blood, Mr. Chokey. Blood.’
Peter Shine and Teresa Brennan in The Last Burning.

Conor Quinlan and Ruth Darcy as Nick and Honey in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (2013)

Conor Quinlan and Ruth Darcy as Nick and Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (2013)

'...and that's how you play Get the Guests' as Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (2013)

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ‘I am George…I am…’
Muireann Ní Raghallaigh as Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (2013)

Playing Joe Pitt, by Sam O’Fearraí

Sam O'Fearraí.

Sam O’Fearraí.

The very first time I read Angels in America, I read and re-read an exchange in the play between Joe and his wife, Harper:

HARPER: Are you a homo?
Are you? If you try to walk out right now I’ll put your dinner back in the oven and turn it up so high the whole building will fill with smoke and everyone in it will asphyxiate. So help me God I will.
Now answer the question.

JOE: What if I…

HARPER: Then tell me, please. And we’ll see.

JOE: No. I’m not.
I don’t see what difference it makes.

I knew then I wanted to play this character someday. When I was sixteen, a friend asked me if I was gay. I stared at her, terrified, for a very long time before I lied.

No.” I said. “No I’m not”.

I hated myself in that moment. I hated my friend even more for putting me in that position. I had told myself that if I was ever asked outright, I wouldn’t deny that I was gay. When it came to it, though, I just didn’t have the courage or the strength to tell the truth.

Sam as Banquo in Dramsoc's Macbeth. Photography by Paul O'Mahony

Sam as Banquo in Dramsoc’s Macbeth. Photography by Paul O’Mahony

I might have very little in common with Joe. He’s married, a lawyer, a Mormon living in New York at the height of the Cold War and the AIDS crisis. His background and worldview are far removed from mine. Nonetheless, I feel for him because we are both liars. We have tried to hide who we are, we’ve hated and tried to crush the part of ourselves meant for love. People might ask what a play about 80s America has to say about life in Ireland in 2013 but in Joe, this all-American boy from Utah, I see my own life, and the life stories of thousands of other Irish men and women reflected.

You don’t have to be gay to recognize yourself in Angels in America. It’s a world in which the old standbys of religion and nation no longer mean anything, where even the idea of a future is distant, dangerous and uncertain. Joe and Harper, Prior and Louis, Roy, Hannah and all the others who live in this world fight for love, hope and their humanity in the face of hideous odds. They are like us. They are us. You can see the abandonment and uncertainty young Irish people face today reflected in their struggles. Like us, they have only each other and, while Angels in America might not offer us solutions, it asks questions we’ll all have to answer.

Playing Joe in Thereisbear! Theatre’s production is important to me for all these reasons but his is only one strand in a complex and amazing story. I’m so excited to be a part of this project and to share this story with all of you across the country. My sincerest thanks to you for all your generosity and support; I’ll see you all in three weeks. 

Sam directed ThereisBear!'s last production: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Sam directed ThereisBear!’s last production: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
From left to right: Sam O’Fearraí, Conor Quinlan, Ruth Darcy, Muireann Ní Raghallaigh.
Photography by Conor Kennedy-Burke.

Ain’t we in for a Corker!

So the Get-in has begun! And while I sit in the techbox, watching Joe and Ciara light up our show, I wait. I play the waiting game. For what? I can’t say.

No, I can.  A quick blog post before hitting up Kerry to sort out prop storage and bus transport!

So we all piled into the bus and car at 3pm yesterday afternoon, after a great run in Galway, warmly played to friends and strangers alike! Including several French people and the son and daughter of Patrick Galvin himself, the latter of whom is bringing a big crowed with her to our Cork show tonight. What a cool run of a show Galway was. Including a performance on Oisin Robbins’ birthday, during which, he snook an angry cry of celebration into the mob scene unbeknownst to the onlookers! This birthday also included a cake on the following night! Where we surprised Oisin with a cake onstage in the middle of a scene. Ah, to fuck with and keep actors on their toes. A special gift I give to them indeed. 🙂 Looking forward to Patrick Galvin’s birthday in Ballinasloe, cupcakes for all who attend!! Marred only by an early morning in Dublin the following day! Oh well! As is the nature of a tour. Sleeping in transit, that’s what it is!

So we had a lovely lark in Supermacs after our last Galway show, our get-out leaving us only to locked doors of the lovely Galway Arms. -A blessing in disguise for the actors I’d say. Everyone was knackered.

Thus began the trip to Cork! The entire trip dotted with me exclaiming everything was a moose, and the gang on the bus trying to decide when and where we can hold our ceremonial, end-of-the-Southern-Leg-of-the-tour burning of Muireann.

I’m now currently waiting for the cast and crew to get back from a lunch break. I cleverly timed my breaks to when they are gone, ensuring that I am at work when they leave and  return… thus looking as though I am an unstoppable machine. It’s good to build terror in the hearts of your co-workers. So I’ll leap back to my notes of entrances and exits and transitions before they get back, feign a meek yawn, or a sigh when asked to press a button to assist the technicians and carry on, tirelessly, to their wonder and awe… I am a genius. A non-productive genius.

Anyway, lemme tell ya this: Things go awry so fancifully!

Since arriving in Cork, several transport issues have bubbled! We got here about half an hour later than expected, meaning that once we got in, the Cork Arts Theatre was closed so we couldn’t store our set, costume and props at the venue. Meaning only one thing, LUGGAGE OVERLOAD for all involved. Each person had to take on a piece or set, or prop or costume, and bring it to the domicile of those with whom they stayed.

Thanks to the lovely Jamie Hooper, and Laura Hicks and her family, everyone was housed, and now so was every THING.

The production team stayed at Jamie’s in the city, for an early get-in and deliciously-hilarious-breakfast-banter-in-the-early-morning-rain, along with all of the set. Bags and bags of soil, rakes of rakes, and kilos of material, while Laura, in her car, took every single costume and prop. This of course was much too heavy causing ThereisBear!’s first fault of car breakdown. Her car is now in the garage and the entire cast, half an hour away from the city by car, must now bus it in from her house, courtesy of her fantastic family.

Please God, no one will be too furious and these stupid slip-ups. Hence, meticulous attention to where props and shit go from now on and not to assume anything at the risk of abiding by the ‘make an ass out of you and me’ law.

Needless to say transport became a bit of a mess, so. But I’m thinking hiring small buses to bring the gang to Laura’s from the city, and to store everything in the theatres, hell or high water. Thankfully it’s just transport and storage as opposed to several other things too! *touch wood.*

Phone calls to be made. Let us hope we’re greeted as warmly as we were in Galway to give a bit of a buzz!

Onward and Upward!

The first Burning

August 3rd.


….It’s late. Maybe midnight. The actors, after their long 14 hours were sent home to get their sleep for opening night. The night is still. Crisp. Quiet. And Rory Kitt lays his head down to rest. Bones aching. Mind pummelled. Body exhausted. A sigh, a yawn of relief. The lights go out, and Rory’s head hits the pillow after the tech run of The Last Burning, the story of Bridget Cleary’s murder by fire. The twin room goes to sleep…

But then. A loud sigh. A strange breath.

Rory sits bolt upright… It wasn’t him, anyway…
“Dad?” He calls. Maybe his father decided to stay in the other bed..? No response. He checks outside. Passers by maybe? But no sign. The room, the house, the street, empty. Nobody. Just Rory.

Heart pounding, he takes one final look around. Alone, but barely. He tucks himself tightly into his covers, to try and regain what sleep is left: It begins.

August 6th

Preview done, Opening night behind us… And the show has begun. Thankfully, we got more or less an open house for our first official show. Success. Standing ovation no less. Let’s hope it gets better and better.

We begin our final day in familiar territory today. Nuns Island has been very kind to us, as has Mark “Banger” Byrne, and all at the Galway Arts Centre. So supportive and helpful!

The past few days have been hectic, and each night ends at 3am, feeling as though I’ve been hit by a transit van made of chocolate. Exhausted, broken bodied, and happy. 🙂

We spent all Friday in our ten hour tech. The most painless tech I’ve ever experienced, thanks to Joe Mc Evoy and our fantastic team of talented and patient actors. Needless to say, in the true style of those that birthed the company, there have been last minute moments, choices and so on! Rehearsing the set changes twenty minutes before the show, just to be sure we all have it. Hilariously alive-keeping, no doubt.

I was honoured to have Grainne and MacDara Galvin, the daughter and son of the playwright, attend our preview, with stellar feedback! Thank God they enjoyed it! I loved chatting with them about their father, to know more about the man who gave us this powerful play. Learning that he himself was fairly creepy and into spooky stories and Irish Mythology. Sam’s would-be best friend, so, I’m sure! The show was greeted with warm applause and a full house in the Galway Arms to celebrate the begining of the longest run-up to a show for some of us thus far! It’s been a long, long road, difficult, yet rewarding. Fun, though challenging!

So Flynn and Quilty are killing the crowds every night. Watching Rory and Oisin, and then Sam and Oisin, is simply the funniest thing a director could ask for in this play. I end up in fits laughing in the tech box at their village gomery.

So where to next, Hanbox?! To the rolling hills of CORK!

That’s right! Off to Patrick Galvin’s homeland for our first out-of-home venue! Wednesday and Thursday, the 8th and 9th to bring The Last Burning HOME!

More to come now, apologies for the brief blog, but work she’s always crawlin forward!



Good morning, Good MOOOOOOOORNING!

Who knew a cheeky blog entry could be such divilment?

No one! That’s who!

Well, it’s 7.10 am and I’m taking a quick break from the last hour of PRing and proof-reading our programme for the printers tomorrow a bit, to keep you guys in the loop. …Nothing beats the peaceful sounds of rubbish bins being emptied by the somber clanking and clunking, metal machines, I’ll tell you that for nothing! So now, to the clicking of the keys on my defunct keyboard, my belly begins to rumble!  Needless to say this early hour of work, and trying to come up with innovative ways to talking about the show online has lead to a few distractions…

…is that the sun?


Run away! Run from the sun!

These were taken at about 6 this morning!

So Pierce Cunnane really did an amazing job thus far with our beautiful programmes -which (I apologise in advance) will be a euro or two each! But wow! A sneaky peak you say? NEVER! Come see our show, this is beautiful stuff right here!  He’s the designer, also plays for this band http://www.facebook.com/Underwaterpicnic, and has been working tirelessly with Mr. Martin to keep this thing on track.

So printing thus far was a bit of a nightmare, but our posters are here! A3s, A0s in all their MAMMOTH glory!


These things are monsters! I could roll around in them, or have Muireann use them as a duvet! Getting them places is the problem. I gotta get three of these bad boys to Cork, one to Kerry and three to Dublin! including all our little A5s, which I have now dubbed the bugs of the posters. 5000 flyers is a glorious thing indeed!  I bathed in them. No, I didn’t, they haven’t arrived yet, but that would be cool. Paper cut nation. So publicity has become a big priority now. Dad is just kicking ass, with ideas for it. Signs outside for coming into town and whatnot!

That and costumes actually… We found bronzer in the bathrooms in college. Blaney’s coat now glitters slightly… Somewhere out there is a pissed off pale girl that I owe a cuppa!

I also got to check out Canavan’s pub! Small, but god, that’ll be a fun gig! Just 20 people dallying around, having the laugh, in this nook upstairs! I’m thinking that’ll be our best show what with the intimacy. We’ve a three day get-in rehearsal tomorrow in the BOI, which I’m really looking forward to. Please God that’ll be where the miracles happen. We’re a few days behind with blocking, though we got to do our first run the day before yesterday! Thankfully, Sam is taking over with some scenes, and polishing stuff. God, a fresh pair of eyes makes all the difference.He’s got some keen eye. To the extent that I wish he was more publicly acclaimed within the show. I CAN’T WAIT for his season directing. Interesting to say the least…

By the way, how hilarious is this?

(found from lolbrary)

Eimear Durnin posted it to me on facebook. This thing has been getting me through the sterner moments of the show… Look at her expression! What a gem!

Oh! And I got a gift! From the beautiful Aoife Noone who starred in Rewind by Claudia O’Sullivan not but yesterday! How lovely! It’s a play called What happened Bridgie Cleary, which follows Bridgets story in an entirely different way from Patrick Galvin altogether:



So our more current news, for you lovely readers is this class raffle we’re holding! And will continue to be holding throughout the Galway run. FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A CAMERA FOR THREE BUCKS. We’re aiming to raise 500 euro from it, and it is so amazing how nice people have been about it! Donations left right and centre, to ensure people are well rewarded for their donations! Thanks guys! Buy a ticket for goodness sake! What’s three more euro as they say?

…who is this they?!

Special Kudos also going out to our unreal countdown thing Martin’s doing! I absolutely love it! We have bits of it in our programme too.

I think this is my favourite! -That and I don’t have ‘5 days’ yet!

Okay, I really should get back to work!


The Last Hurdles

Well if is hasn’t been forever, am I right?

What’s new in the world of Bear? I’ll tell ya. This tour is looming at a ferocious rate altogether not to mention my keyboard having a bit of a balk on me at the moment. My spacebar and consonant keys seem to be convening against the good of public updates!

So the Volvo performance went down without a hitch, pardoning the inevitable too-young children shneaking in before we had a chance to mention to their parents that this is the six to midnight scene if ya know what I mean. Thankfully no giggles or storming out, but a lovely round of applause and what became a bit of a Q and A about when it’s on.

I assure you sir, I am of a playing age sort.

Has anyone been checking out the Galway Arts Festival or Fringe shows? They’re pretty damn epic. Our very own Oisin Robbins and Samuel Ferry happen to feature in Frank Pig Says Hello, which I caught on the opening night, -and which Cillian Murphy caught the day before yesterday… I’d like to think it was a little to do with me. It was excellent, I particularly enjoyed Ush and Jarlath (Francie)’s relationship! Not to mention the completely TEAR-JERKING set. GYT outdoing themselves there, without a doubt.

In more personal news: Macnas Parade! Anybody see our lovely Bridget and Foley prancing around? Or my lovely self and Mr. Martin for that matter. Up to 100 performers lashed to the streets as hard as the rain on Sunday night, I’ll tell you that much. Great fun to keep us tipping through the sloggier bits of pre-prodution!

At least the rain wont quench my contemplations of arsenal homicide.

lol…no caption was just funnier…

So our own craic!

Well, venues all done, posters all sent away for and should be arriving tomorrow which only means one thing you guys: A drive as far as Cork and Kerry to get this bad boys up and running! I had a minor cardiac event there when Print24 our lovely printers recorded each order twice, so while the posters were being done and dusted I ended up more or less whining to their customer support for the files that hadn’t been loaded despite having been loaded! But most recent news tells me they arrive tomorrow. Yayness aplenty!

Getting us up and on the road is more an expensive endeavor than I thought, I must admit! Budgeting for everything at once is painstaking! We’re spending a lot of our time balancing production and tour costs, and conducting a lovely raffle with A CAMERA as our price. How fecking cool is that?! Fletcher’s electrical in Ballinasloe are KICKING ASS sponsor-style. So those are going on sale tomorrow for three  bucks a pop and you can get as many as ya like, you lucky devils you! We’re intending this to be out fundy-raisey leg to get us over that final hump. So apart from singing ‘Do what you want ’cause a pirate is free, you are a pirate’, production is cracking along.

Our beautiful Joe McEvoy has gotten his troupes together and set has BEGUN!! * Hallelujah chorus* Prices for burlap, buttons and metal all slowly weaving its way into what will soon be The Last Burning.

Thank god I live close enough to home. My mother’s being super supportive ordering me to give her and all posters for Ballinasloe to plaster them around herself. She has a little heart attack of cuteness on seeing our bear made by Kate Rands, and has insisted we bring the bear with us, so that she may meet him and give him her blessing, as a bear. Congratulations, Kate.

Carlsberg don’t do mothers, but if they’d did, they’d probably be Anita.

So apart from that, the fabulous costume spree and prop hunt has begun, with our Power-woman Ciara Moyna joining Mr. Martin for the good fight against using your imagination for holding stuff.

I’d also like to send a big thanks again to everyone who has donated! People are still tossing a few bob our way, and I cannot say enough how grateful we are. Every bit does go a long way! Who knew that wasn’t a myth! We should do some performances outside Tescos exclaiming IT’S TRUE! or something…

So final blocking is taking place and I’ve a rehearsal to run to in an hour! Best be off. Hopefully another one will come sooner!!

A l’August!

The Race is On!

Well here we are in the ocean busy-land. No lifeboats. No whistles. No lovers to let us lie on the door by ourselves.

Naw, we’re all good. The Volvo Ocean Race (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/fr/schedule/html_40_Leg-9_page1.html) performance propped up a few days earlier, so naturally we’re a bit tight for time. As is life. I must say I have felt myself getting a bit lazy with the production side of things, juggling work, rehearsals, exercise, a casual new-found addiction to clips of Frasier on YouTube, and Sam and Ciara’s (fruitful) attempt at getting me into The West Wing and making me a less embarrassing human being to our generation, and to my parents. Apart from the odd missing out on social events, and having to hang washed underwear all over our kitchen despite fears of making my housemates blush, the show will be right on track with a bit more effort, I wager.

Oh Frasier, how could you steer me wrong?

We’re now performing on Thursday 5th, alongside our two, new, lovely ladies, Cait Canavan and Aoife Noone. Welcome to the cast gals…. You’ve tangled yourself into some kind of messy brain. Hoping to mop the whole place with some organisation, and more disciplined scheduling for my own part, to keep us going. Ironically, the most difficult thing for me has been deciding songs for the production. Picking a song with a good atmosphere, when said atmosphere has already been decided is tough stuff to be brief. We’ve gone from songs passed down from our Irish forefathers, to the Gorillaz, to just about everything under the sun, but I think we’ve our hands on it now. Sam and Muireann are bringing in some instruments, so between them, myself and Martin, I’m hoping to have a prototype song hammered down.

Aaah, the joys of getting stuff done. Cork has been emailed about our cancellation of the 7th. Why? Travel and budget. The joys of travelling with an 18 strong crew, is indeed the cost of each one of us little brats! Thankfully, I’ll be beginning our ThereisLiftoff! campaign soon, publicising online and through contacting our theatres about local participation in each show, and transport needs. So if you didn’t get to donate online or in a fiskal form, worry not. We have tonnes of ways for you all to participate in the lovely lovely show. Things like, lifts from A to B, being the main one!  I’m posting up a rota soon with each trip listed. So basically, depending on the journey, you could get a poster and picture, or a ticket to the show in exchange for acting as a roadie! What could possibly go wrong?

Say na’an

So really, at the moment I’m pretty much the worst enemy of the show, getting distracted every time I sit down to do a bit of Admin… having said that third shiny and new, new lady has been called in: LAURA HICKS! Aka, no bs with a pretty face. Gotta love a winning combination. Laura’s more or less the company Moderator, and company producer. And at the moment, taking care of all of you LOVELY fundit funders!

In other performative news, you can see some of our cast and crew ALL OVER THE GAFF before and between the Ocean Race and The Show: In Fregoli’s The Sweet Shop, teched by our own Joe McEvoy, and in Galway Arts Festival, check out Frank Pig says Hello, with our wonderful actors Sam and Oisin Robbins, and the Macnas parade, including my audacious self and Mr. Emmet Byrne. I tell ya, Andrew and Noeline have, respectively, got it going on.

Check it out at www.galwayartsfestival.com, and also support our supporters! The Galway Fringe Festival can be found at http://www.fundit.ie/project/galway-fringe-festival-1 six days to raise two grand! Not an easy feat, so give up yer aul sins, and put the price of a pint to the lovely arts, as you so kindly have before!

Enough spamming.

Holy knock it off, spam-man!

Anyway, off to fight the good fight against idleness and production deadlines!

See you in August,


And BY THE WAY. I’d just like to thank Fr. Garvey, Sylvia, Colm and Anthony from Ballinasloe, who donated to ThereisBear! a few days ago. Thanks for still believing beyond a deadline! 🙂

Grattitude: A dish best served on film.

Phase two.

So, after finally cuddlingly welcoming Enda Clarke into the cast to take on the role of Michael (yay), we began filming our Thank You video with the fabulous Ciara Moyna!

Thanks Paris, ‘preciate it.

I must say I’m really looking forward to seeing the final cut. The whole thing is a plethera of names and thanks from everyone involved. -Including me standing with men in kilts. What’s not to love? I’d love to say more, but it’s probably best to leave it until ye get to see it yourselves. I don’t want to talk it up, like everyone did Prometheus. HEYO. No, I didn’t see it.

Anyway, we also held a production meeting involving setting little tasks for the group. I’m very happy to be announcing that we will be looking for local singers, and a 3/5 year old girl to perform at their respective venues for the play. Operation ThereisLiftoff! begins. We’re inviting people to share legs of the tour by means of housing/travel -more for Cork. We did up our final budget today and lemme tell ya, what with the transaction fees from fundit, on top of six card declines, things are looking scary. But Acheiveable. We said we wanted the tour to work with a DIY ethos. So the closer to helping hands we are, the more we can invite to enjoy the celebrations and participate in making a good play happen.

I came up with the opening of the play the other day… It’s gonna be good, please God. It was great. Gave that rush of excitement for the first time in the run so far. However, it does mean that we need to go BIGGER and badder with some venues, like Ballinasloe and ‘Bofin, (as I will now lovingling call The Boff) though staying with the locality. -Not to mention having no accom in Inishbofin! -Ironic, considering we’re performing in a hotel, but these things happen. Tis a popular tourist spot, at a popular tourist time!  We’re now potentially going to be performing in TUAM during their theatre festival! Which is also very exciting!

In other news the venue of Smock Alley, The Boy’s School Theatre, is officially booked, signed and paid for. TO DUBLIN, TO DUBLIN! I’m so excited for that! I saw Oedipus, directed by David Scott there the weekend after the first time we put Burning on, and just thought, this is where our play needs to go!! So yeah, there and Ballinasloe, so far are my mileshtones. Cork’ll be really fun. Three nights in Patrick Galvin’s homeland!

We had good rehearsals today on top of which, in the wake of the GLORIOUS return of mister Oisin Robbins! JE LUI BIEN RECU, INDEED!! Roisin next, can’t wait! And hey-ho! The VOLVO OCEAN RACE!! Somewhere in that beautifully vague 2nd-6th of July, we’ll be staging snippets of the long awaited witch-scéal, not to mention all sprinkled with a dash of The Hero Returns!

In hilarious new news, the documentary is about to begin! So expect video updates of the production itself as well as me own musings! -Thank God, can’t be expecting ye to read this drivel til doomsday!

See you in August!

The long and dusty path, thus far!


Apologies for only starting up this thing now, but it has been a most hectic few days. Even as I write this, my laptop is askew over my budget list, programme prototype, an antler, my script, and Planet Word by Stephen Fry!

So what’s new in the world of Bear?

As most of you know, we’ve been fundraising to get our show The Last Burning on the road. We started up our campaign with an amazing pub quiz, hosted and attended by a lot of amazing people!

Sláinte to our FUNders

Howya, now? they says.

Then our descent into fundit.ie madness began. 140 funders later, we made €5,455…

I was as shocked as you!!

So what do you do with five and a half thousand euro worth of people believing and supporting you? I’ll tell ya what youdo. Thank ’em. Early and often. In the form of stuff, pats on the back, and an amazing play. I was at work when the congratulations texts came in from everyone saying that, apparently, ThereisBear! had made their target. And then some. I avoided the urge to bathe in 5000 euros’ worth of singles because needless to say, in Ireland, that would mean a bath of coins. Instead, we are making our thank you video. For which I’m so excited! Filming starts tomorrow, where we plan on writing the name of EVERY person who donated since our fundit campaign began, and all to a bangin’ tune that Ciara Moyna’s going to kill me for not yet having chosen.

Our press launch went down a treat too, including Dr. Patrick Lonergan from NUIG, his lovely speech, the first prototype of our poster revealed, a group of lovely actors getting to finally show their colours, and me arriving with said first poster 15 minutes late in a fabulous too-expensive-for-a-Monday-morning dress!

The Last Minute, by Hannah O’Reilly

So, prep for the launch was much tougher than anticipated, considering how cosy the event it turned out to be. The whole cast was still spread about the world (Oxford, Thailand, Malta, Canada and France) during the launch, what with it still being early days in the rehearsal process, so we had to select our scenes delicately. As in all things, it really became the tried and true theatre situation of minor details coming together in the final throws… I’m talkin 3am. ..It’s always in the wee hours that the creative juices start flowing. Darragh, Muireann and I polished their scene to cool and disturbing new places. Can you believe it?! New Places! I’ve been looking at this script for two feckin’ years and it just never stops to twist and change. So yes, on top of getting our proverbial shit together for the press launch, we also came to new and exciting conclusions and ploys to try over the next few weeks. Six to Midnight stuff, as Shaun handsomely put it. But the gang looked lovely, and performed well, and we got to say our thanks.

And didn’t we look smart?

So Hbear, what are we at now, altogether?
Lemme tell ya, one of the most difficult things to face in the face of this monster is how poor I am at getting simple things done quickly! I’m looking at the beautiful bones of our hand-painted programme, as we speak, wondering -though knowing the answer why- is isn’t a full body yet. Three minutes each page has taken so far, and I’m going at a rate of one a day tops! Ah, to have high hopes in oneself.

Dumbledore knew best.

Oh Hannah, haven’t you learned yet?

Even as I write this, I am in fact procrastinating further work for our Thank You video tomorrow …maybe the wee hours will prove a gracious mistress once again. Creative juices everywhere.

In even more exciting news, Samuel Ferry (www.wordotter.wordpress.com) found the archives of The Lyric Theatre in our college library. This is where The Last Burning was first EVER put on! In these archives was the FIRST EVER POSTER OF THE PLAY, the programme, essays by the playwright Patrick Galvin, and most impressively, letters from the playwright to the head of the theatre. This included letters about my father’s production of The Last Burning twenty-three years ago. This is how I know the play exists. He talked about how the group was going to Monaco for the International Am-Dram festival there… Dad has the placard from when they won best play in ’89. I saw that thing almost every freakin’ day of my childhood and adolescence!! Ironically, I never knew what it was until a few months before deciding to actually do the play!  A massive nerdgasm was has by all!


Also, during a fabulous afters-function of the Mornington singers, I came up with the opening of the play. And YOU are in for a treat, my friends… oh my, you’re in for a treat.

Alas, the creative flow is upon us and the hour is 2.50 am. Time to switch off and thank everyone tomorrow!

See you in August,