Skank & Chickie
Photo: Ste Murray
We try to make theatre that has an impact, that sparks a conversation. In making theatre, we're telling stories, stories that we think are important and we want people to have a conversation about them. With a show like In Arabia We'd All Be Kings we think there's some really important conversations to be had so we've come up with a few things to help make that conversation happen.
To have a conversation we need people to have that conversation with so we're really making an effort to make it possible for as many people as possible to see the show. With that in mind we're keeping ticket prices as low as possible so that people can afford to come along with tickets just €10 for all June performances and €10 concession tickets for all the shows in July.
But we know making our show accessible for people isn't just about cheap tickets. There are lots of barriers that sometimes make it difficult for people to come along. We really believe that theatre should be open to anybody who wants to come along. With that in mind we're offering free touch tours prior to the performances on Saturday the 4th and Wednesday the 8th of July for blind and visually impaired audience members an hour prior to the show starting. We're really keen to hear other ways that we can make this show, and our future work, as accessible as possible for our audiences so as many people as possible can experience the work so if you've any suggestions on how to do that we'd love to hear from you!
We also want to share our story of making the show with you so we're having the first of our Talkback Thursday sessions on Thursday the 2nd of July with a Meet The Makers session after the show with some of the creative team offering their insights into how the show came together. We've also got some other great post-show discussions lined up that we'll be letting you know about really soon!
Like we said we want this show to start a conversation so come along, let us know what you think, and join in that conversation. We can't wait to see you there!
Being a set designer in theatre is a relatively new experience for me. I've trained and worked as a costume designer for many years now. Since beginning my masters in Set and Costume Design with the Lir last Sept, I've a much stronger understanding of how these two design elements in theatre are so intrinsically linked. In set design; from mere words and ink, arises a great and provoking world for the characters to engage with and become a part of.
As a set designer, I have to put myself not only the shoes of the actors characters, but also the audience. I believe the audience members are the most important of all of us involved...(Sorry Mr. Director!). Simply put, without the audience, there is no show. I design with the audience in mind at all times. The more practical aspects of design such as sight lines and seating plans are dealt with early on in my design process, so I don't get too carried away with a spectacular design, that only a fraction of my audience can ever see!
When designing this show, I decided upon a style that was akin to selective realism. I feel that this bar is the centre of their world. Their port in the storm so to speak. Although the world outside is changing rapidly through gentrification, time seems to stand still inside their bar. In my design, the bar reflects the characters inner emotion states. It is run down, in disrepair and no longer a functioning member of society.
Although full of heart, the bar, and its people are struggling to find where they belong or fit in in this world today.
This is just a brief outline of my interpretation of the play and the angle I'm taking in my design. The wonderful thing about theatre is that everyone has a different interpretation of the same work, so I'm very excited to hear what people take from the show!
Now I must return to the reality of lists, calls, emails, props, builds, polystyrene, flats, paints and my scale ruler , in order to make this world a reality!
Sarah Foley - Set Designer
Costumes from the 1999 production of In Arabia We'd All Be Kings directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman.
How many pairs of shoes? 20ish
Trousers? I've actually forgotten how many.
Animal print? Used liberally.
Costumes are one of those of things in theatre. They help transport the audience to the world of the piece, and helps the actors to get into character.
So, no pressure.
I started getting costumes for the show pretty much as soon as I knew who was in it. It was an exciting task, and couldn't wait to get stuck in.
I remember a particularly joyous conversation on the phone to our director, Liam, when I realised the 90s were back in vogue in the middle of Penney's. (It's so hot right now)
So between that, and countless charity shops from Dublin to the wilds of Mullingar, we managed to find exactly what we were looking for. There was no better feeling than seeing something, and knowing that it was perfect for someone. And it happened time and time again.
I even raided my own wardrobes and jewellery boxes for "vintage" pieces. Being a hoarder has finally paid off.
We had our fittings late last week before our photoshoot. It was wonderful to see everyone transform into their characters. And like what they were wearing. Sure, some things didn't work out, but that just means we know what will now.
I can't wait to see the finished show. It's a blinder of a play, and I'm delighted to be a small part of it.
Jemma Curran - Costume Designer
Photoshoot days are always some of the most exciting when you’re working on a show. It’s often one of the first times that you see things come together. Costumes go on, characters emerge, and you can capture it and share it with people for the first time so it's a really exciting day.
Strolling into the rehearsal room and seeing everyone pulling on costumes (which really look amazing) was such a buoyant feeling. From the crop tops to the neon scrunchies I found myself transported to New York in the 1990s. Packing up and strolling to the shoot location there was an unmistakable air of excitement around. This was it. This was sharing what’s being created, what’s been stewing in minds for months for the first time with people outside the intimacy of the rehearsal room.
The show is set in New York as Rudy Giuliani begins his transformation of the city. The city changes forever and that change has a major impact on the lives of lots of people, particularly those characters at the heart of the show. It’s that snapshot of a changing city that Guirgis captures so well and walking through Dublin with a cast of costumed actors I really began to see how that plays out in Dublin in 2015. Like New York at the time Dublin is a city that's changing rapidly. As a city changes it often leaves some people behind and we tend to forget they exist. The show makes you remember them again, to see them, and the city in a new light and that's incredibly powerful.
The photos look incredible as well and we can't wait to share them with you as well soon. You'll finally get a first glimpse at the cohort of characters who inhabit the world of the show and then I'm sure you'll be just as excited as we all are!
One week of rehearsals down, only 3 to go! Exciting times ahead.
The first week of any rehearsal is usually kind of uncertain. You don't know how prepared everyone is going to be, you don't know what problems are going to arise. This rehearsal has been very different!
The show's already in a fantastic state. The cast have gotten used to each other quickly, and the energy and enthusiasm they bring is exciting to watch! Our visual design is coming together at a very fast pace; thanks to Jemma, our costume designer, we're already all set for costumes! You'll be seeing some of them very soon!
We will be staging this play in the Traverse. The best way I can describe how it looks is it's a bit like a sandwich. The audience is the bread, and the performance space is the meat! The actors are surrounded by audience on two sides, instead of just performing to a typical auditorium. It's been a lot of fun rehearsing this way, and I've been struck by how much this staging aids and enhances the piece. Our setup lends itself to a powerful, intimate atmosphere. When you arrive at the Players Theatre on the night, you are going to find yourself immersed in the world of 90s New York!
Next week, we're moving further and further ahead as we finalize the final set and costume designs! Everything is falling into place very quickly... this is going to be a fantastic show. More updates to come soon!
Finally, Some Yank's Theatre Company has a proper website! Quare Posh.
If you're only just discovering us, here's what you should know about us. Some Yank's Theatre Company is a company dedicated to producing work that isn't seen enough in Ireland. This ranges from new writing, to revivals of well-known but seldom-performed plays. Lots of American imports in particular. The plays we produce deal with dark topics like depression, oppression and abuse with a light touch, finding the humor and hope in the darkest of situations.
We're currently hard at work on the Irish premiere of In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, by Pulitzer Prize-Winning author Stephen Adly Guirgis! First readthrough in the Lantern Centre went down a treat. Check out some of the photos from our initial readthrough! We've got a fantastically diverse cast, whose training and performance credits range from The Factory, to the Lir; from the Abbey, to Fair City.
Want to help us make this show the best it can be? Check out our Indiegogo campaign right here! Donate, or refer some friends!
More updates this week as we dive into rehearsals.....
The show will be running from June 29th to July 11th in Players Theatre at 19:30 nightly. Tickets are available here.