DruidO’Casey: Rehearsal Diary 5

Assistant Director Katie O'Halloran's diary from Weeks 9 and 10 of DruidO’Casey rehearsals

27 June 2023

A change of venue offers the gift of fresh perspective

Moving to The Mick Lally Theatre to rehearse for the past two weeks has engendered a forensic investigation of the text and onstage action. In the rehearsal room, the cast and creative team are exploring more in-depth questions and observations about each play. The process of excavating new understandings of rhythm, style and intention from these plays we’ve been working on for the last ten weeks is both fulfilling and rigorous.

The first week in Galway consisted of rehearsals of all three plays. Focusing on one play per day allowed us to address questions we had yet to consider and remedy moments of onstage action and speech that lacked the specificity we’re striving to achieve. Once we discovered solutions to these formerly vague moments, cast and creatives were able to discuss the practicalities of achieving the precise style and rhythm that O’Casey’s writing commands. Whenever we collectively reach a new level of intellectual comprehension of O’Casey’s words, it is time for the actors to write this newfound understanding of the text through their bodies.

Our second week in The Mick Lally Theatre was our chance to observe and note full runs of each play. After a week of meticulous rehearsals in Galway, it was heartening to witness the leaps we’ve taken towards more precise and engaging storytelling.

When we were rehearsing in Dublin, Druid Ensemble members would encourage us to remember that “something magical happens when we all move to Galway.” The work that’s taking place inside the rehearsal room is of paramount importance, but conversations and explorations of O’Casey’s plays go beyond the walls of The Mick Lally Theatre. There is a focusing that occurs when a Druid production moves to Galway. Working, living, sipping pints, sharing meals, sea swimming and strolling into town together allows us to stay fixated on the text, remain curious about what others view as aspirations or obstacles in their own performance, and collaborate in an effort to develop new ideas and find solutions even outside the rehearsal room.

In the past two weeks, we’ve discussed the ways in which The Plough and the Stars, The Shadow of a Gunman and Juno and the Paycock can be likened to pieces of music. O’Casey’s characters can be thought of as individual musical instruments; they each utilise a unique rhythm of speech, thought and action, and possess a particular sound by clinging tightly to their own identities, principles and objectives. The work we’ve done in our first two weeks in Galway has allowed us to tune this orchestra that is the Dublin Trilogy.

As we move into the Town Hall Theatre for tech this week, we’re eager to discover the ways in which the set, costumes and technical elements will enhance what we’ve accomplished in rehearsals. The union of each creative department’s work on stage will undoubtedly allow for O’Casey’s purposeful dissonances and august harmonies to ring out in performance.

“Oh, tha’s a darlin’ song, a daarlin’ song!”

Katie O’Halloran
Assistant Director

Read more rehearsal diaries
DruidO'Casey Rehearsal Diary 4
DruidO'Casey Rehearsal Diary 3
DruidO'Casey Rehearsal Diary 2
DruidO'Casey Rehearsal Diary 1

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Images by Ste Murray