A new book on Irish Theatre, Scholarship and Practice by Leitrim native and IT Sligo lecturer, Dr Rhona Trench, providing a unique insight from practitioners and academics, was launched by actor Stephen Rea in Dublin last Friday.
Edited by Dr Rhona Trench, Lecturer in Performing Arts at IT Sligo, the book, “Staging Thought. Essays on Irish Theatre, Scholarship and Practice” also includes contributions from three of her colleagues at the Institute – lecturers Frank Conway, Dr Agnes Pallai and Suzanne Colleary. Playwright and member of the Abbey Board Tom Kilroy wrote the foreword to the book.
According to Dr Trench, who is also Vice-President of the Irish Society for the Theatre Research (ISRT), one of the objectives of the book is to draw attention to the collaborative work involved in any production. Some of the essays examine the work of practitioners who help realise their work in performance, while also considering the relationship between creative work and audience.
Frank Conway’s essay “The Sound of One Hand Clapping” provides an informative look at the work of a designer, exploring particularly his experience of designing the Abbey theatre’s production of MarinaCarr’s “Ariel” in 2002. Dr Agnes Pallai looks at the numerous roles involved in the production when a Hungarian theatre company in Romania staged Brian Friel’s “Translations”. Suzanne Colleary’s essay “God’s Comic” examines stand-up comic Tommy Tiernan’s technique in investing his own life in his performance and how through exaggeration and timing he manipulates his audience.
As well as featuring the perspectives of experts in scenography, physical theatre, dramaturgy and stand-up comedy, the collection includes academic contributions drawing from anthropology, psychology, sociology, gender studies and performance studies.
“The book was inspired by a conference that the Irish Society for Theatre Research held at IT Sligo in 2009”, explained Dr Trench who in her essay explores the blend of Irish and European Theatre processes which the Sligo-based Blue Raincoat Theatre Company incorporated in their production of W.B. Yeats’s The Cat and the Moon (1926) .
Dr Rhona Trench, a native of Carrick on Shannon Co Leitrim, is Programme Chair of the BA in Performing Arts at the IT Sligo, where she lectures in DramaStudies and Directing for Theatre. Her last book was “Bloody Living: The Loss of Selfhood in the Plays of Marina Carr” (Peter Lang, 2010).