The Arc: the latest installment in our theatre project, and how to buy tickets
Tickets are now on sale for a rehearsed reading of our collaborative play, featuring contributions from Tom Murphy, Enda Walsh, Sonya Kelly and many more
PLaywright and actor Sonya Kelly in How to Keep an Alien
In the latest instalment to The Arc, our collaborative theatrical project with Dublin Theatre Festival, Sonya Kelly has built on the narrative ground established by Deirdre Kinahan, Tom Murphy and Enda Walsh.
As part of the project, we asked 10 playwrights to contribute to a play, with each adding a few pages to what has gone before. The play is being written during this year’s festival, and will receive a rehearsed reading this Sunday, October 12th, which will be directed by Annabelle Comyn.
The next parts of the play will be published on irishtimes.com/culture in the coming days, with contributions from Bush Moukarzel, Brokentalkers, Stacey Gregg, Michael West, Genevieve Hulme-Beaman and Kate Heffernan. Tickets for this exciting project are now available for just €5, with proceeds going to charity. You can buy them here on the Dublin Theatre Festival website.
La Reine Claude: Part IV by Sonya Kelly
MULCAHY: I don’t.
PAULINA: You do.
MULCAHY: I don’t.
PAULINA: You do.
MULCAHY: Oh, no I don’t.
PAULINA: Oh, yes you do.
MULCAHY: Ah Jesus! Stop!
MULCAHY: I don’t like this genre. Fecking bloody two camera shot theatre, EastEnders bloody panto machine! Let’s back track here for a minute, get a little perspective, hah?
MULCAHY takes a painting out of his briefcase without revealing it. He marches downstage left and waits.
KAROLINA reads his mood, walks downstage left and takes out a microphone stand and places it under the trompe l’oeil. A chicken drumstick sits in the microphone stand in place of a microphone. MULCAHY speaks into the chicken leg. A soft light appears over the A trompe l’oeil but not enough to make it out so clearly.
MULCAHY: Extreme Realism, ahem. Extreme realism, the art of representing an image where everything is in focus, where everything you see is literal as if the image itself, be it a bowl of plums or a beautiful queen might with time disintegrate off the canvas…
Mulcahy’s phone rings. Karolina answers it.
MULCAHY: Who is it?
MULCAHY: I’m not home.
KAROLINA: Er ist nicht hier im moment.
Karolina hangs up.
MULCAHY: The goal of extreme realism is to capture a moment in paint like a photograph snaps a picture, to make the flesh pulsate under the skin, to catch the slightest glimmer of thought or expression and carry it off the canvas and into the mind of the viewer so you look at it and think, This woman is forlorn. This woman is forsaken.
The trompe l’oeil slowly becomes more visible. It reveals itself to be an image of La Reine Claude, which is also the face of Paulina. In it she holds a handkerchief to her eye like she is crying.
MULCAHY: To own a portrait is to purchase a piece of a soul, to exchange a moment of public joy or private sorrow for money. It cultivates a desire to interact with its subject, to carry forward this exchange of feelings. The problem of course with extreme realism is that after a time the experience of looking at it becomes less extreme. You tire of it. The figure in the portrait has left you nothing to imagine. It is too real and so you being to look for other methods of expression, less realistic subjects that allow for deeper insight into their souls.
A light slowly comes up on another painting to reveal an impressionist watercolour of KAROLINA represented as a housemaid.
MULCAHY: Now the question here is, long after you stop feeling anything for the painting, does the painting continue to feel anything for you?
MULCAHY and PAULINA are locked in a frozen look. The doorbell rings. KAROLINA gets up and answers it.
SFX of seagulls and water.
MULACHY: Who is it?
KAROLINA: Galway Bay.
MULCAHY turns the Percy French painting to reveal a landscape of Galway Bay.
MULCAHY: Tell her to call back later. (holding the look with Paulina) This ladies, is a three hander. Now, about the shoes…
The lights fade to Pretendy Land by Percy French.