Thursday 18 January 2018

'I wanted to explore why young people in particular are the ones who can be mobilised as foot soldiers'

Patrick Pearse as a hard-core feminist is just one of the creations in Sian Ní Mhuirí's 16 and Rising, writes Anita Guidera

Sian Ní Mhuirí
Sian Ní Mhuirí
Cast members from '16 and Rising' on Dublin's quays.

IF the Easter Rising was to happen today, what would it look like, where would it take place and who would be the participants?

This was the challenge writer, producer and director, Sian Ní Mhuirí, set herself.

"I wanted to explore why young people in particular are the ones who can be mobilised as foot soldiers in a revolution so I started to explore what a revolution would look like today to come up with a modern correlation."

Small wonder then that nine of the cast of 12 in 16 And Rising are female, young and spurred into action by a housing crisis, emigration and unemployment.

Pearse becomes an openly gay, hard-core feminist; Markievicz, a Polish woman and long-time Irish resident, and Clarke a Nigerian woman who has spent ten years living in a Direct Provision Centre.

The action meanwhile shifts from the GPO to Google Valley, the Shelbourne and 'a prominent theatre near O'Connell Street'.

"It's a bold leap," laughs Ní Mhuirí.

"I jokingly call it dubious historical revisionism, but a lot of thought has gone into it. It is a very humorous play with a lot of black comedy. They take over the Shelbourne and what it amounts to is something like the Battle of the Bogside with barricades and Molotovs.

"It is about space and who owns space and where there is space for young people in contemporary Ireland."

Sian Ní Mhuirí is now seeking a producer to take this spoken word piece to full theatrical production.

16 and Rising, which was developed as part of Arts Council Ireland's ART:2016 programme, will be performed in the Town Hall Theatre Studio in Galway on Friday November 11 and November 12 at 8.30pm. Admission €12/€10

Irish Independent

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