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Genesis of a story

Director of Sodome, my love, Lynne Parker, explains the background to a play of truly biblical proportions

Olwen fouéré is one of ireland's most interesting and consistently innovative theatre artists; Lynne Parker, director of Rough Magic Theatre Company, is one of the longest-established practitioners in Irish theatre, in a sector known for eating its young. Both are working on a production of Sodome, my love, adapted from the French by Fouéré and directed by Parker. Lynne has a lot to say -- let's allow her to get to it.

What's the story of the play?

The story is loosely based on the biblical myth of Lot's wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The character in this work is an entirely different entity who may have been the ruler of this ancient society. Her fate is to be the one survivor but condemned by her enemies to be buried in salt, an incarceration that turns out to be a kind of suspended animation. After centuries, the rain has come to wash away the salt which has imprisoned and tormented her, and she has come back to life in our world with the intention of revenging her lost civilisation ...

What is it like to work with Olwen?

Olwen is one of those performers who simply doesn't recognise boundaries or limitations, and it's always very exciting to work with someone like that. She has wonderful intuition, so that much of the time I let her instincts take us in whatever direction. She also has a terrific sense of the practical side of theatre, and a great sense of humour, essential when you're dealing with a dark, elemental story like this.

Rough Magic has been through bust, boom and now the current situation. What advice would you give to young practitioners?

Our attitude is that we were born in a recession, and we have no intention of dying in one! Frankly, the arts have never experienced the grotesque inflation of other sectors, so we tend to be better equipped to deal with lean times. The key to survival is to keep your creativity healthy. That is done through the work, and the work is done by the people, and we bring in new people with every show. The spectrum of work we produce is broad enough to ensure that we don't get stuck in a groove. Our next production is The Importance of Being Earnest at the Gaiety with Stockard Channing! It's a constant process of regeneration. - SC

Sodome, my love is on at the Project Arts Centre from tomorrow 'til March 27th. See www.projectartscentre.ie