FARM play at the Lir


The LIR, Ireland’s National Academy of Dramatic Art, situated on Pearse St, recently played host to a meeting of worlds of what to most people’s minds are true opposites: country life and city life.

The LIR and WillFredd Theatre brought the production FARM to the core of the capital in July. FARM is the brainchild of Willfredd’s artistic director, Sophie Motley and the intention behind the production was to quite literally bring the rural into the midst of the urban. At first glance, theatre might not seem the wisest way to do this but FARM was no conventional plot-driven performance. Executive Producer Kate Costello provided some insight.

“The director Sophie currently lives on a farm in Wicklow, and commutes to Dublin, and so she really started to notice the distinction between the two locations. That was the start, wanting to do a production where the two were brought together.”

The production was intensely researched with locals that Sophie knew personally. Rehearsals were kept open to the public and elements of the show as it developed were discarded or incorporated according to their responses and suggestions and even a turn of phrase. In conversation with NewsFour, Sophie explained, “The catchphrase of the show, between cast members was ‘Anything that doesn’t work has to go’. It came from an interview we did with a farmer. He was talking about the farming life, but it just jumped out at us as soon as he said it, and became the guideline.”

The show was very kinetic, based around dance, movement and song, and the presence of tools and how they are used in work. “It’s about capturing that sense of pace,” Sophie explained, “rural pace is ‘things are done when they’re done.’ In cities, it’s ‘I’ll meet you here, from this time until this time’ then it’s off to the next appointment.”

The ultimate aim, she explains in conclusion, was getting the appeal right. “We wanted a theatre-going audience, and we wanted a non-theatre-going audience. When we had a crowd who were half farmers one night, we knew we were on the right track.

FARM will be at the Big House Festival, Castletown in August.
Images permission Kate Costello.

By Ruairi Conneely