Hob Nailed Boots Theate Company


The Aran Islands

The Aran Islands

Performed by Tegolin Knowland & Sean Coyne
Adapted & Directed by Eamon Grennan

by Hob Nailed Boots
Theatre Company

The Aran Islands
by JM Synge

From Castle to Abbey
A dramatised history of Kylemore

Gogarty's House
The story of Renvyle House Hotel

The Donkey & Gone with the Fairies
2 short comedies

Images of Ireland
Told through drama, music & song

First performed at Clifden Arts Festival September 23rd 2009.

"Give up Paris . . . Go to the Aran Islands. Live there as if you were one of the people themselves; express a life that has never found expression."
W.B. Yeats to J.M. Synge, 1897.

Between May 1898 and October 1901, John Millington Synge, a Dubliner, spent just under four months (accumulated over four seperate visits) on Inishmaan, the middle island of the three Aran Islands lying off the west coast of Ireland. His first visit was in May - June, 1898; his second in September, 1899; the third in September, 1900; and the last one occured in September, 1901. From the diary and notebooks he kept while there he composed his volume The Aran Islands, completed in 1901, but unpublished until 1907. It was in this same year, 1907, that his masterpiece, Playboy of the Western World, caused riots when performed for the first time in the Abbey Theatre. Having written a number of other plays (some of whose plots had their originating seeds in material in The Aran Islands), as well as prose pieces and a volume of poems, Synge died in 1909, at the age of thirty-eight.

Poster - JM Synge 'The Aran Islands'

Eamon Grennan (a well known Irish poet) has taken a number of fairly representative moments from The Aran Islands and turned them into a kind of collage to represent as much as possible what the book is like, so we can give as best we can something of it's flavour. We call this a 'dramatic recital'. That's because it's not a play, but it makes use of play-like elements. But perhaps the most important part is played by Synge's own narrative, and to get that across we've divided him into two seperate voices - a female voice and a male voice, with the female voice (Tegolin Knowland) often being the more lyrical side of Synge and the male voice (Sean Coyne) the factual side. Then there are other characters, both male and female, and these are played by Tegolin and Sean also.
It is partly a romantic lyrical evocation of this wild place, partly a series of anecdotes, partly an almost anthropological study of the people's lives, their habits, thair folk-tales and so on.
The response both in the 'dress rehearsal' preview and in the festival performance at Clifden Arts Festival was very warm and enthusiastic. And so it seems as if this 'dramatic recital' works.
In terms of theatrical baggage it is minimalist: two chairs, a lobster pot, some nets, a box for sitting on, and a simple audio device which Sean operates at intervals to produce our few sound effects.
As to length: the piece lasts approx 50 - 55 minutes.

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