Kildare County Council Arts Office commissioned playwright Ken Bourke
to write a play with us in mind in 1997. After weeks of collaboration,
involving workshops, improv sessions and discussions, Ken brought
Strangers to the group - a one act play for no less than fifteen
people. It was based on several ideas which were thrown up during
the sessions, but principally concerned the effects of a person's
death on the lives of those who are left behind. At the time of
composition I remember there was a comet passing through our night
skies for what seemed like weeks. It was huge and slow, and was
the subject of much media attention at the time. Some of this spilled
over into our devising and improvising, filling the space with questions
about our significance in the face of death and eternity; the idea
of a remote visitor/watcher, and the concrete fact of our interconnectedness
as a race despite living thousands of miles apart in different cultures.
the play, Ken explores these ideas idea by taking us through several
character groups, each linked by one person from the preceding group,
and each in some way effected by Eugene (the dead one). As we travel
through these groups the links to Eugene become more remote and
the groups' own story begins to take centre stage. Each group has
to deal with a crisis which is only resolved, ultimately, by some
connection to Eugene.
Strangers was performed for the local community in a school hall.
Half an hour before the play the audience were invited to watch
and/or partake in some workshop games which explored some of the
issues in the play. We tried to orchestrate it so that the play
seemed to emerge from these workshops games and exercises, beginning
with a song, candles, a funeral scene, the first lines of dialogue.
The piece played on the floor amidst the audience for an hour.
Directed by Peter Hussey.
Darren Donohue, Hugh Mc Ginley, Kate Pierce,
Susan Anderson, Anne Marie Ó Sullivan, Mary Doyle, Andrew Buchanan,
David Ó Sullivan, Emer Jackson, Moll Fullam, Bernadette Cullen,
Barry Mulrennan, Kevin Sullivan, Claire Noons, Mary Clinton and