View From The Green Room: Deevy’s little known ballet staged in Dublin

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  • TitleA View From the Greenroom: Deevy's little-known ballet staged in Dublin
    Degree of recognitionRegional
    Media name/outletWaterford News and Star
    Media typePrint
    Duration/Length/Size650 words
    Country/TerritoryIreland
    Date05/07/2022
    DescriptionSETU Arts and Drama has been flying the flag for recognition of Teresa Deevy’s work. The Passage Road playwright, who had six plays staged in the Abbey during the 1930s, is undergoing a revival thanks to the work of Doctors Una Kealy and Kate McCarthy along with the drama Department at SETU.

    Literary exhibitions based on Deevy’s life and work were curated by Maynooth University and the South East Technological University (SETU) recently, and an academic conference taking Deevy as its focus convened in 2021.

    A collection of essays on Deevy’s work will be published in 2023 and, earlier this year, it was announced that Deevy’s dramatic works will soon be set texts in the Junior Cycle English syllabus following a meeting with the NCCA and SETU.

    In 2017, Amanda Coogan directed Dublin Theatre of the Deaf in a ‘shapeshifting’ of Deevy’s one-act play, “The King of Spain’s Daughter”, called “Talk Real Fine, Just Like a Lady” in the Peacock Theatre.

    Quigley and Jones co-created and performed in that production which reimagined Deevy’s 1930s text as a contemporary commentary on how sexism, ableism, and audism (prejudice against deaf people) continue to impact on Irish society today.

    “Talk Real Fine” attracted excellent reviews and confirmed the reputations of Coogan, Quigley, and Jones as innovative and exciting interpreters of Deevy’s work.

    Coogan calls her current exploration of Deevy’s work ‘The Possession Project’ and she, Jones, and Quigley plan to develop it into a production for Dublin Theatre of the Deaf.

    All three artists have unique insights into Deaf culture and Deaf experience as Coogan, an internationally renowned performance artist, is also a hearing CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) and Jones and Quigley are Deaf.

    Staff from SETU, led by Dr Úna Kealy, have also created a satellite project around Coogan’s Possession Project entitled ‘Lyrical Bodies’.

    Funded by the SETU Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity fund and the SETU Research Connexions fund, Lyrical Bodies supports Coogan, Quigley, and Jones in their creative and research work and contributes to increasing awareness, inclusion, and respect for those whose experience of the world is sensorially different.

    Jones makes the point that Deevy confounded what society expected of a deaf woman and argued that “Deevy’s life is a brilliant example of the success possible when hearing and Deaf people work together collaboratively”.

    Kealy also concluded that “Deevy’s way of working shows excellent collaborative skills, creative innovation and persistence. Her text, Possession, explores the hollow and self-defeating impact of possession by force and our collaboration, by embracing ideals of access, collaboration and equal participation, is enriched as a consequence.”

    Teresa Deevy actually came to theatre on the advice of a speech and language therapist who taught her to lip read while she was in London. She advised Deevy to attend West End productions because actors enunciated their words so well that they were excellent tutors for deaf people.

    Teresa’s ballet certainly came as news to me as I was totally unaware of its existence. Deevy’s script for Possession is short—only three pages in total—and presents an outline of the story of the “Táin”.

    The play dramatises the Cattle Raid of Cooley but, unusually, Deevy focuses on Queen Maeve’s perspective throughout. Describing “The Possession” Project, Coogan explains “Deevy takes a woman’s view of the story of the Táin, and we are reading and creating it through our collective knowledge and understanding of Teresa Deevy’s work and her interests. The intersecting layers of knowledge, understanding and interpretation makes the project complex organisationally, but rich and exciting to work on.”

    This was another fascinating project from the Arts and Humanities Theatre Studies team which has done so much to revive interest in Teresa Deevy’s work.
    Producer/AuthorPat McEvoy
    URLhttps://waterford-news.ie/2022/07/05/view-from-the-green-room-deevys-little-known-ballet-staged-in-dublin/
    PersonsUna Kealy, Kate McCarthy

Exhibition

TitleThe Possession Project
LocationHugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
Period14 Jun 2022 → 18 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Teresa Deevy
  • Possession