Red Bear’s new production is an enthralling live theatre installation that brings the energy of the Irish Sea to audiences, in the most unlikely of places. This August and September with the help of Axis Theatre, Ballymun; Civic Theatre, Tallaght; and Draíocht, Blanchardstown, NEPTUNE CALLING will perform at 18 different outdoor locations in the greater Dublin area.
The show, directed by Tracy Martin (shortlisted for the Stewart Parker Trust Major Bursary in 2015 and nominated for the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best New Play in 2019) – is a mixture of sensory experiences, paralleled with a beautiful script by Eoghan Quinn, (Stewart Parker Award nominee and recipient of the Irish Arts Council’s “Next Generation” Award in 2019). The voices of the show will be Aoibhéann McCann (Best Actress, Irish Times Theatre Award 2020) and Geraldine Plunkett (best known for her role as Mary McDermott from the much loved RTE TV series, Glenroe) and a choreographed movement piece will be performed by dancer Robyn Byrne.
Quinn introduces us Sara, who like the rest of us, has had a tough year too. The one thing that’s gotten her through, is her daily dip in the Irish sea. It cleanses her soul, enlightens her spirit and focuses her mind. And what she’s decided to focus her mind on is her career as a fledgling journalist, and specifically on an article she’s been commissioned to write about “conspiracy theories”. Through her research, she meets Helen, a retired music teacher who now barely leaves her home, and is so obsessed with online misinformation.
Through hours of phone calls and interviews the two women eventually become close. However, all the time Sara is questioning Helen’s sanity – she herself starts to hear voices. A voice from the sea, calling her name and she can’t refuse it’s pull.
The mechanics of this new site specific production:
The NEPTUNE CALLING audience will arrive on site to be seated deck chairs and given headphones through which they will hear waves crash, seagulls holler and swimmers greet one another. As the performance starts the the sound focuses in on Sara; her thoughts and the conversations she has with herself, Helen and most importantly – the sea.
In front of the audience is a beautiful 5ft high platform covered in mirror tiles, reflecting and changing with the sky above. It seems to hover on the grass. Attached on one side is an iron ladder up which the audience then watches Sara, played by contemporary dancer Robyn Byrne, climb. As we listen to her innermost thoughts we watch her battle with the pull of the water.
Robyn Byrne (dance)
Sound Design: Andy Walsh
Aoibhéann McCann is one of the country’s most accomplished young actors. She won Best Actress at the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2020 for her performance as Blanche DuBois in the Lyric Theatre’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. She was among the cast of Rough Magic’s production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream who won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Ensemble 2019.
She also has a robust television & film CV, featuring in Vikings (MGM), Redemption (ITV), Three Families (BBC), to name but a few. Aoibhéann is a busy voice actor.
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