‘Asking for It’ author will see her play for first time on Friday

‘Asking for It’ author will see her play for first time on Friday
Meadbh McHugh who adapted Asking For It for stage, Author Louise O'Neill, Julie Kelleher, Artistic Director of the Everyman Theatre and Anne Clarke, Landmark Productions at the launch of the stage production of Asking for It.Pic: Darragh Kane

CORK author Louise O’Neill will see the stage version of her best-selling novel Asking For It for the first time at its world premiere in The Everyman tomorrow.

She has met the cast and seen a run through but wants to experience the full effect, along with her loved ones and the rest of the audience.

“I wanted to save myself for the opening because my grandma is going to come, my family, and my boyfriend, so it will be a really special experience watching it with them,” she said.

This production, performed by a cast of mainly young actors, shines a light on the experience of a young woman whose life is changed forever by a horrific act of violence one night in a small town in Cork.

The Clonakilty writer said the topics raised in the book were ones she was keen to address.

“It was always my intention to challenge some of the stereotypes around female sexuality and sexual violence, around rape culture and consent,” Ms O’Neill said.

“I never predicted the success of the book and now to see it translated to the stage, it is incredibly exciting.”

Once a budding actress herself, she said having the premiere in her home county means a lot.

“Theatre was my first love. I wanted to be an actress as a teenager and was involved in a lot of... productions with Kilmeen Drama in Rossmore,” she said.

Everyman artistic director, Julie Kelleher, said there is a lot of excitement around the show, which runs until June 23.

“Ticket sales are going really well,” she said.

“Seeing how the audience are responding to the show and how much the story resonates, they have a powerful connection with the main character and the whole story.

“It is also such a gift to have a world premiere like this in the city, it is unusual. But it is a Cork story by a Cork author and there was no real question about it.”

She believes theatre is a great medium to tackle the thorny topics raised in the story.

“Theatre offers an immediate connection with the experience of the characters,” Ms Kelleher said. “I think theatre offers a great way to explore these issues and bring you to the emotion of the people involved.”

Meadhbh McHugh, who adapted the book for the stage, is delighted with the way the production has turned out and hopes fans of the book will embrace it.

“The cast are incredible, young actors, some just out of college, they have been amazing,” she said.

“There are so many brilliant people involved in this theatre production, from the director to screen stuff and sound and dance.

“I felt such a responsibility to get the story right and this version is very faithful to the book.”

Ms O’Neill believes the play has the potential for success around the world.

“I think Landmark (one of Ireland’s leading theatre productin companies) is hoping to show it in London and New York,” she said.

Initial reactions to the preview shows have been overwhelmingly positive, so everyone involved in counting down to Friday’s premiere.

“I have been getting loads of messages from people who went to see the previews and the two words people keep using are ‘shell-shocked’,” Ms O’Neill said.

“People are blown away by what they have seen and that is due to the talented production team and cast who have taken this story and made it their own.”

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