'At the moment the cast is more petrified than excited': Cork Arts Theatre to re-open doors tonight

'At the moment the cast is more petrified than excited': Cork Arts Theatre to re-open doors tonight

Director Marion Wyatt, left, with cast members, back row from left, Martin Gould as Br Murphy, Martin Blower as Bill Cronin, Kieran O'Leary as PJ, Aaron Kearney O'Neill as John and Sean Ahern as Edgar Kelly. Front from left, Marie O'Donovan as Alice, Una Ryan as Cissie, Regina Cooney as Nonie and Emily Byrne O'Mahony as Lily, during rehearsals for As Some Tall Cliff, at the Cork Arts Theatre. Picture: David Keane.

CORK Arts Theatre will open its doors tonight with the venue’s first live play since Covid-19 restrictions were partly lifted.

Marion Wyatt, who is the director behind As Some Tall Cliff by John Power, has been rehearsing tirelessly with her cast and crew to make the show one to remember.

Set in the Cronin household in the northside of Cork city, the production will take place against the acoustic backdrop of Shandon and the sound of the Echo Boys. The Dixies and other hits of the ‘60s will also add to its nostalgic element.

Marion Wyatt, who directed The Sunbeam Girls, Shawlies, Dockers, On Albert Road and most recently Katty Barry, Queen of The Coal Quay, said she was proud to be producing a play that is often referred to as a “Cork classic”.

She added that the energy levels among the cast and crew are extremely high ahead of opening night.

“At the moment the cast is more petrified than excited,” she admitted. “It’s been so long since they have done anything live. Unless you practice, you lose it and I think that’s a worry for people. However, we’re all professional and know that everything will go according to plan.”

She said the relationship between the audience and cast defied description.

“It’s a spiritual thing. People come to enjoy themselves and the actors are there to serve the audience. That marriage between the audience and the actors is something that defies description. It’s hard to explain but once they hear the first chuckle at a joke or the moment they feel it’s ringing true for someone in the audience the nerves disappear.”

Ms Wyatt described the audience as like the missing link in the chain.

“Each time a new layer is being added but the missing link is always the audience. The atmosphere we are feeling as a company is huge. To be opening the door and welcoming people has created an amazing atmosphere. The marriage between the audience and the actors is difficult to explain. It’s like a beating pulse you can’t get anywhere else.”

She emphasised that those working in the arts have always been extremely resilient.

“From the moment we walked into the read-through we had started on this journey. Each step of the way has been exciting. People in the theatre always keep going no matter what happens. That’s always been the way in the industry. The only thing that will stop us from getting on stage is government regulations but other than that there is no doubt that we will keep moving forward.”

The director and actor said she is feeling positive about the future.

“In general, everything is looking very positive as people have been extremely supportive.”

The play will feature a number of well-known actors from Cork including Martin Blower, Regina Cooney, Seán Ahern, Úna Ryan, and Marie O’Donovan. Kieran O’Leary, Martin Gould, Emily Byrne O’Mahony and Aaron Kearney O’Neill will also take to the stage.

The show runs from today until Saturday, July 31 with the exception of Sunday, July 25.

Booking is limited.

For details see corkartstheatre.com

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