One woman play set for Cork's new drive-in theatre

Today, Friday July 10, this actress performs her one-woman play to a very different audience...
One woman play set for Cork's new drive-in theatre
Actress Eve O’Mahony.

By Martha Brennan

“LOOKING into someone’s eyes is a lot different to looking into their car bumper,” laughs Eve O’ Mahony, ahead of her performance at this year’s Kinsale Arts Weekend.

The Tipperary born writer and actress is getting ready to perform her one-woman play, The Cute Whore, to a very different audience setup than she’s used to - a lot full of cars.

While the world adapts to life with Covid-19, Cork artists have been busy trying to come up with new ways of displaying their craft to audiences, and Eve will open Kinsale Arts Weekend’s innovative drive-in theatre on July 10.

“It’s going to be so surreal, performing alone onstage with my headset to 35 cars filled with people,” says Eve, who has lived in Cork for more than a year.

“Cork is a very encouraging place for artists and people in Kinsale are just so welcoming,” she said.

Eve has been on the Irish art scene for years, mostly working on postmodern theatre after studying for her Masters in Drama and Theatre in NUI Galway. After spending some time in Hong Kong, she returned to Ireland to do a course on film and broadcasting.

She began work on her play, Brigid Cleary, and put on her first one-woman show two years ago, after some mentoring by renowned actor Mikel Murfi. The play is based on the true story of an Irish woman who was killed by her husband in 1895, after he believed she was possessed by spirits.

Eve’s latest work The Cute Whore is also based on a true story, 18th century Irish woman Margaret Leeson, who ran one of the most notorious brothels in Dublin. The inspiration for the play came from a TG4 documentary and after she rad Lesson’s autobiography.

Eve say: “I love stories about women who carve their own paths.”

Eve O’Mahony as Margaret Leeson.
Eve O’Mahony as Margaret Leeson.

Finding Leeson’s voice proved challenging and took 49 drafts.

“She was definitely a very charming character but was also probably deeply sad inside, ” said Eve, who added that performing one-woman shows are tough enough, without having to finish the play during the pandemic.

But she added: “I was eager to get it done and I had the time to devote myself to it.”

Eve says that the pandemic has been extremely tough on Irish artists, but she feels that people are now realising how important the arts are.

“I’ve seen some really great Irish plays over the internet during the pandemic,’ she says. I think people are starting to realise that the arts are important in Ireland. There’s been a bit of a call to arms that art isn’t just a luxury. Look at what everyone has been doing in lockdown: reading, watching films. Some of us don’t feel appreciated, and there is no job security in the art scene. But we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it.”

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