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Tullamore Amateur Drama Society to take on Marina Carr’s play for children ‘A Giant Blue Hand’

Published: 21st October 2014

Tullamore Amateur Drama Society have become the first Irish local production company to take on Marina Carr’s play for children ‘A Giant Blue Hand’ especially for Hullabaloo Offaly’s Children’s Arts Festival.

The play will be performed in Tullamore, Clara, Birr and Edenderry over the midterm break next week. 

Offaly native Marina Carr is now lauded as ‘one of Ireland’s most important playwrights since Beckett’, and not only will it be TADS staging this work, but it will be the first staging of the children’s play in Ireland since it was commissioned by the Ark in 2009. Marina herself is excited about the prospect : “ I’ve only seen one production of it which was The Ark one…so I’d really love to see this production, see what they do with it”.

Marina is a strong advocate of children’s festivals and all things Hullabaloo! “I don’t think we’ve enough stuff for children. And they’re the most vulnerable members of society because of that. You’ve got men in suits making decisions - they don’t tend to think of the 3 or 5 year old - unfortunately it’s the way the world is. But I think it (Hullabaloo!) is an absolutely wonderful idea…and children watching live theatre are an astonishing thing to witness. I remember, in The Ark show, just watching the kids in the audience and their absolute concentration and argument with what was going on. You could see it on their faces. And I think more of that stuff – storytelling, music, painting - all of the arts, just makes for really well rounded individuals as they grow up. And they in turn will give that back and be able to contribute - it’s a long term thing.

It certainly became a long-term thing for Marina. Although being raised around Pallas Lake and its environs mightn’t seem like the cultural capital of Ireland, Marina says “we used to go to all the amateur theatricals…and we used to put on our own plays”. She laughs at the memory. “I mean the absolute anarchy of children putting on plays, writing them, staging them… we had the most horrific plotlines with people in vats of boiling oil. We had a crucifix and used to crucify people -you name it! But then, at the end, everybody lived happily ever after”. Apparently she doesn’t have to reign in the dark side of her imagination too much in writing for children? “No, you do, obviously you do because you’re writing for children, so you have to have a happy ending. But within that there’s a great journey to go on…you can still have monsters and demons and witches roaming the territory. Children are well able for that. They’re freer in their imaginations than we are’. In fact, the idea for ‘TGBH’ actually came from a child’s imagination: “The Ark asked me to write a play for children… And one of my sons, who was 5 or 6, said ‘Why don’t you write about a big blue hand coming out of the water’. And I thought that sounds like as good a place as any to start, so that was it. Now obviously, when you break that down practically, how on earth is a giant blue hand going to snatch up a mother and baby? So the director has to come up with an imaginative representation of how that would be done”.

Local directors Fionnuala Corrigan & Frank O’Brien will be sure to do just that in their production of ‘The Giant Blue Hand’ which is on in Edenderry Town Hall on Wed 29th Oct at 7pm (book on 057 9357400) in Clara Family Resource Centre on Thurs 30th at 7pm (book 057 9331928) a special performance in Tullamore Central Hotel on Fri 31st at 4pm (tickets from Midland books) and in Birr Theatre and Arts Centre on Sat 1st Nov at 7pm (book 057 9122911) All tickets €3.

To check out all other artistic events that are occurring in Hullabaloo! over the October Midterm – see www.birrtheatre.com or www.offaly.ie and follow the links to a fantastic Hullabaloo!

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