As rehearsals got underway, director Brian Molloy, and the rest of the team behind Vermilion Productions presentation of David Mamet’s ‘Oleanna’, spoke in this video about the play and their thoughts on staging it at the Mill Theatre Maureen O’Hara Studio in the Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin, during November 2013.
Two other sides of the creative process
The visual identity for 'Oleanna', created by Sam Caren for the print and online material, combines two elements that capture the multiple ways of interpreting this play. The two faces drawn head-to-head in the brushed chalk dust of a college blackboard are separated by the dividing line of the red graphic, which is reminiscent of psychologist Edgar Rubin’s face/vase optical illusion. Together, both elements suggest the ambiguity and ambivalence of some of what is presented in the play and the barrier to understanding that exists between the teacher and his young student during their close encounter.
The music composed for the play by Kevin Nolan set out to do something similar in sound. In the 'Off-Stage Thoughts' video (see above), Kevin says that his response to the brief was to capture the mood and essence of the play in the structure and rhythm of what he composed. At the core of the piano music he created, there is a repeating motif in the left hand with a melodic narrative built on top. As the melody is established, the coherence is deliberately disrupted by discordant elements, which echo the conflict that unfolds. The multiple aspects of the play are mirrored by four or five musical ideas, which open and close each act. A variation of that music is featured in the short promotional video. The music used in the play consists of three short pieces based on elements in a longer 'Oleanna Suite' (5m25s), composed by Kevin, which you can hear using the player below.
John & Carol - teacher and student
Director: Brian Molloy
Brian studied Drama and Theatre at NUI Maynooth and has been actively involved with many theatre companies as an actor and director for over 20 years. He has appeared at the Mill Theatre in productions of Out of Order Minister, How the Other Half Loves, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Charley’s Aunt, New York Stories, Present Laughter and recently as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and Duncan, Porter and Murderer in Macbeth for Mill Productions. He was delighted to direct Ballaly Players 2011 production of Unoriginal Sin at the Mill Theatre main stage and a number of short plays by David Ives at the Maureen O’Hara Studio.
The Professor 'John': Declan Brennan
In the past year Declan has played Tomás MacDonagh in Dublin and Galway and also Patrick Pearse at the Rotunda. He was Lennox and the Doctor in Macbeth for Mill Productions and read from Joyce’s Ulysses for Bloomsday. His work on sound and visual media design this year has included Macbeth, Calendar Girls and Frank Pig Says Hello. He also works as a voice over artist and narrator and holds an MA in Drama and Performance Studies from UCD.
Earlier roles include Patrick Pearse in Eugene McCabe’s Pull Down a Horseman, Bill Adams in David Tristram's comedy Unoriginal Sin, The Atheist in Within the Gates by Sean O'Casey, The Cardinal Inquisitor in The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, King Creon in Sophocles Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus (trans. by Yeats), Victor Velasco in a production of Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon, The Narrator in Our Town by Thornton Wilder, which opened the Mill Theatre, Dundrum, in 2006, John Corbett in The Words Upon The Window Pane and King Conchubar in On Baile’s Strand by W.B. Yeats and the iconic doctor in Albert Einstein Meets Dr Who by Justin Richards at the Young Scientist Exhibition, RDS, Dublin in 2005.
More information on some of these roles and Declan's work as a voice over artist is at www.declanb.com
The Student 'Carol': Aoibhinn Finnegan
Aoibhinn’s prior roles include Vera in The Servant, various roles in New York Stories, Amy in Charley’s Aunt, The Goddess Iris in The Tempest at the Iveagh Gardens, Mary Reilly in Mill productions Tarry Flynn, Ger in Bar and Ger, Scrooges Niece in A Christmas Carol, Angela in Like a Virgin, Puck in a Midsummer Night’s Dream and Mollser in The Plough and the Stars. Recent Awards include: The Assunta Delaney Bursery at the One Act Finals 2010, Best Actress Palmerstown Drama Festival 2010, three gold medals at the World championships of performing arts in Hollywood, LA in 2010 where she won a scholarship to the New York Conservatory of Performing Arts.
Aoibhinn presented The Artswave on Dublin South FM for the past two years. She runs her own school of Speech and Drama in Donnybrook, Spraoí Academy of Speech and Drama. She has an M.Ed. (Drama in Education) from Trinity College Dublin.
Producer: Óran O'Rua
Oran began acting and directing with UCD Dramsoc, where he was awarded the Irish Student Drama Association's Best Actor award in 1998. While in UCD Dramsoc, he adapted for the stage the Robbie Hyland poem, What Has To Be Done, and directed the ensuing production entitled, Betrayal. A member of Balally Players since 2003, he has played diverse roles both on and off-stage, including Casimir in Aristocrats, Cripple Billy in The Cripple of Inishmaan, Barry in Happy Birthday Dear Alice, The Covey in The Plough and the Stars and Feste in Twelfth Night. In 2008, Oran directed a new piece of Irish writing entitled, The Moon Cut Like A Sickle, by Ken Armstrong, and has since gone on to direct and produce a number of one act and full-length plays.
Throughout 2012, Oran was a participant on the Fishamble Theatre Director Programme based in the Mill Theatre. Most recently with Balally Players, he directed The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, which was performed in the Mill Theatre in March 2013.
Composer: Kevin Nolan
Kevin is a composer of electronic and orchestral music. From his own project studio, KNECT, he composes for TV and theatre, as well as art works.
Completed work to date includes music for numerous RTÉ and TG4 documentaries, music and sound for more than twenty theatre productions, and music for Blackrock Castle Observatory Science Centre in Cork (BCO). Kevin recently completed the UCLA Film Scoring Programme, which is run in Ireland in collaboration with Screen Training Ireland. Kevin is also a member of Forum IRCAM, the French institute for research into computer music and acoustics. Future plans include a live event of electronic and acoustic instrumental music to take place at BCO.
Graphic Design: Sam Caren
Sam’s work for this production involved creating a visual identity for use in print and online. The image of the two faces drawn in the chalk dust of a college blackboard is a central feature of the posters and is also in the graphics used on the web and in the videos. He based his design on an idea suggested by the barriers to understanding displayed and experienced by both characters in the play and his view that "where conflicting accounts or interpretations are involved, the truth invariably lies somewhere in between. Most of what is perceived is subjective, there is little that is definite when it comes to communication. Tone, inflection, body language, all of this can turn a simple comment or gesture on its head. There are two abstract lines in the design. Beyond that your perception of what their interaction suggests is your own".
Following his graduation from UCD with a degree in English and History, Sam went on to study creative advertising and design at DIT. He was a member of the prestigious 2013 ICAD Upstarts programme, after which he began working in advertising as a creative with Ogilvy Dublin and then an award-winning Art Director with Rothco, the independently owned international advertising agency based in Dublin.