So this evening was the premiere of ‘Miss Julie’ in the Pearse Centre on Pearse Street (Great Brunswick Street before independence). The Centre has a modern theatre out at the back of the building that was installed at the same time as the ritzy Trinity Capital Hotel next door was being constructed. The hotel offered to build and donate the theatre to the Centre if they could house hotel rooms above it. As a result there is a small but modern wood decked theatre in the back garden of the Pearse Centre which is great for plays and also has a high speed free Wifi courtesy of the hotel next door.
However the Centre itself, remains the old Georgian building that used to be the home of the Pearse Family and their stonemason business. The most famous of the family was Patrick Pearse the famed teacher, poet, Irish language revivalist and Irish revolutionary whom became the embodiment of the 1916 Rising. He was a also apparently a big old homo but unlike Roger Casement who’s been claimed by the gays as one of us, thanks to his ‘Black Diaries’, Pearse remains more of an enigma. His poetry portraying his love for the unfairer sex is pretty lurid though.
Never mind – at least with Casement in place as an official gay hero of independence, there’s already a touch of swish about the founding of the nation. And a human rights giant to boot. That’ll do nicely.
A very nice house the Pearse Centre is too. It’s been lovingly restored and the grand high ceilings in the Georgian rooms are atmospheric. A suitable venue for ‘Miss Julie’ which is set in the kitchen of a 19th century Swedish manor house. Our play was set in the upstairs drawing room which we’ve dolled up to look like a kitchen.
The play went well. As I am merely the glamorous assistant director my tasks are more of less complete now. Once a play starts it is removed from the hands of the director (never even having been in the hands of the glamorous assistant unless the director calls in sick one day) and the actors run with it. You can given them notes and suggestions, but they find their own pace and steer that ship themselves.
At the end of the show I ran downstairs to open the front door to let the audience out – having been warned by the centre’s management that the front door was to be kept closed to prevent randomers entering the building.
Someone was pounding on the front door. I opened it thinking that it would be our Brazilian stage manager who was off tonight because of work – I stepped into her role this evening, and performed the sole set change, halfway through the show.
It was a guy in his twenties I would guess. He seemed to be speaking in tongues. I flinched back. What were these sounds emanating from him? Squelchy, swallowed words. Then it clicked. Bhí sé ag caint i nGaeilge (He was talking in Irish – the Irish language alphabet has only eighteen letters meaning it sounds nothing like English whatsoever).
Since I finished school I would reckon my attempts at speaking my native tongue have been limited to the pidgin Irish when abroad, and when you want to communicate incommunicado. I only caught the last word he spoke.
It was ‘Misneach’. I remembered that word – it means courage.
‘There’s a theatre show on here, it’s just finished.’ I proclaimed in a snooty manner. I’m not actually snooty but I had no idea who this person was or why he was here and I was in (glamourous assistant) directorial mode, hence the clipped manner of my speaking
He was pleasant and friendly and explained that he was meeting his group at the centre. I told him that we hadn’t been told about any meeting and that we needed to lock up and arm the alarm. After a minute checking he realised that he was in the wrong place that evening. All was well.
I gave him a flyer and told him to come to the show. And to bring ten friends.
I googled ‘Misneach’ when I got home. It is a non-political Irish language group campaigning for the revival of the Irish language. It is opposed to both colonization and capitalism. Sounds like my cup of tea. I am a communist that believes in my creature comforts. An armchair socialist with deep sympathies for the looney left.
I read that they had defaced John Redmond’s face with the number ‘35,000’ on the official council flag hung from the Bank of Ireland building on College Green during the 1916 commemorations. I laughed. Redmond was opposed to women getting the vote, and didn’t actually want independence, so why was he being remembered in the official remembrance of 1916. The 35000 was to represent Irish lives lost in fighting for Britain in World War 1.
Then I read that they had participated in protests against Facebook when it implemented its real name policy, as it would mean that Irish language names might become unacceptable. Right on sister.
The last reference to them online was when they were protesting the far right German group Pegida’s meeting in Ireland.
I like the sound of Misneach. I hope they all come to the play.