An Interview with Muireann Kelly
THE MUMBLE : Hi Muireann, so where are you from & how did you end up in Glasgow
MUIREANN : I am originally from Westport, Co. Mayo in the west of the Republic of Ireland. I came here to train at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland(in those days known as the RSAMD).
THE MUMBLE : What was it that first attracted you to the Theatre
MUIREANN : I was taken to see touring theatre from when I was quite young. As an teenager I went to boarding school in Dublin and was lucky enough to have been taken to see both Theatre and Opera, we also had very inspiring music and drama teachers. From very young I’ve always loved the immediacy of the live event and grew to be fascinated by the bond between an audience and live performance.
THE MUMBLE : There is a great rapidity to the PPP process : how do you find the pressure to get things right i nso little time?
MUIREANN : It is a challenge for sure, and I’ve tried to get A’s ahead and prepared as we could be with our production. I have directed at Oran Mòr before and learnt a lot from the last time and this has informed the whole process but particularly the subtitling process.
THE MUMBLE : Last Tango in Partick will be performed almost entirely in Gaelic : how are you handling the subtitles
MUIREANN : The subtitling process is a very long and time consuming one, and as the artistic director of Theatre Gu Leòr, a contemporary Gaelic Theatre Company, I’ve learn more and more with each Gaelic production about subtitling. The aim each time is to try and find an artistic solution to integrating the subtitles into the design as much as possible so that they become a part of the set and world of the play and not an option add on. This also requires 3 different drafts of the scripts, the Gaelic original, the English translation and a condensed subtitle draft. It is not necessary to subtitle every word, as it becomes impossible to read and also a huge amount of the play is communicated by what is happening live and through the physical interaction of the actors, so it is important to strike a balance and allow space for the audience to engage with the live action too. We then work hard on recording timings and the spacing and speed of the delivery of lines and between lines each time we do a rehearsal. Then that person controlling the subtitles is Q-ing them as accurately as they can to mirror the timings of the actors delivery, that they have become familiar with in rehearsals. I think if you notice the subtitles, we’ve not done our job. We are very lucky to have Clare McNeil on the team who is a Gaelic learner and a technical Stage Manager and brings skills she has learnt in both these and does an amazing job.
THE MUMBLE : What is it about the play that stood out from others during the open submission process
MUIREANN : I was not involved in the open submission process or the commissioning of the play. Representatives from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, MGAlba, The National Theatre of Scotland and A Play a Pie and a Pint chose and commissioned the play. Alison Lang, the writer then worked with the then literary editor at The National Theatre of Scotland dramaturgically on it, developing it. I presume they were drawn to the title, the dance element, the age demographic of the characters thinking it would work well for a PPP audience.
THE MUMBLE : How are your three cast members – Mairi Morrison, David Walker and Iain Begg – getting on together. Have they acted with each other before?
MUIREANN : They all know each other as Gaelic Theatre is a pretty small world. Mairi Morrison and Iain Beggs worked together on Theatre Gu Leòr’s last production Shrapnel which I directed. They are all at different stages in their careers and having more experienced actors work with younger actors is always important in terms of developing the Gaelic drama sector.
THE MUMBLE : What emotions & thoughts do you expect the audience to experience in the aftermath of watching
MUIREANN : Last Tango in PartickI hope they will enjoy the brief romance not just in the piece but the also with the Tango itself. I think that having a character like Moira as a middle aged woman on stage taking control of her own destiny, is something to be celebrated.