Eggsistentialism: a bird’s eye look at babies

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September 8-10 at Belltable, 8pm show
September 8-10 at Belltable, 8pm show

IT IS interesting how much support a new theatre piece exploring one woman’s desire to have a child, or not, has received. The theme of ‘Eggsistentialism’ by Limerick woman Joanne Ryan is “a comical quest to uncover the ifs, hows and crucially the whys of reproducing her genes”.

Her exploration could be perceived as marginalised or wimmin’s things and yet attracted nine worthy stakeholders such as Limerick Arts Office and Arts Council.

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Take it that this production, a fledgling nursed through HatchLK workshops and Fishamble’s writing clinic, is ripe. Ryan herself is an A-flight actress who engages characters of wild differentiation.

‘Eggsistentialism’ will stage at Belltable in preview on Thursday September 8 at 8pm and premier on September 9 and 10 before cracking on to Dublin’s Tiger Theatre Fringe Festival.

How personal is it? She laughs.

“All of it. I wanted it to be not a one-woman-show and not to be autobiographical but that was the voice coming through as I was writing. I stuck to that and am delighted I did so”.

From a past in journalism and stand up comedy, she was among the writers who undertook professional development through HatchLK’s programme that operated out of Belltable under the UK’s respected Theatre Uncut.

A stipulation was that writing projects had to be political and “my preference was for it to be around gender”.

The comic touch came naturally despite her distinction in heavy parts: more recently Bridgie Cleary, and Joy Davidman in ‘Shadowlands’, each with Bottom Dog Theatre Co.

Ryan has gone through the rigour of stand-up in Dublin and in Limerick’s Dolan’s Bar and The Blind Pig.

“When I was moving to Dublin, my father died suddenly in 2013 and that put the kybosh on that”.

Making the transition to writing interwove with theatre tours.

She promises that “‘Eggsistentialism’ is not a stand up show, it is very theatrical”. Director and dramaturg Veronica Coburn is someone whose input she acknowledges as “phenomenal”.

Other influences are Ryan’s loved mother whose presence is pre-recorded in the show for an intergenerational link; the legacy of her grandmother; and “the sexual history of the nation”.

Interestingly, her chap Rob plumbed his feelings and thoughts around issues of parenthood, gender advantage and timing to share in this “madcap odyssey”.

Video and animation direction by Neil O’Driscoll and lighting will bring “personal, historical, social, political” context to the fore while Sinead Diskin manages a soundscape of other voices played by Ryan. and other effects.

Book this inventive world of make belief or  babies at www.limetreetheatre.ie