The Morning after the Life Before

Performed by Ann Blake and Lucia Smyth. May 24-26 at Belltable

ANOTHER premier for Limerick in this hot and happening season. There’s a new play about to open at Belltable by Ann Blake, Limerick theatre maker and of The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra,

‘The Morning After The Life Before’ celebrates that pivotal moment when Ireland became the first country in the world to support Marriage Equality by popular vote – exactly two years ago.

See it at Belltable on Wednesday May 24 for three nights before moving on to Friar’s Gate, Kilmallock on Saturday 27, 8pm shows. ‘The Morning After the Life Before’ is booked then to tour Canadian fringe festivals in London Ontario and Montreal.

“This is a true telling of my own story,” observes Blake, who came out as gay aged 31. She is engaged to partner Jenny Hannon since 2012. “[Coming out] for everyone is different and this play a few years ago was different. It was my own way of canvassing and is now a much bigger piece – it is its own show”.

Expectations are there, given her provenance with Wildebeest Theatre Company and The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra’s concert series of Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison as Gaeilge with Liam O’Maonlaí. There was the hit musical and CD for City of Culture 2014, ‘The Unlucky Cabin Boy’. Powerful stuff.

Back to the present. We hear of “a personal, entertaining tale of weddings, coming out and arguments over who takes out the bins.”

“Expect it to be very personal and honest and entertaining,” warns the playwright. She is an able comedic writer (‘TAN’; Choke Improv). “I am a big fan of approaching serious matter with lightness. I have a wonderful co-performer in Lucia Smyth who plays about a 1000 different characters, including Jenny”.

Blake looks back on the suspended world that she and other gays lived in prior to the May 24 vote in 2015. Her core-deep feelings on the referendum vote were “profound, crazy, that realisation that we are all equally citizen”. She pauses:

“It was unhealthy that there something in the constitution that made people lesser… When we got engaged, we could not make any plans at all. It’s bad for you, wears away at you.

“The whole lead-in to the vote and the personal debate was very trying to get through.”

This resulting drama is directed by the formidable Paul Meade of Gúna Nua. Meade is a Limerick talent on the international stage with shows such as ‘Little Gem’ and Origins Irish Theatre Festival, NY. He is a past collaborator.

The play’s development was supported by Limerick Arts Office and Fishamble Theatre Company’s New Play Clinic.

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