LAST WEEK was one of impressive professional development for nascent playwright/ performer Carrie Barrett, attached to Moyross Community Drama. A piece she had written as part of the group’s ‘FIVE Houses’ show last year was a finalist in The Abbey Theatre’s ‘5 x 5′ community theatre development programme.
From January 15 to 19, access sto The Peacock Theatre’s rehearsal and performance space with professional and technical supports was her reward as well as €5,000 to work with. She travels up with MCD’s Leeanne O’Donnell and Karen Wallace to begin work.
For Carrie, herself a Child and Youth Key Worker with ADAPT Domestic Abuse Services in Rosbrien, this is a major chance to develop a theatrical piece, guided by dramaturg Joan Sheehy. Another credit: facilitator to Moyross Community Group, Monica Spencer of The GAFF theatre performance hub, has been a terrific agent to Carrie and the group’s success, the writer makes clear.
“FIVE Houses’ was made up of five speakers talking of what life was like for different people experiencing domestic violence. It looked at other areas of concern such as displacement – life after Regeneration and separation,” explained the Limerick woman prior to the Dublin exercise.
“My 5 x 5 work was one of the pieces. It was just a monologue. I wanted to depict what it was like for a woman in an abusive relationship.”
“I intend to work on a new piece called ‘The Underside’ which consists of three monologues portraying the individual struggles of three different women from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. The aim is to highlight the different forms domestic abuse can take.
“There is a particular focus on the internal struggles and coping strategies of the characters, showing the strength and endurance it takes to live in these situations day after day.
“These women are strong. They are not victims, they are survivors. I hope that my admiration of their strength and courage comes across in the monologues.”
Carrie Barrett and co. have assistance from the experienced performer and director, Joan Sheehy, “in trying to bring out the depth of characters and to capture the pain, the struggle they feel. People have such different coping mechanisms in crisis”.
More anon when ‘The Underside’ comes of age by way of The Abbey/ Peacock development programme.