Clodagh Corona and the cosmopolis of Tralee

Judith Ryan brings intensity to the challenge of Microdisney

THE official prelude to the one-woman play ‘Microdisney’, opening Thursday March 1 for three nights at Belltable is: “Vamoosed from the place where she’s been cocooned for many years, Microdisney begins one day when Clodagh Corona, barefooted, returns to the ‘cosmopolis’ of Tralee she once called home.”

The language is that of playwright/ director Neil Flynn, a Tralee based writer rooted in theatre, film and TV. With Knight Hall Agency in London, Flynn’s skill with a pen and on stage won ‘Microdisney’ the Belltable:Connect award worth €6,500 at the inaugural Limerick Fringe Festival a year ago.

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This award’s support is sourced in professional development, offering rehearsal space, performance space, a technical team, box office and marketing to a show hitherto unknown but that fared brilliantly against Fringe’s 30-something acts.

Two years ago, by way of introduction through former Belltable and Siamsa head Karl Wallace, actress Judith Ryan found herself reading a ‘Hot House’ 25-minute monologue by the playwright for Siamsa Theatre. Called ‘White Rabbit’, “it was the seed of Microdisney,” explains Ryan. “Neil went away and developed it full length.”

So the actress, herself a Tralee woman with an interesting latent vocation as veterinary nurse, finds herself on stage each night in this consuming journey of the mind and past through her home town.

“It is the story of a woman who would be that bit different, quirky, telling the story of her life. The piece speaks a lot about different things and without hitting you over the head with them. It is subtly written. The woman Clodagh escapes from a psych ward and makes her way through the town of Tralee.”

That her escapade is locked into known geography is foil to the fantastical flight towards ‘white rabbits’ “and the language is very much its own – poetic, lyrical, local, idiomatic. It is earthy and grounded” in an elemental way, keening with the ocean, the lick of bracing wind and… a past invoked.

Her adventure is divided into 10 fragments and No. 9 is a collision wave.

“‘Microdisney’ is quite dark and so is life,” Judith Ryan says with a grin. “There’s humour in it”.

She speaks of the sheer physicality demanded of her by this part, “There is an awful lot of movement in it and the use of different voice pitches. The work is as technical as it is emotional.”

Catch this intriguing premier on the professional stage and hub that is Belltable, March 1 to 3 at 8pm, booking on