Barefoot in the ‘cosmopolis’ of Tralee

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Judith Ryan as Clodagh Corona

THE prelude to the one-woman play ‘Microdisney’, previewing this Thursday 14, 8pm only at Belltable reads: “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 planned Friday 15 show will not take place due to a change in programme.

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The language – dense with musicality – is that of playwright/ director Neil Flynn. He is  a Tralee based writer rooted in theatre, film and TV, attached to publisher Knight Hall Agency in London.

Flynn’s skill with a pen and on stage won ‘Microdisney’ the Belltable:Connect bursary worth €6,500 in support at the inaugural Limerick Fringe Festival a year ago.

This award is sourced in professional development offering rehearsal space, performance space, technical team, box office and marketing to a show hitherto unknown. Flynn’s fared brilliantly in the theatre element to Fringe 2017’s 30-something acts.

We were to see ‘Microdisney’ in early March but unseasonal snows stalled all.

By way of introduction through the former head of Siamsa Theatre and Belltable, Karl Wallace, actress Judith Ryan found herself reading a  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 a latent vocation as veterinary nurse), finds herself on stage at night in this consuming journey of the mind and past through her home town, literally.

“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. This woman Clodagh escapes from a psyche ward and makes her way through the town of Tralee.”

That her escapade is in known territory 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 wave, the lick of bracing wind and a strange past invoked.

Clodagh Corona’s adventure is divided into 10 fragments and No. 9 is collision time. “Microdisney is quite dark and so is life,” Judith Ryan remarks 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”.

At Belltable, previewing Thursday 14 at 8pm. Book on venue manager www.limetreetheatre.ie