Cleasaí Éin: Tionscadal an Phréacháin – Trickster Bird: The Crow Project by Réaltán Ní Leannáin and Barbara O’Donnell

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D’fhéadfaimis tarraingt ar dhuine ar bith de na filí a bhí ann an oíche sin agus muid ag cur síos ar an oíche. Bhí guthanna láidre ann gan aon lúb lag ann. Ach tógfaidh muid véarsa amháin as píosa a d’aithris an file Conallach, Máire Dinny Wren, óna dán ‘Samhain’:

Le titim na hoíche

Siosarnach fríd ghéaga na gcrann –

Slua sí ar an tslí.

Bhí slua sí i láthair cinnte, mar a bhí, guthanna na bhfilí i mBéarla, i nGaeilge agus i Scots na hAlban. Is annamh a bhíonn dáil dána mar seo ann agus is in IMRAM nó An Chúirt Filíochta san Oireachtas amháin a gheobhfar cruinniú dá leithéid.

Bhí an ceol beo ag cur leis an atmaisféar, cumtha agus léirithe chun foirfeachta, ag cur leis an fhocal ó bhéal. Mar an gcéanna, an ‘cá – cá – cá’ ó ha héin a d’aithris Dairena Ní Chinnnéide ina cuid filíochta, bhí a mhacalla ann sna híomhánna a chlúdaigh cúl an tseomra, le Margaret Lonergan, agus san fhuaimrian a dhear Slavek Kwi. Focal molta anseo don cheoltóir Chaitríona O’Leary, a ghabh seilbh ní amháin ar bhriathra Béarla agus Gaeilge go cruinn, binn ach i Scots na hAlban fosta.

Curtha leis seo, ba mhór an éacht an trí ní a tharraingt le chéile – an ceol beo, an fhilíocht bheo, an fhís-scáil lán íomhánna ar chúl an ardáin. Bhí téacs gach dáin in airde ar an fhís-scáil seo, rud a chuir isteach ar na Gaeil, is dócha, ach rud a d’éascaigh an léiriú do dhaoine gan an teanga ar a dtoil acu.

Tá an amharclann tarrantach seo i Smock Alley ag cur leis an chur chuige ilmheáin a fheicimid ar an stáitse. Ní amháin go raibh filí agus fís-ealaíontóirí agus fuaim-ealaíontóirí ag léiriú máistreacht a gceirde an oíche sin ach bhí slua éisteachta sa seomra leis.  An stáitse thíos fúinn, ballaí loma cloiche agus díonta arda ar gach taobh dínn, déantar áit bheag de spás mór. Shuigh muid, mar an lucht féachana, in airde ar shuíocháin os cionn an léirithe, suíocháin a éiríonn aníos go géar chun radharc a thabhairt dúinn amhail is da mba rud é gur muide, an lucht féachana, na préacháin sa spás aerach seo. Cothaíodh dlúthchaidreamh idir a raibh ar siúl ag an fhoireann ardáin agus an lucht féachana.  Lean muid ag amharc anuas ar an dráma/cheol/léiriú sa stíl Ghréagach, inar bpréacháin, mar dhea. Mar a dúirt Máire Dinny Wren sa dán céanna, bhí ‘paidir ag gach crann’ an oíche chéanna.

Crow project image

One man, who has kept a pet crow since it’s infancy, came to Dublin on Wednesday October 14th, all the way from Connemara, to see one of the latest IMRAM Irish Language Literature Festival shows. He brought pictures with him and showed them round. He was certainly in the right place.

The beautifully sized Smock Alley Theatre was the venue for this gorgeous production by Liam Carson. The majority of conversation was conducted as Gaeilge, but this by no means excluded those of us whose grasp is limited to: “An bhfuil cead agam?” Leave any lingering inherited notions from school behind at the door. You’re entering a place where the actual language doesn’t matter.  And at the same time, it matters enormously, since this is how it is kept alive.

Field recordings of crow song from Co. Meath, created by sound sculptor Slavek Kwi, transported the audience right there to that field, watching the birds wheel and dive across any sky you could imagine. It felt remote and wintry to me, in keeping with the coming season.

The dreamlike quality of the production created the best kind of still space to explore the various mythologies of the shape shifters that make up the corvid family – crows, ravens, rooks and magpies, as well as human beings’ long relationship with them.  It perfectly evoked their many facets – intelligence, mischief, theft, murder, darkness, survival, mystery.

A stunning opener of Joni Mitchell’s “Black Crow/Préachán Dubh” as Gaeilge, beautifully sung by Caitríona O’Leary, set the tone for what was to follow. Music wasn’t the wholly traditional Irish that might have been expected. It included Schubert and Arabic airs, along with the home grown.

The multi-media production weaved Irish, Scots and English songs and poems, by a diverse selection of authors, including: Máire Dinny Wren, Dairena  Ní Chinnéide, Mark Granier, Gréagóir Ó Dúill, Liam Ó Muirthile, Bethany W. Pope, Gabriel Rosenstock and John McDonald.

This was complemented by striking visual imagery by Margaret Lonergan and music played on several different instruments by Seán Mac Erlaine. The combination of languages, music and visuals invoked the corvid as ancient emblem, real and imagined on all their journeys.  It was quietly haunting and stayed with me after the last song had been sung.

It’s safe to say there’s nothing like this going the road.

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