Bringing Beckett to the island

Bringing Beckett to the island

The beautiful site specific set at the back of Inis Oirr. Photographs by Cormac Coyne.

A new Irish language production of ‘Happy Days’ by Samuel Beckett will be staged outdoors at the back of Inis Oirr as part of the Galway International Arts Festival from August 30 to September 5.

The show by Company SJ is a partnership between Áras Éanna Ionad Ealaíne and the Abbey Theatre, and performances will take place at 1.30pm each day at Creig an Staic, a venue which has been adapted especially for the play.

A special exhibition will take place in the Aras Eanna art gallery while the show is being performed on the island.

Director Sarah Jane Scaife, a regular visitor to Inis Oirr for many years, worked on the show during a recent one month residency at Aras Eanna.

‘Happy Days’ was translated by Micheál O Conghaile and will be performed by Brid Ní Neachtain and Raymond Keane. It takes inspiration from the landscape, language and people of the island.

Taking a break from rehearsals on Inis Oirr.

Sarah Jane is really excited to bring this interpretation to a “site specific” location, next to the sea, right on the edge of Europe.

“Inis Oirr is only a little microcosm of the whole of Ireland. It reflects the best and the worst of Ireland. It reflects the pain of our past and the unbelievable beauty of the country. It’s those two things that I find so deeply moving,” she says.

She believes that Ni Neachtain was “born to play this part” and she will be joined by movement artist and actor Raymond Keane for a show which has been inspired by her time spent on the island during her residency with Aras Eanna.

The set has been sculpted and designed by Ger Clancy, and built with help from stone masons on the island. ‘Beckett sa Creig: Laethanta Sona’ follows on from Company SJs acclaimed ‘Beckett in the City’ series.

During the show, Áras Éanna will also host an accompanying exhibition, which examines the process of making ‘Beckett sa Creig’.

The building of the set and interviews and photos with women on the island create a visual and aural response to the connection formed between the company and the island. The exhibition includes photography by Cormac Coyne, video by Kilian Waters, and sound by Martha Knight.

This project is funded by Arts Council Ireland, in association with Galway International Arts Festival and Dublin Theatre Festival. It is supported by Áras Éanna, Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Irish Theatre Institute, Dublin City Council.



Building the set at the back of the island.