Interview with Tracy Martin | The Wave | ABSOLUT Fringe 2012
Some of our favourite shows here at entertainment.ie (I Am My Own Wife, Danny and Chantelle, Pocket Music) have been produced or directed by Tracy Martin in the last 18 months. She sits down with Caomhan Keane for a quick chat about her new show The Wave.
Tell us about what you've been up to since you left Tall Tales Theatre Company?
I'd had a fantastic three years working with Deirdre Kinahan on her plays and watching her garner international acclaim was certainly inspiring. I left just before Tall Tales funding was cut. I'd always planned on putting on my own work and even though theatre companies around the country were losing funding I felt it was the right time to dive in. I was nervous at first asking actors to work with me on profit share productions but I was absolutely amazed at the talent that people were showing me. I worked with Stephen Jones and Eva Jane Gaffney on Phillip McMahons 'Danny and Chantelle'- still here', a play about two ravers in Dublin’s boom time who go on a night out clubbing. This was definitely a story I could relate too. The show was received extremely well. We sold out for two weeks, playing on the dance floor of The Globe. Word of mouth spread quickly about it and lots of praise was heaped on the three of us. We're looking at bringing it back in the New Year.
At the beginning of the year I had taken part in two weeks clowning with the wonderful Raymond Keane. While clowning around I met Crissy O’Donovan a gorgeous young actress. A little friendship was struck up and over coffee we talked about me directing Crissy in something. I thought it was just coffee talk but pretty soon we were knee deep in Oscar Wildes 'The Importance Of Being Earnest'. Crissy and another great actress Anna Shiels McNamee played all of the roles in that fantastic script. This was also like a gift from the writer, we all got to put things in a play that we had longed to do for ages - ribbon dances, puppetry, pies in faces. I kept referring to the film Aeroplane in my head, wanting to keep the show as gag heavy as possible. It's such a ridiculous script we couldn't possibly play it 'straight'.
Which leads us to your most recent production?
'Danny and Chantelle' and 'The Importance of Being Earnest' proved to me that if you have good actors you have very little to worry about. Seeing the professional approach actors had brought to the two plays encouraged me to put on the play that I’m working on at the moment called The Wave. It's a story that has intrigued me for years, about a high school history teacher who starts a classroom experiment to prove to his students how easy it was for Germany to get caught up in the Nazi movement.
This was a very different experience for me as I had no script to begin with. It's been nerve racking. All the way through the process I've kept asking what type of play I'd like to see. That's all you can do and while nobody is funding me I might as well put on the most fucked up thing I can.
How did you come across the story?
I had read it as a teenager and it had always stuck with me. I'm putting it into a modern Irish classroom so I’m taking the rules that the original teacher laid down and transferring them into a Dublin school. That’s pretty much where the similarities end. The students are reacting in a very 2012 way, they’re not as naive as students in the 60's might have been and the outcome is very dark.
Yours is not the only play that is about a social experiment. Glassdoll, for whom you directed I Am My Own Wife are also doing a show, Broadening, about a social experiment. Why do you think social experiments are so in vogue this year?
I think we're looking back in hindsight at how the government and the bankers treated us as a country and seeing the outcome of their 'experiment' with our money. It definitely feels like were guinea pigs sometimes, so it's interesting to look at other experiments where we can see the outcome. We've put our trust in people of power time and time again, presuming they have out best interest at hearts. It's good to remind ourselves to always question people’s motives. To learn from history.
What are you looking forward to seeing in the coming Fringe?
I’m looking forward to a few - the tech geek in me is dying to see MIDAS Spaces 'CODES', I’m an Elvis fan and a late night toast eater so I'm looking forward to Theatre Clubs 'Hungry Tender' but I really think the hidden gem of the festival (apart from The Wave of course) is going to be Wicked Angels 'I’m not ADHD I’m BOLD'. Jacinta Sheerin and Claire Barrett are going to be nothing less than superb.
What's your favourite show you have ever seen in the Fringe? Or performance?
I have to say I heart Alice heart I by Amy Conroy blew me away. It was perfect, had me crying after about five minutes in and I didn’t stop until much later that evening. It was the little show that could. A real testament as to what can come from the Fringe.
THE WAVE opens on the 17th of September in The Back Loft as part of ABSOLUT Fringe, be warned IT'S NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Tuesday 11th September 2012 | Theatre
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