BALLYTURK is a surreal play written by Enda Walsh, being staged at the Corpus Playroom next week. We caught up with the show's Director, ELIZABETH LAURENCE, and one of the actors, MARK JONES, to find out more.
What should an audience expect from Ballyturk?
Elizabeth: Ballyturk has a bit of everything. Or maybe a lot of everything. But fundamentally, the audience should expect to see two characters who feel things with an intensity that goes beyond their own powers of description. They try their best to talk about life, and how bewildering it can be. They talk about everything: childhood, shame, the need for freedom. Most of all they try to talk about their love for each other, and their fear of losing one another.
This is a very strange and surreal play. What has it been like to direct?
Elizabeth: Really, really fun. This is mainly down to how on board the cast (Bella Ridgwell, Mark Jones, Kitty Ford) and our Assistant Director (Lucia Bowers) were right from the beginning to explore and experiment with the script. Beneath all the surreality there is also a very real human story about love, childhood and growing up. This deeper emotional narrative has grounded all the frenzy and the craziness of the rehearsal space.
How have rehearsals been coming along?
Mark: It feels like the body of the play is there and on its feet. The rehearsals have been made up of deep existential conversations and experimentation – the actors have been running around and screaming at the space and then they have been on the floor convulsing or deeply upset. The actors have been, as with their characters, forming an existence for themselves out of words and action and dance and cereal. I am excited to see the whole play run in the next week, to have each section put together and to be suspended in anarchy and majesty – to see the play in full.
Without spoiling too much, what is your favourite part of the show?
Mark: I don’t think Ballyturk can be compartmentalised into specific sections that are better or more exciting than the other parts. That being said, the moments where 1 and 2 recreate Ballyturk are the most interesting to do because they rely so much on physicality and embodying these incomplete and unusual characters that live in the town. In particular the narrative of Cody Finnington – he resembles, in himself, the fear and otherness that exists inside 1 and 2, the feeling that this town, or this room, might not be all there is. He is caught in a flurry of voices and noises and eyes and feathers and is brought to a point of cathartic release and immense pain. It is a moment that takes your breath from out of your mouth and holds it as you see in this chaos that the life the two characters have is breaking. And then they finish and get up and continue with their day.