Connections 2021: Director Shane Hickey-O'Mara Reflects on Directing Find A Partner!
Find A Partner! is our 2021 Connections Play and will be screened live on the RIverbank website for 24 hours, starting from 6pm Friday May 28th.
‘I just want someone to voluntarily risk their life for me with no guarantee of reciprocated feelings. Why can’t I find that?’
– Spectator in Find a Partner! By Miriam Battye.
Find a Partner! is a new addition to this year’s National Theatre Connections portfolio and Kildare Youth Theatre are among the first groups to ever perform it, albeit under particularly difficult circumstances. This is my second Covid-19 Connections play as Director, the first being last year’s production of Dungeness by Chris Thompson which, having been cancelled a week before being performed, was eventually filmed by Doug Morrison in September 2020.
The best way that I can think to describe Battye’s script is Love Island meets The Hunger Games meets The Lobster by Greek film director Yorgos Lanthimos. Battye’s dystopian gameshow is set in a world wherein if you fail to successfully find love and “partner up” you are promptly shot by the show’s producers! The Spectators, played by Catherine Joyce, Síobhra Behan, and Tara Mooney, make the decision of who lives and who dies over the course of the play; If you don’t ‘Win at Love!’ you’re ‘Out’!
Find a Partner! is a play that negotiates the ways in which we perform ‘Being in Love’ and the societal ramifications if you end up ‘Unpartnered’. Battye’s play rails against modern society’s obsession with reality television shows that aim to pair people up and the ways in which we, as audience members/spectators ourselves, sit back and pass judgement on the contestants. It’s a play which holds a mirror up to our society and makes us question our priorities: a tragi-comedy for our times.
The doomed contestants are played by Aoife Ní Dhúill, Ralph Gosnell, Lauren Giltrap, Marcel Szameta, Gráinne Lavelle, Ethan Taylor, Kate Mulreany, Fionn Hamilton, Elizabeth Ryjkova, Koldo Urbaneja Colas, and Ignas Visockis.
KYT stalwart Sinéad Mooney is our Assistant Director in addition to bringing her technical skills to the table as Graphic Designer & Sound Designer/Operator, whilst Athina Fragkou, one of our European Solidarity Corps volunteers from Athens, Grecee, is acting as our Stage Manager, Props Designer and all-round problem fixer! The process of working with this team has been hugely enjoyable, albeit challenging, but I couldn’t have asked for a stronger team to work with; I can’t wait to see where their careers lead them!
After four months of online rehearsals under Level 5 Lockdown restrictions our team performed Find a Partner! for a limited audience of KYT staff members. That performance was recorded and will be screened by the Riverbank Arts Centre through their website as part of the regional Connection Festival 2021 on Friday May 28th alongside work by other Irish companies taking part in NT Connections under these most unusual of circumstances.
- Shane Hickey-O’Mara, Director of Find a Partner
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Read more about Find A Partner! on our show announcement.
Read more about the team involved in helping to create this play on our Current People page.