A sensory experience for Longford's Backstage Theatre

A sensory experience for Longford's Backstage Theatre

The Backstage Theatre is in for a very unusual performance on Thursday April 27 as the Carpet Theatre group brings something completely different to the Longford venue.

‘The Flood’ is a sensory performance for the sighted and visually impaired alike, as members of the audience experience the show with their other senses.

Live music, sound effects and smells will awaken the senses of the blindfolded audience (though blindfolds are optional) as they experience the life of David, an old sailor with failing sight.

The audience will be seated on the stage as the crew walk around them, creating the sounds that make the experience more real.

“It’s really unusual in that it’s a live action audio play,” said writer and director Ciarán Taylor, who took time out of rehearsals to speak to the Longford Leader.

“The audience are offered blindfolds while the guys go around making the sounds, and it feels like you’re in the room with the character.

“It’s not a type of performance that’s common in Ireland. When people close their eyes, they go into a trance and get really involved.”

‘The Flood’ tells the story of David who is mopping a leak in his kitchen all night during the floods. His family are out of reach and the Council are too busy to help him.

As the rain pours and the waters rise, a lifetime of memories flows through his head. Struggling to keep mind and body together, David - and his audience - try to weather the storm together.

All of the sound is generated live by the performers, using the props of old fashioned radio drama (wind machines, gravel boxes, false doors).

The sense of touch and smell will also be engaged through gusts of air across the faces of the audience, sea spray during the storm, the odour of sizzling bacon and freshly ground coffee.

Music will be performed by the multifacet musician and sound designer Roger Gregg and Carpet Theatre regular Karl Quinn will play the character of David.

‘The Flood’ is a touching story of memory, regret, determination, adapting to growing older, and the value of maintaining family relationships.

There are lots of lighthearted moments as things go wrong for David and audiences in the past have found it an affecting and mesmerising experience.

The Carpet Theatre and Ciarán Taylor are no strangers to the Backstage Theatre. In 2011, the company brought the satirical play, ‘The Blanch’ to Longford.

Ciarán has written and devised 19 productions for Carpet Theatre so far, including this one, which have toured Ireland and abroad.

He has been working with groups of blind and visually impaired people to devise Sightless Cinema - live radio drama listening events at UCD Cinema and the Lighthouse Cinema.

‘The Flood’ was supported by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s Performing Arts Award to creat performances accessible for people with disabilities.

This inspiring and unusual performance will come to the Backstage Theatre on Thursday April 27. The show starts at 8pm and will last 60 minutes.

Tickets are available for €16/€14 at www.backstage.ie or 043 33 47888.