Longford director Luke Casserly to make theatre debut at Dublin Fringe Festival

efficacy 84 to demonstrate how art can begin to engage with the atrocities that face us in the world

Jessica Thompson

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Jessica Thompson

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jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Longford director Luke Casserly to make theatre debut at Dublin Fringe Festival

Luke Casserly

The Kerry Babies case of the 1980s is just one of many shameful events that have taken place in the Irish imagination, according to Longford director Luke Casserly, who will debut his latest work 'efficacy 84' at the Dublin Fringe Festival this September.

Theodor Adorno once said that ‘to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric’, and it was this quote that was the provocation for Luke, in terms of “how art can begin to engage with the atrocities that face us in the world”.

The Lanesboro native is the son of Con and Yvonne Casserly, and has always had an interest in theatre.

A former student of St Mel's College in Longford and a recent graduate of Drama and Theatre Studies in Trinity College Dublin, Luke is a theatre-artist interested in making innovative and experimental new work, with a particular interest in presenting work that plays with theatrical convention.

He began making theatre when he was a teenager and a member of the Backstage Youth Theatre - a group that has turned out many talented actors and directors over the years.

efficacy 84 will be Luke's debut as a professional artist, and deals with the 1984 unsolved mystery of Joanne Hayes and the body of a newborn baby boy, which had washed up on White Strand beach at Caherciveen in Co Kerry.

“Everything in the theatre will be forgotten eventually. That’s what makes the form so fragile and uncertain.

“The Kerry Babies case is completely unfinished, and without conclusion, which makes for a really potent metaphor, I think,” the young director told the Longford Leader recently.

“Joanne Hayes and the child on Cahirciveen beach are now white washed memories... and for me, it was about finding the right lens to tell this story.

“The mystery surrounding the case still endures, and my job as an artist is to avoid concluding a story that cannot be concluded.

“It is about making sense of the Kerry Babies case, and how that can be achieved through the liveness of the theatre environment.”

The performance of efficacy 84 employs lots of different techniques and devices to access the story and, in a way, this is a piece as much about theatre itself as it is about the Kerry Babies case, according to Luke.

“For me, it is about being as truthful as possible in the language of the performance, to somehow evoke the chaotic tonalities that made up that case in the 1980s.

“I think audiences can expect to be surprised and pushed by how the story is handled. I developed the piece earlier this year, and am delighted that audiences will see the work as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival platform.”

Luke developed the piece earlier this year, with the support of the Drama Department in Trinity College.

The piece was devised from workshops that were held over a five week period in conjunction with the cast and creative team, with Luke himself as Director and Designer.

“There is also a semi autobiographical lens to the piece too,” said Luke.

“As someone from Longford, having gone to college in Dublin, I was interested in how a rural story like the Kerry Babies case could be told in an urban and contemporary way.

“The piece is concerned with the conditions of the live, and living. That too, is where the title came from, and a major question the piece asks is: what is the efficacy of interrogating this event, and how much further to the truth are we?

“It’s a question we all face today, I think in today’s society. How do we begin to make sense of the absurd, and what is the actual outcome of interrogating the past?”

Luke started off in the Backstage Youth Theatre when he was a student in St Mel's.

It was there that he gained a lot of valuable experience in theatre, enabling him to engage in different areas of the industry.

“I remember being in productions where some members of the cast also did make-up and costume, or stage management,” said Luke. “BYT gave me the opportunity to be analytical and questioning, by seeing lots of different types of productions and expanding on my existing pre-conceived ideas of what theatre was.

“As a member of BYT, I had lots of fantastic experiences working with Youth Theatre Ireland (formerly NAYD). I was part of the National Youth Theatre’s production of 'Gulliver’s Travels' in 2013, which gave me an opportunity to perform on the national stage, and to represent BYT and Longford.

“I also took part in their Young Critics programme, which gave me exposure to lots of different types of theatre all around Ireland.

“I suppose the most significant thing I got from BYT was confidence - being around people who had shared interests and passions was really important because it taught me how to work as part of an ensemble, whatever your role in that ensemble might be.”

Mid August will see Luke, his cast and creative team putting the final touches on efficacy 84, with full-time rehearsals.

Sadly, at this moment in time, there are no immediate plans to take the work of art theatre to the Longford stage, but Luke is hoping that the opportunity will arise soon.

“I think it’s a story that a lot of people will be familiar with, and I think the way with which it’s dealt with is something that audiences may not expect,” he said.

And, he added, he has a few other works in the pipeline: “I currently have a few different projects in the early stages of development, but at this moment in time, my energy is dedicated solely to this project.”

efficacy 84 is a 55-minute work that will be staged as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival from September 21 to 23 in the Smock Alley Theatre. For more information on the work see: http://www.fringefest.com/festival/whats-on/efficacy-84.

Theodor Adorno once said that ‘to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric’, and it was this quote that was the provocation for Luke, in terms of “how art can begin to engage with the atrocities that face us in the world”.

The Lanesboro native is the son of Con and Yvonne Casserly, and has always had an interest in theatre.

A former student of St Mel's College in Longford and a recent graduate of Drama and Theatre Studies in Trinity College Dublin, Luke is a theatre-artist interested in making innovative and experimental new work, with a particular interest in presenting work that plays with theatrical convention.

He began making theatre when he was a teenager and a member of the Backstage Youth Theatre - a group that has turned out many talented actors and directors over the years.

efficacy 84 will be Luke's debut as a professional artist, and deals with the 1984 unsolved mystery of Joanne Hayes and the body of a newborn baby boy, which had washed up on White Strand beach at Caherciveen in Co Kerry.

“Everything in the theatre will be forgotten eventually. That’s what makes the form so fragile and uncertain.

“The Kerry Babies case is completely unfinished, and without conclusion, which makes for a really potent metaphor, I think,” the young director told the Longford Leader recently.

“Joanne Hayes and the child on Cahirciveen beach are now white washed memories... and for me, it was about finding the right lens to tell this story.

“The mystery surrounding the case still endures, and my job as an artist is to avoid concluding a story that cannot be concluded.

“It is about making sense of the Kerry Babies case, and how that can be achieved through the liveness of the theatre environment.”

The performance of efficacy 84 employs lots of different techniques and devices to access the story and, in a way, this is a piece as much about theatre itself as it is about the Kerry Babies case, according to Luke.

“For me, it is about being as truthful as possible in the language of the performance, to somehow evoke the chaotic tonalities that made up that case in the 1980s.

“I think audiences can expect to be surprised and pushed by how the story is handled. I developed the piece earlier this year, and am delighted that audiences will see the work as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival platform.”

Luke developed the piece earlier this year, with the support of the Drama Department in Trinity College.

The piece was devised from workshops that were held over a five week period in conjunction with the cast and creative team, with Luke himself as Director and Designer.

“There is also a semi autobiographical lens to the piece too,” said Luke.

“As someone from Longford, having gone to college in Dublin, I was interested in how a rural story like the Kerry Babies case could be told in an urban and contemporary way.

“The piece is concerned with the conditions of the live, and living. That too, is where the title came from, and a major question the piece asks is: what is the efficacy of interrogating this event, and how much further to the truth are we?

“It’s a question we all face today, I think in today’s society. How do we begin to make sense of the absurd, and what is the actual outcome of interrogating the past?”

Luke started off in the Backstage Youth Theatre when he was a student in St Mel's.

It was there that he gained a lot of valuable experience in theatre, enabling him to engage in different areas of the industry.

“I remember being in productions where some members of the cast also did make-up and costume, or stage management,” said Luke. “BYT gave me the opportunity to be analytical and questioning, by seeing lots of different types of productions and expanding on my existing pre-conceived ideas of what theatre was.

“As a member of BYT, I had lots of fantastic experiences working with Youth Theatre Ireland (formerly NAYD). I was part of the National Youth Theatre’s production of 'Gulliver’s Travels' in 2013, which gave me an opportunity to perform on the national stage, and to represent BYT and Longford.

“I also took part in their Young Critics programme, which gave me exposure to lots of different types of theatre all around Ireland.

“I suppose the most significant thing I got from BYT was confidence - being around people who had shared interests and passions was really important because it taught me how to work as part of an ensemble, whatever your role in that ensemble might be.”

Mid August will see Luke, his cast and creative team putting the final touches on efficacy 84, with full-time rehearsals.

Sadly, at this moment in time, there are no immediate plans to take the work of art theatre to the Longford stage, but Luke is hoping that the opportunity will arise soon.

“I think it’s a story that a lot of people will be familiar with, and I think the way with which it’s dealt with is something that audiences may not expect,” he said.

And, he added, he has a few other works in the pipeline: “I currently have a few different projects in the early stages of development, but at this moment in time, my energy is dedicated solely to this project.”

efficacy 84 is a 55-minute work that will be staged as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival from September 21 to 23 in the Smock Alley Theatre. For more information on the work see: http://www.fringefest.com/festival/whats-on/efficacy-84.

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