Blue Raincoat have built a reputation on pushing boundaries, of driving a pickaxe into previously unbroken ground, but few ventures were as ambitious as their endeavours this weekend gone.
A Country Under Wave delivered 26 performances in 26 locations over two days (Saturday and Sunday, August 1-2) spread throughout the North West.
Venues – from the crumbling Killaspugbrone Church to the comforts of Lyons Cafe; from the storied stone walls of Parke’s Castle to the tall trees of Hazelwood Forest; from Hargadon’s pub to Dolly’s Cottage – were used for the performances.
Although the weather may have made some performances slightly wetter than others, the public embraced the challenges that Blue Raincoat had set for themselves, turning out in numbers despite the showers.
They were rewarded with readings and performances of several Yeats plays, from “The Resurrection” to “Deirdre” to “Words on a Pane”. With the North West being such an inspiration to Yeats in his own writing, returning to many of the locations mentioned in his plays was not only a fitting way to honour the Nobel laureate on his 150th birthday, but served as an umbrella for many amateur drama groups and actors who may otherwise have missed out on involvement in the Yeats 150 celebrations.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to catch any of the performances last Saturday and Sunday, you can still catch the Blue Raincoat’s production of “The Only Jealousy of Emer”, the last two performances of which are today, Thursday, and tomorrow, Friday, in the Factory Performance Space from 1.10pm (Sweet Beat Cafe providing lunch from 12.30 before it).
And they have one final outdoor performance, “At The Hawk’s Well” which will be staged at O’Rourke’s Table near the Sligo/Leitrim border on Saturday evening at 7.30pm (for more, see www.blueraincoat.com).
Also, last month the company had to call off a performance of “Purgatory” atop Ben Bulben because of bad weather. That will be rescheduled for later in the year, details of which will soon be available on the website.