Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Resource #4: Ireland: A Novel

So far, my resource recommendations have been specifically about theatre, but often the place where you can find equal inspiration is in books only indirectly or analogically connected to the theatre at all. This is definitely the case with Frank Delaney's wonderful  book Ireland: A Novel. In this case, the book itself is wonderful, but I would like to specifically and enthusiastically praise the audio version, read by Delaney himself., whose beautiful Irish brogue and storyteller's instincts makes the tale pure magic. If you want evidence that telling the stories of a specific place -- in this case, Ireland -- can soar into the realm of myth or dive into the depths of tragic realism, you need only read or listen to this tale, which traces the history of Ireland as well as tje story of a young boy, Ronan, who fall sunder the spell of an old storyteller and spends his entire life trying to follow in his footsteps. Through it all, the melding of history, myth, and imagination can make every theatre artist understand the roots of his or her craft, and the power that lies in word and imagery. The simplicity with which Delaney evokes scenes ranging from prehistory through Ireland's sorrowful battles in the early 20th century, coaxing the mind's eye with the grace and power of a true master, could serve as a supplement to Peter Brook's The Empty Space, an illustration of Rough Theatre, Holy Theatre, and Immediate Theatre -- but never, never the Deadly Theatre. The audio download, which takes nearly 18 hours, is well worth the time and the money. Turn your iPod into a personal storyteller, and rediscovery the reason you went into theatre in the first place.

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