Storytelling Theatre in Ireland

Well, here we are. Final week in Prague, final blog post from me! It’s been an absolute treat being here, I’ve loved it! It’s been an absolute pleasure working and playing with everyone in PYT! Really sad to be leaving, but I’m hoping to be back very very soon!

The performance of RedPill went spectacularly (so yeah you should have been there WHY WEREN’T YOU THERE)! I got asked to talk a little bit about the culture of one-handers in Ireland, so I’ll talk a bit about that in this final post, as it really inspired me to get into this whole thing in a big way!

(by the way, one-hander is kind of a gender neutral term for ‘one-man show’ or ‘one-woman show’.)

Ireland’s always had a really strong storytelling aspect to all its art. Even in Irish plays that aren’t monologue plays, from Sean O’Casey and John Millington Synge, right up to Conor McPherson and Enda Walsh today, the characters tell tall tales, share myths of themselves and others, always in vivid detail. One playwright in particular, with his vivid and lurid writing style, has inspired a lot of theatremakers and writers in Dublin. Mark O’Rowe is criminally underrepresented outside of Ireland, and I absolutely love his work!!

One-handers have become very prevalent in Ireland in the past 5-10 years. Partly because it’s a great artform, but also, because, let’s be honest, they’re a lot more inexpensive to mount than a full cast play. This idea of making your own work, a sort of calling card for yourself, is bolstered by things like the Gaiety School of Acting’s Manifesto classes(where you write short pieces for yourself and your classmates, working your creative muscle), Fishamble’s Show In A Bag initiative (they mentor and produce 4 one- or two-handers for the Dublin Fringe Festival in September every year) and Theatre Upstairs (an intimate venue in the heart of Dublin that specializes in World Premieres of new writing). And that’s in Dublin alone! There’s a really keen awareness in the theatre scene in Ireland that you’ve got to make your own work to get anywhere, as it’s fiercely competitive.


The result is you get a lot of incredible work, from a very small scale to a massive one. All these incredible stories told from the perspective of weird, bizarre, heartbreaking characters. There’s something so especially visceral and intimate about watching one person try to channel a story all by themselves. I love watching it!! Here’s a list of one- and two-handers worth looking into: some of them have radio play versions, some of them even getting made into films!! Google them, see what ya find!

Charolais by Noni Stapleton

Dublin Old School by Emmet Kirwan

Pondling by Genevieve Hulme-Beaman

Animalia by Ian Toner

Howie the Rookie by Mark O’Rowe

Terminus by Mark O’Rowe

The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly by Finegan Kruckemeyer

Silent, Forgotten and Underneath, all by Pat Kinevane

The Man in the Woman’s Shoes by Mikel Murfi

Man of Valour by Paul Reid, Annie Ryan and Michael West

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride, adapted by Annie Ryan and performed by Aoife Duffin

I’d be here forever if I tried to list them all. Hope this gives you something to go off of!!


Miss you all already. ❤


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