As election season grips Northern Ireland, Belfast arts venue the MAC is set to take a look at politics from a totally different angle. In an all-new co-production, Prime Cut Productions and the MAC showcase the very best in homegrown drama with a trilogy of plays performed and directed by an all-female cast.
The provocative trilogy is centred around Chile’s political past, primarily the Pinochet regime and the art of moving on in a post-conflict society. The staging of all three productions will totally transform the MAC’s theatre spaces, providing a unique theatre experience for audiences and an exciting stage for the actors.
The trilogy includes a double bill of Villa & Discurso (opening on 27 May). Villa, directed by Roisin McBrinn, is a black satire that tells the tale of three women debating how to transform a former torture centre, Villa Grimaldi, into a symbol of the new Chile – should it be left exactly as is, or transformed into a shiny new museum – or even an arts centre perhaps? Discurso focuses on the 2010 farewell speech of Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s first ever female president who is currently in her second reign after first serving as president from 2006-2010.
Next is Tejas Verdes, directed by Sophie Motley (opening on 3 June), a moving drama which looks at Chile’s disappeared through the eyes of the victims, the perpetrators and the families. Tejas Verdes will be an immersive theatre experience with the audience watching the play as they walk through the theatre.
All three plays can be enjoyed back-to-back in two marathon theatre experiences on 7 and 14 June at the MAC, designed to give audiences the chance to immerse themselves in an intense and spectacular afternoon of theatre with Chilean food and wine available throughout the day.
The Prime Cut and MAC trilogy is performed by a stellar cast of five top Irish actresses – Bernadette Brown, Pauline Hutton, Eleanor Methven, Amy Molloy (all Northern Ireland) and Emma O’Kane (from Dublin) – all of whom boast impressive UK and Irish theatre and TV/film credits.
Looking ahead to the political theatre season, Gillian Mitchell, Director of Programming at the MAC, said:
“From the darkest depths of Tejas Verdes to unexpectedly funny moments in Villa & Discurso, this is a new and exciting theatre experience like no other. When performed previously, all three plays have garnered critical international acclaim. As you’d expect, together with Prime Cut, we’re putting our own spin and creating a trilogy that builds on our reputation as the home for the best in homegrown Irish drama.
“Working with Prime Cut Productions is always a joy, they are in-house associate artists and creating new work with them is something I relish as I know it’s always going to be exciting. I am particularly looking forward to audiences experiencing our transformed theatre spaces, which are going to be spectacularly designed by well-known set designer, Ciaran Bagnall, to provide an immersive experience which audiences will love.”
Emma Jordan, Artistic Director of Prime Cut Productions, said:
“I am delighted to be producing these three internationally-acclaimed plays that will be performed by some of Ireland’s finest actresses, under the guidance of leading directors Sophie Motley and Roisin McBrinn. The Chilean season, and in particular the two marathon triple bills, will be among the highlights of the Irish drama calendar. Rehearsals have been going very well and the cast is looking forward to delivering the MAC’s first immersive performance.
“Villa is a satirical play which uncovers the dark humour about how to move forward – or not – in a post-conflict society. It examines how Chile should remodel the Villa Grimaldi, the building where thousands of detainees were brought to and hundreds were ‘disappeared’. Discurso focuses on the farewell speech of Michelle Bachelet, who was Chile’s outgoing president in 2010, while the humane and powerful Tejas Verdes, which was the name of an infamous Chilean detention centre during the Pinochet coup, traces the life of a young woman who vanishes during the night in Santiago.”
Running alongside the theatre shows, the MAC is also hosting a series of talks and workshops with key individuals involved in the show and politicians, who will be discussing subjects such as women’s role in post-conflict society, crimes against humanity and memorials to the past.
Never miss out on a Belfast Times story or competition by subscribing to our Newsletter here.
For more information about the show or to book a ticket, visit The Mac.