What was it that led to the creation of riverrun?
I had never read Finnegans Wake in any linear fashion – instead I had dived into snippets by opening it at random – but I was a great fan of the Wake’s mercurial form and had always carried, at the back of my mind, the possibility of giving voice to all that wild language in performance. I had no real interest in a ’story’ beyond the language, with its play of cultural and cosmic forces, and I was not a great reader of Joyce, but the Wake pulled me towards itself like a seam of dark matter, somewhere between energy and form, music and language.
Photo by Colm Hogan
Unexpected, riveting, overwhelming… and a whole manner of other responses washed over me as I experienced riverrun last year at Galway Arts Festival. I begin with ‘unexpected’ because I honestly didn’t know what awaited me as I made my way in to the small Druid Lane theatre where atmosphere oozed from all four corners of the stage and yet there was next to no set whatsoever, just sound, light and the performer, passively poised. Watching. What was going to steer me through the evening? What were the points of reference that would guide me on the journey? Finnegans Wake had eluded me as a book and here I was about to witness something inspired by it… based on it… and then it began.