The VAULT Festival is coming to town! From January 24th to March 18th, over three hundred new shows explode across a festival of festivals in their Waterloo home. With new venues, new bars, new food and plenty of surprises, VAULT 2018 is the biggest, fairest platform in London for artists to present innovative, daring work. We caught up with Erica Murray of The Cat’s Mother to have a chat about the depiction of Irishness on English stages.
It has often struck me, whilst living here and going to see theatre that there is a kind of Stage-Ireland that is nothing really like the real thing.
Most dramatists that do well over here, have portrayed Irish people as being violent, drunk outsiders. Dark and repressed, but always comical too.
So, if you haven’t met someone Irish before, that’s immediately what you’re expecting. I know because most of the time when I meet someone new over here they make a joke in the first five minutes about drink. I tend to awkwardly fake laugh along, which isn’t doing us any favours, I know.
There was a certain hit play this year which made most of the audience drool at the fantasy of eighties Ireland and most Irish people roll their eyes at the stereotypes that they saw
Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy those plays too and I’m not saying I’m not falling into the exact same tropes that bother me. The Cat’s Mother is a contemporary play set today in London that circles around two Irish sisters deciding whether to follow their dying mother’s wishes. In this play, there is a dark undertone, but it is funny too – so maybe that’s something that will always be inherent in writing Irish stories that I can’t escape from, no matter how hard I try. But there’s no alcoholics. Not in this last draft anyway… although opening night is still a week away… we’ll see.
The Cat’s Mother is running at VAULT Festival from the 7th-8th of February at 18:10. Tickets and more information can be found here.