With the Covid-19 lockdown hitting most of the world, closing down several of our favourite places including pubs, restaurants, arenas, and sport centres, the world has been slowly diminished by the lack of live performances of theatre, musicals and plays. Earlier this year, The Everyman closed its doors temporarily to the public as they strived over the entire lockdown to renovate and build a space that was able to adhere to the new restrictions that have been put in place. Theatre productions were pulled to a halt, actors were on a pause. The Everyman closed their doors, hoping that the day would come for them to pulsate their life back into the city again.
With that in mind, The Everyman, on the 15th of October rose back from the ashes of shutdown with a new take on live performances – an improvised yet brilliant idea that I believe other theatre companies should maybe think about. Play It By Ear has been defined as an improvisation, a ‘rise to an occasion’ or a way to ‘think on one’s own feet’, consisting of a mix of rehearsed readings, comedy, and music. It merges with the exceptional creative talent of Cork to bring a new experience to all its viewers and listeners alike. This series of live performances is being broadcasted to its audience all across the country. Due to the current indoor gathering restrictions, the theatre has been operating at greatly reduced capacity and available tickets will sell out quickly.
Seán Kelly, Executive Director of the theatre has said that “the restrictions are not viable to maintain in the long term. The Everyman has an obligation to serve the people of Cork and provide support and connections to artists. We are incredibly thankful for generous donations received from our patrons. These monies, along with Arts Council Funding, will allow us to be viable until the end of the year.”
Here is a list of performances that are still running for the Play It By Ear series:
The Four Faced Liar – a play for voices by Ger FitzGibbon.
A rehearsed reading that is due to play on Thursday, 29th October with a running time of 70 minutes and no intervals. Tickets are priced at €9 for the audio broadcast and €15 (student price) for the live reading.
Feeling Good – Karen Underwood and John O’Brien.
A night of heart-warming and roof-raising jazz, soul and blues by Chicago native Karen Underwood, accompanied on piano by John O’Brien. Karen has been able to capture her audiences all across Ireland with her own interpretations of songs by Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse. The show runs as part of the series on Friday, 30th October with the audio broadcast priced at €9 and the live performance at €25.
The Seafarer – Conor McPherson
The final event advertised for Play It by Ear – a rehearsed reading of the play by Conor McPherson which centres around James ‘Sharky’ Harkin, who returns home to look after his ageing brother Richard one Christmas Eve. It has a run time of 105 minutes, including an interval. The audio broadcast is priced at €9 whilst the live performance is at €15 (student price).
For more information please look at the Everyman Theatre’s website, www.everymancork.com