Delicious O’Grady Interview

September 27, 2010

How many potatoes does it take to kill an Irishman? None! Delicious O’Grady is a tragicomedy set in the time of the Great Irish Famine (though it wasn’t that great). Inspired by the satirical works of Flann O’Brien, this circus theatre piece tells the tale of a family and its demise during the great hunger. It is a story of love, loss and potatoes. It’s star Colm O’Grady speaks here to Caomhan Keane.

What is Delicious O Grady about?

Delicious O’Grady is a celebration of the Irish people and their strength through the great famine (An Gorta Mor). Suffering is the backbone of the Irish people and humor is its flesh.

How did you go about devising the show?

I read the Poor Mouth by Flann O Brien while I was in Africa, working in Uganda, surrounded by a lot of poverty and it brought to mind how we were in that place at one stage.

It’s taken me about two years to make this show, working with a whole loads of different specialists for Circus training and visiting different famine memorials in Canada and Ireland where they did role plays, it was harrowing actually. It was like Auswticz. Through all this I really experienced what it was like for people.

So I worked with Cal McCrystal, the director of the Mighty Boosh’s first show, which they won a Perrier award for. I learned how to use a contraption known as an automatic bicycle, which is a two wheeled, trick bicycle, which I do several tricks with.
Is there a basic story or is it just you going through all these different characters?

There’s a love story that goes throughout the story and it’s also about people starving to death. But I do it in a tongue in cheek way. It’s not the type of play that you want to commit suicide at the end of.

Finding the humor in the horror?

You don’t have to beat people over the head and show them how miserable things were. You can show things in a poetic way. I find things that the Abbey do are just so heavy, a lot of productions that I see are so depressing they turn people off. It’s not populist. It’s elitist. So I’m reaching out to the masses.

Smock Alley

21st-25th of September



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