A NEW play, produced by Kealkil’s own Jen Coppinger and written by renowned author and playwright, Kevin Barry, is ready for its premiere at the Everyman Theatre in Cork city next week.
Autumn Royal, tells the story of brother and sister, May (Siobhán McSweeney) and Timothy (Shane Casey) who are looking after the elderly father who has long since taken to his bed and it is now left to May and Timothy to decided what is to be done as they both face an uncertain future.
‘I could say that the play took me eight days to write or that it took ten years to write. It physically took me eight days, but I think the decade I spent living in Cork city, up until 2001, was the primary inspiration for it,’ Kevin Barry told The Southern Star.
‘I originally had a monologue for this woman called May, who was at home on the northside of the city, caring for her father. It was when I introduced a brother character, Timmy, and had them playing off each other that the thing came to life to me. It really stood up on its legs on the desk, you know? Timmy and May felt like two little planets colliding.’
It was very important, for Kevin, that Autumn Royal should have its premiere in Cork.
‘Having lived in Cork city for so long there was no choice really,’ Jen Coppinger said. ‘When I first read the script I knew that we had to open the play in the city where it was born. And the Everyman in Cork is the ideal location.’
For Kevin Barry – who is the multi-award winning writer of the novels Beatlebone, City Of Bohane, and the story collections Dark Lies The Island and There Are Little Kingdoms – this play is his first piece written originally for the stage.
‘The play which is very funny, dark and sad all at the same time centres around the turmoil caused when a brother and sister are faced with putting their own lives on hold or taking their elderly father to the Autumn Royal nursing home,’ Jen said.
Jen who is not only producing plays both at home and abroad, is also the project manager for Booker Prize winner and Laureate for Irish Fiction, Anne Enright.
‘I am honoured to have this opportunity to work with Kevin Barry, I think you’d have to be a bit of an eejit if you didn’t jump at a chance like this. It was an incredible experience, Kevin is, in my humble opinion, a genius storyteller and we have a fantastic team in place. We are all looking forward to opening night at the Cork Everyman and then taking Autumn Royal on to Dublin and Leitrim,’ Jen said.
Autumn Royal opens at the Everyman Theatre in Cork on Monday, January 30th and runs until Saturday, February 4th. The company then moves on to the Project Arts Centre, Dublin and from there to The Dock, in Leitrim.
‘I would love to bring the play to West Cork and you never know, we’ll see how things go,’ Jen concluded.
• Tickets are on sale now from the Cork Everyman at 021 450 1673 or log on to everymancork.com.