If ever you’ve taken a wander around the People’s Republic of Cork, you will know that if your gaze strays upwards towards the North Side, rising proudly above the hodge-podge of roof tops you will see the Shandon Steeple. This strong and sturdy tower, with its white limestone on the South and West sides, and red sandstone on the North and East sides bears upon each a noble clock face. Accept the time they show you at your own risk, however, as since they first appeared the Shandon clocks have, more often than not, displayed a different time on each face. Hence the moniker: Four Faced Liar.
Such is the subject of the next wonderful offering from The Everyman Theatre’s Play it by Ear series. Earlier this year, the Everyman announced to much excitement that they would be reopening with a mixture of live and streamable events. Of course there would be the requisite in-person restrictions and so on, nonetheless, it was reassuring to know that theatre was happening and being made. I had hoped to get to Cork to see one of these shows…cue level 3 restrictions and being unable to leave my county for anything except work.
Level 3 restrictions had further implications for The Everyman too, as some of their planned events could no longer go ahead with a live audience. Thankfully, as some of their planned events included an audio broadcast through which one could listen to the performance from the comfort of their own home, they could and will still go ahead.
There is something inherently comforting and enticing for me about an audio broadcast. It gives you the opportunity to lose yourself in the story through your own imagination. I feel a real sense of relief that if I can’t be there in person, I can listen to the broadcast and let my mind conjure the images for me, rather than watch through the rectangle of my computer screen. I can listen while walking, or gardening, or baking, or any other number of things. Not driving though – I have a habit of missing motorway exits when I get too lost in an audio play/book/podcast. Maybe I’ll just stick my headphones in, light a fire, and sit quietly with a cup of tea and slice of cake. Or, you know, wine.
To take us back to Shandon and Cork’s finest Four Faced Liar, this ‘play for voices’ by Ger FitzGibbon will take us on a night journey through the streets of Cork, with the clocks as our eyes and the voices of inhabitants living and gone echoing around us. There has always been something a little mythical and even mischievous about the Shandon Steeple with its peeling bells, four disagreeing clocks and weird salmon-shaped weather vane on the top. With the voices of six brilliant actors, George Hanover, Jack Healy, Fionula Linehan, Dominic McHale, Pauline O’Driscoll and Laura O’Mahony under the wonderful direction of Emelie FitzGibbon, The Four Faced Liar promises to make us look at the quirky city and its inhabitants in a different way.
The Four Faced Liar will stream as a live broadcast on Thursday October 29th. Tickets are available now from the Everyman website.
If you have a programme, event or initiative that you would like covered in my ‘Deep Dive’ or Beyond The Pale series please get in touch, I’d be happy to talk!