05 Oct 2022

Watch: Children of Lir performance at the Nenagh Heritage Centre

Joanna Ryan-Purcell has brought back her one-person show based on her book Children of Lir:The Journey Through the Curse.  

The performance at the Heritage Centre in Nenagh on Friday, November 12, was her first performance since 2020. 

Joanna said her time away from the book had refreshed her approach to the show. 

"It's wonderful to engage with the text again, and this is the first time since last October, and I'm glad to have had all this time without engaging with the text because I am now approaching it from a different space and a different point of view. Now I'm looking at it from a critical point of view and not from beings so personally attached to it," said Joanna. 

The book is based on the traditional Irish myth of the Children of Lir. 

In the original story, Lir's children are transformed into swans for 300 years by the children's jealous stepmother Aoife.

This retelling of the myth combines Joanna's specialities of writing, performance and illustration. 

It is written in prose poetry and follows the Children and Lir through the ordeal of being cursed to be swans. 

According to Joanna, the book uses the metaphor of curses in the classic story to represent the challenges of modern times. 

"I ask myself what cure we are going through today. So, the curse man has on nature; mother earth is going through a curse and the curse on ourselves that we have put ourselves through in society; all these different layers of curses. So, it was that angle that I started to write the story through," said Joanna. 

Joanna says her plans for the story's future are to work with a director and producer to develop the characters further and bring the show on tour.

"Then to bring it on tour to different places like stone circles and by the lake and in forests and site-specific places connected to our pagan sites because this book was written with pagan energy. 

So that's where I am on the hunt for a director and producer," said Joanna. 

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