Joan McCready | Interview
Ahead of her show A Time To Speak • Armagh Market Place, 27 July (sold out)
By Conor O’Neill
An interesting woman; one whose name goes hand in hand with hubby Sam, each as fearless as the other. Two for One Productions again plays Armagh’s Market Place theatre this Thursday. Unfortunately for you, me and everyone else, the play is sold out. Having seeing it in May, I can guarantee those lucky enough to be at the annual John Hewitt Summer School will witness A Time To Speak with baited breath and will leave with a lump in their throat and a tear in their eye.
Joan thankfully gave a few minutes of her precious time to speak with CulturerHUB about the show, Helen Lewis, whose book of the same name is adapted from, life and work with her lesser/better half, acting, production, direction and everything else betwixt and between.
With content as heavy as the Holocaust, I ask is it emotionally draining? “Of course, people always ask me, ‘are you exhausted when you come off stage?’ But at that stage you’re running on adrenaline during and after a show. A few hours later you are of course exhausted. But it is such an inspirational story and I feel responsible for keeping her story alive. The pure humanity she’d shown throughout her entire life, after the experience she had. Living a wonderful joyous life; she taught me the gift of forgiveness. It’s just impossible to think of people going through those experiences, to came out of it as a wonderful beautiful human being.”
As for what Helen would think of the show? “It hasn’t changed a bit since Sam did the original adaptation. Helen never saw it, she was too ill to see it performed. Helen was the one who gave Sam the permission to do it and insisted I was to play the role. So that was a great inspiration to tell her story.” On the impact of the work, I admit I walked out of the theatre with a lump in my throat to which Joan answers, “It’s funny, there were a lot of grown men who came out in tears which was astounding.”
As for working with Sam she follows, “I’m his main editor, we pretty well work together. Sometimes I’m the director then he’s the director.” Sam has a production of No Surrender by Robert Harbinson playing the Eastside Arts Festival on August 03 – 04 which he has adapted and plays as a one man show with nothing more than a chair as a minimal set. Joan continues, “We’ve spent our lifetimes in the theatre, we know each other and we know when not to speak. And we work together pretty amicably. It’s got a beautiful arc to it. I think it will work very well.”
There she is. Apparently, behind every great man there’s a great woman. I think Joan McCready is just that. Enjoy the show you lucky muckers in Armagh.
A Time To Speak plays in the Armagh Market Place Thursday 27 July.