PALS

NOMINATED FOR 3 IRISH TIMES THEATRE AWARDS

BEST PRODUCTION, BEST LIGHTING DESIGN AND AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD

PALS: Untold Stories of the 7th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, at Gallipoli during the First World War.

 “Do you think Ireland is proud of us?” a young soldier asks his friend, somewhere amid the carnage of Gallipoli, in a voice hollow and shocked. The question goes unanswered in Anu Productions’ latest, profoundly disarming evocation of our hidden histories. But it would take a particular naivety to say yes. That may be the most keenly understood tragedy of this supple performance, which vividly unearths lives that have been doubly disavowed, by national politics and by time.  Based on the testimony and letters of young Irish men who enlisted in the 7th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Pals is not an exhibition, an excavation nor even recreation. It’s something rarer; an imaginative and sensitive summoning.  The iconography of war is disturbingly unchanging, but the capacity to transform and honour events, making an audience more than a witness, is director Louise Lowe’s singular talent.” – Peter Crawley, The Irish Times

“Historical insight; exciting artistry; and an intimate theatrical encounter with something previously hidden” – Colin Murphy, Irish Independent (on PALS)

ANU are trying to reckon with this legacy of shame. About 210,000 Irishmen fought in World War One; 35,000, or more, were killed. Yet many people will be learning about them for the first time at Collins Barracks. ” – Irish Independant 

 The four  oscillate between the civilian young men they had been but a few months before and the soldiers that they now are required to be. The austerity of the few artefacts of the billet add texture to the civilian/military juxtaposition of their new lives. At times these young men move as one, as they should as a trained military unit, but each remains also an individual where his inner most fears come into play. Disturbingly Laura Murray at one stage enters the billet like the angel of death; at other times she plays the familiar Florence Nightingale role of nurse. It is at times grotesque, at times innocent but above all it is heart breakingly sad.  Louise Lowe has brought into clear vision a small part of the First World War which has to a certain extent remained hidden or largely forgotten. Her choice of location and her marshalling of her actors are exemplary. In this decade of commemorations, it is to be hoped that she has set a standard that those commemorative events which are to follow will strive to equal or surpass. In this regard it is worthy of note she has collaborated with the National Museum of Ireland, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the National Archives of Ireland and ICTU. She has done Ireland a service and is, with her team, to be congratulated.” – No more workhorse review (PALS)

PALS is not about celebrating or eulogising or playing politics, but amounts to an accurate and moving portrayal of the reality of war…The result is arresting and unsettling, just as it should be” – Diarmaid Ferriter, The Irish Times

A unique and immersive undertaking… deploys magnificent effects, lighting, movement, narrative and speech to ensure a memorable piece of historic drama. A punch in the gut for sure. Powerful stuff” – Chris Wasser, Evening Herald

Channels the horror so subtly, grappling with the social cultural factors that informed the soldiers lives… it is the small, but telling, touches that makes PALS something to savour” – The Examiner
Are there any answers to give to the panicked lieutenant, played whole-heartedly by John Cronin, who reaches out and asks if we would have lead his men any differently? Has awareness of the effects of shellshock and depression, represented in a tactful turn by Liam Heslin, changed all that radically since 1915? Such images are juxtaposed with scenes full of life and even romance, especially in a beautiful waltz between an injured soldier and a nurse in soft lamplight. Lowe’s staging feels aware of the absences of these extraordinary men from public record, and seeks to summon them in all their vigour.  But what resonates the most is a soldier’s question in a moment of crisis: “Do you think Ireland is proud of us?” In ANU’s considerate production, rescuing their traits of friendship, kindness and compassion from one of the most hellish battlefields on earth, the answer is undoubtedly yes.” – Chris Mc Cormack, A Younger Theatre Review

Presented by ANU Productions, the National Museum of Ireland and the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht and in association with the National Archives of Ireland.

Where are the faces laughing in the glow

Of morning years, 

the lost ones scattered wide?

Give me your hand,

Oh brother, let us go…

1915, Gallipoli. Amidst the heat and smell of the trenches, with No Mans Land on the horizon, the men of the newly formed 7th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers stand shoulder to shoulder. 

These are a team of rugby legends built from some of the strongest and bravest athletes in Ireland.   

And they are about to play a deadly end-game.

Award-winning innovators ANU Productions present a profound immersive adventure, based on the events surrounding WWI in Ireland.

Inspired by the previously untold stories of the 7th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who swapped the rugby field for the battlefield – PALS will give audiences a vivid glimpse into the life and death of a brotherhood of players who were wiped out in the devastating trenches of Gallipoli.

2 EDITED pals

02nd February – 30th April 2014

National Museum of Ireland, Colllins Barracks

For more information visit www.pals-theirishatgallipoli.com/

To book tickets: PALS online booking

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PALS Team:

Owen Boss

John Cronin

Adam Fitzsimons

Emma Gleeson

Liam Heslin

Carl Kennedy

Lisa Krugel

Louise Lowe

Niamh Lunny

Soazig Metrope

Laura Murray

Lynnette Moran

Sue Mythen

Bairbre Ni hAodha

Kevin Olohan

Robbie O’Connor

Conall O’Riann

Thomas Reilly

Sarah Jane Sheils

Sabrina Sheehan

Matthew Smyth

Shane Thomas Whisker

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