Articles for May, 2017


Tricycle

Mikel Murfi: how I made The Man In The Woman’s Shoes

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 by Tricycle

Mikel Murfi is returning to the Tricycle in June, following his sell-out success here last year. Mikel will be presenting his new show, I Hear You And Rejoice, as well as additional performances of his 2016 hit The Man In The Woman’s Shoes. We spoke to Mikel, who told us how he created The Man In The Womans Shoes

Mikel Murfi in The Man In The Woman's Shoes, 2016 | Photo: Mark DouetSome time back, I began a journey around my home county of Sligo, in the west of Ireland. I was gathering stories. I was meeting groups of older folk, retirement groups, active age groups, history groups, all with the intention of researching a play with them, something which, later that year, I was to bring back to them. I had been commissioned by my local theatre The Hawk’s Well and the Sligo Arts Office to make a theatre piece for Bealtaine (the Gaelic word for the month of May) — an annual national festival which celebrates creativity in older age groups. And I met with the most wonderful people.

Irish people like two things mainly: talking and tea. So, over that month and copious amounts of tea, we celebrated living and people and stories — shared thoughts on ageing, talked characters and notated vernacular. When my ‘visitations’ were done I went away and wrote The Man In The Woman’s Shoes. Some months later I returned to my new friends and performed the play for them. The process was, I suppose, to give the groups I was working with an opportunity to engage ‘with the actor fella’ and to see their creative input take to the stages or floors of their halls or community centres or in the case of the ‘world premiere’ — in the foyer of St John’s Hospital Sligo.

I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to make a work at home and with people who had no particular interest or background in theatre. I hope that the spirit of these people comes through in the play. I hope I’ve
made something of who they are. It’s nostalgic and purposefully sentimental.

I wanted to reflect back to these groups their own lives – to show them themselves – to celebrate them, to document them and to honour them. They were a delight each and every one of them. And I’m still on the journey, gathering stories and recording folk as I go.

-Mikel

The Man In The Woman’s Shoes will be at the Tricycle for selected dates from 5 June, and I Hear You And Rejoice for all dates from 10 June — 1 July (excluding Sundays). Book your tickets today!