Sculpting the Spaces of Enda Walsh’s Work

O'Gorman, Siobhan and Dargent, Sabine (2016) Sculpting the Spaces of Enda Walsh’s Work. In: Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance Studies Reader. Carysfort, pp. 2255-2293. ISBN 1909325953, 9781909325951

Sculpting the Spaces of Enda Walsh’s Work
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Sabine Dargent is a French scenographer who has been working in Ireland since the late 1990s. Prior to this, she worked in Paris with Théâtre à Grand Vitesse (TGV) – a company that has, since its inception in 1987, produced highly visual work merging performance, film and photography. Other companies with which Dargent worked in France include Théâtre de Châtillon, L’épée de Bois and Théâtre du Soleil. The experience of physical theatre that Dragent garnered from working with such companies as Théâtre du Soleil has remained central to her conception of performance design. In Ireland, Dargent began by designing theatre for young audiences with TEAM Educational Theatre Company, including Michael West’s Jack Fell Down and Frances Kay’s Burning Dreams, both in 1999. Later, she designed sets and costumes for TEAM’s production of Kay’s Last Call, a play for post-primary school students staged at the Helix in 2006.
In 2003, Dargent won the ESB/Irish Times Award for Best Set Design for Conall Morrison’s version of Ibsen’s Ghosts, produced at and by the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. She went on to build a portfolio of cutting-edge design work with Fishamble, including: Michael Collins’ Tadhg Stray Wandered In at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin, in March 2004; Jim O’Hanlon’s Pilgrims in the Park at the Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, in November 2004; and Gary Duggan’s Monged in April 2005, again at the Project Arts Centre. Dargent won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Set Design again in 2006, for the first play by Enda Walsh on which she worked: The Walworth Farce, produced at and by the Druid Theatre in Galway that year. She went on to design Druid’s productions of Walsh’s The New Electric Ballroom (2008) and Penelope (2010). Since 2005, Dargent has worked throughout Ireland with such companies as the Abbey, Kabosh, Blue Raincoat, Barnstorm, Big Telly and Second Age. She also led design for the St. Patrick’s Festival’s City Fusion community arts participation projects from 2008 to 2010 inclusive; these annual projects produce pageants to be performed as part of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, with the aim of celebrating diversity and promoting integration.
The following conversation reveals much about the collaborative ways in which Dargent, Walsh and director Mikel Murfi sculpted the spaces of Walsh’s The Walworth Farce, The New Electric Ballroom and Penelope. In designing these productions, Dargent drew on a range of visual stimuli from film to photography to paintings. She was also influenced by modern architecture, including Casa Malaparte in the Isle of Capri, Italy – a house built by its owner Curzio Malaparte, with the help of Adolfo Amitrano, having been originally conceived around 1937 by the famous Italian architect Adalberto Libera. The house was extensively used in the filming of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 movie, Contempt (Le Mépris). For Penelope, in particular, the work of visual artist Yves Klein (1928-1962) was a huge inspiration for Dargent. Here, Dargent also offers more general discussions of Walsh’s work, as well as her process as a scenographer.

Keywords:Theatre, Designers, Performance, Scenography, Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, Directing
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V211 Irish History
W Creative Arts and Design > W460 Theatre Design
W Creative Arts and Design > W213 Visual Communication
W Creative Arts and Design > W310 Musicianship/Performance studies
W Creative Arts and Design > W430 Producing for Theatre
W Creative Arts and Design > W440 Theatre studies
W Creative Arts and Design > W420 Directing for Theatre
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:43676
Deposited On:21 Jan 2021 10:51

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