‘How to Square a Circle’ comes to town
Former Roscommon and Elphin footballer, and Cyr wheel artist, Ronan Brady, was hard at work with performing partner, hoop artist, Aisling Ní Cheallaigh, when I called to the Roscommon Arts Centre on Monday afternoon.
The pair were busy rehearsing for their show ‘How to Square a Circle’, which takes the stage at the Roscommon Arts Centre on Thursday, August 29th at 8 pm.
Ronan is no stranger to performing in Roscommon and famously appeared prior to the Connacht Senior Football Championship Semi-Final between Roscommon and Leitrim in 2017.
However, while Ronan and Dubliner Aisling performed ‘How to Square a Circle’ in Athlone last year, this is the first time the show will be staged in Co. Roscommon.
The show has been described as ‘Irish Circus’ and features hand-to-hand acrobatics, trapeze, Ronan’s Cyr Wheel, Aisling’s Hoop artistry and a mixture of dance and story-telling.
Former teacher Ronan, who was a semi-finalist on Ireland’s Got Talent in 2018, is delighted to be bringing the show to his native county.
“Averyl (Dooher) and Dympna (Cribbin) gave us the run of the place about a month back and have also given us the place for two weeks this month in order to get the show sorted. They’ve really supported us and it’s great to be performing in a local venue and when we’re applying to the Arts Council for funding it’s great to get the backing of theatres and established art centres like Roscommon. I’m particularly chuffed to be bringing this show to Roscommon town!”
Hoop artist Aisling Ní Cheallaigh studied medieval history in Trinity College and is a self-confessed maths ‘nerd’. It was Aisling who came up with the name ‘How to Square a Circle’
“We are really excited to be able to tour the show because when we made it we weren’t sure whether it would get to go anywhere again. The reception last year in places like the Dean Crowe in Athlone was really good,” she said.
For Ronan and Aisling, this is clearly a labour of love, though Ronan believes it’s not always perceived as serious work.
“It’s a bit of a novelty at the start and unfortunately sometimes it continues as a novelty. There’s this notion that I’ve run away with the circus and while it’s a cool line, the term suggests you’re running away from something. That’s not the case; it’s the same as a freelance salesperson or anything else. Sometimes you’re all over the country with work,” he said.
“You’re definitely not in it for the money anyway…” Aisling interjects.
Ronan continues: “It’s such a slog and we wouldn’t be doing this if they Arts Council didn’t fund the tour”.
Aisling adds: “And if Roscommon Arts Centre didn’t help us out and give us this space and support our application”.
The training and rehearsals certainly aren’t for the faint-hearted. Aisling said that each session begins with an hour-long warm-up followed by another hour of conditioning and training.
“Our schedule here is 9 am to 11 am is training skills and then from 11 until 5.30 pm we will be working with a director. Then we warm down for half an hour and then when we’ve finished that there will be meetings and organising until about 9 pm,” she said.
So what can the Roscommon Arts Centre audience expect next Thursday?
“This will be like Irish Circus, which is story-telling and spectacle in one,” Aisling said.
Ronan added: “Images and videos tell a certain amount but there’s nothing as impressive as seeing this in the flesh. You know that someone might do a handstand for example but when you’re actually there and they’re doing a handstand it’s something else.
“We want to tell a story and we’ll use our physical vocabulary to tell that story. You’ll come away with so much more than seeing ‘cool tricks’,” he said, before Aisling had the final word…“You’ll get the ‘cool tricks’ and a story!”
Tickets for this one-of-a-kind show are on sale now from the Roscommon Arts Centre box office on 090-6625824 or at www.roscommonartscentre.ie.