The Big Deal Coming to Project Arts Centre October 31st-November 5th

The Big Deal at Project Arts Centre from projectarts on Vimeo.

Review of The Big Deal Irish Theatre Magazine

The Big Deal is a compelling portrayal of exceptional friends in exceptional circumstances. Although born male, Cathy and Deborah – formerly Patrick and Sean – grew up identifying as female, undergoing gender reassignment surgery as adults. Drawing on interviews, diaries and letters exchanged between the pair as they transitioned during the 1990s, The Big Deal is a moving and unflinching portrayal of lives rarely accounted for in Irish culture, let alone on the Irish stage.

The Big Deal Kilkenny Arts Festival August 10th-14th

Dear Cathy,

It’s 10.30pm on Tuesday night. I have just finished your recent email. You are now on the way to recovery. You are here now as you should have been and will be until the day you die. So whilst I struggle slowly onward and upward, you are already there.

Love Deborah

Irish Theatre Magazine Director's Diary Una McKevitt on The Big Deal

Una McKevitt, a Dublin-based theatre practitioner, describes her documentary theatre craft and the background to her latest work,
The Big Deal, which opens at Kilkenny Arts Festival this week:
On Thursday August 5th, actors Una Kavanagh and Shani Williams did a run through of our new show The Big Deal without a script for the first time. I'm a Project Catalyst at Project Arts Centre and we’re teching the show there this week in preparation for the Kilkenny Arts Festival. During the run through there was some stopping and starting but that was to be expected as the script was only finalised the day before.

Front Lines The Irish Times Sat July 30th 2011

True characters
Una McKevitt, theatre maker
Tell us about your new play . . . The Big Deal is about two women’s experiences of having been born into the wrong bodies and their struggles to rectify this situation throughout their lives.

Your plays draw on real-life experiences and real-life texts . . . I think everyone has the most extraordinary life - just getting up and going about your day and falling asleep. It’s the ordinary detail that I find most revealing.

565+ at Visual Centre of Contemporary Arts and The George Bernard Shaw Theatre Carlow July 16th 2011

Roisin McGarr, Artistic Director of The George Bernard Shaw Theatre in Carlow invited 565+ to Carlow July 16th and the evening turned out to a very memorable one for us with great attendance and a wonderful post show hosted by Local Councilor Walter Lacey. The marketing team at GBS, special thank to Miriam Roche, garnered great publicity for the event including a fantastic write up in The Irish Times by Syliva Thompson 'Love of Theatre Saved My Life'.

Victor and Gord/565+ Double Bill Mermaid Arts Centre Bray July 1st 2011

In July 2011 Nora Hickey M'Sichili the Artistic Director of Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray gave us the great opportunity to participate in the Synge Summer School by presenting 2 shows, 565+ and Victor and Gord at Mermaid. Hosted by Patrick Lonergan we participated in a post show discussion afterwards. Staff at the Mermaid were very welcoming and we had a great night. For the first time since our work in progress back in May 2010 Marie and I performed 565+ together. As well as Fintan Walsh and Patrick Lonergan the Theatre Scholars Jill Dolan and Stacy Wolf from Princeton University attended the performances. Jill has written about the evening in her blog 'The Feminist Spectator' and it is a great insight into both the evening and the two shows. Earlier that day the Summer School Students had read Victor and Gord, Ali and Michael (a previous incarnation of Victor and Gord) presented at Queer Notions Festival 2009 and published in Fintan Walsh's book 'Queer Notions'.

Victor and Gord at Kilkenny Arts Festival 2010

2010 was my first time in Kilkenny and I loved the city, loved the pubs, loved the festival. We were put up in great accomodation - Victor had her own suite - and we played 5 1pm shows at the back of Cleere's pub where they have a performance space including a stage. It was our first time on a raised stage and the playing space was smaller than we were used to but Ciaran O'Melia did a great job of re-jigging our design to suit the space. John and Brian behind the bar looked after us from the minute we arrived to the day we left and made a small fortune in orange cordials before the show.

We got a great crowd for our first show and after that we sold out completely, people stood at the sides, at the back, I had to climb up into the box to see the show. 1pm shows are great; the day and night are yours to do what you like with. The guys had about a 100 friends visit them from Dublin through the week and on the Wednesday we hosted a big bbq back in the house where Jay cooked up a storm. Kilkenny was good to us, the Festival was great to us. Can't wait to go back.

A word from our audiences about 565+

1.Unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I like that you speak in a hush as though confiding in us. I likethat you came out of the audience and at last return to us.
2. Marie is riveting – could not keep my eyes off her for a second. Very genuine.
3. For reasons I can’t explain Marie opening and closing the play in the audience was incredibly powerful. Her monologue was amazing; thank you so much.

Irish Theatre Magazine

Below is an extract from Thomas Conway's article 'The World on their own Terms' from the December 2010 issue of Irish Theatre Magazine.

Una McKevitt’s work is marked by a keen instinct for the fecundity of available text. And the more she goes in its pursuit, the more she discovers in text its sensuous values. Her work is shifting theatre instinctively along an axis from sense to sensuality. Text is not just the words spoken, but the music – cadence, pitch, tonal qualities – of that utterance. Not alone the music, but the movements, gestures, signatures of “non-professional” performers – as they are, for the most part, with her work – in space and time. Not alone signatures of her performers, but of audience members summoned to stand, so to speak, alongside them by virtue of their witness. McKevitt evidently loves to read people.

565+ Washington

A great thank you to the fantastic audiences we met during the UBDTF last October 2010 and to the festival for their support of the show.

In November 2010 we took an edited version of the 565+ to Solas Nua in Washington DC performing at Flashpoint Theatre. On our way to the theatre every evening we walked past The White House and during the day tried to do as much sight seeing as possible: DC is a tourist's dream! It was our first experience of going abroad with a show and I think it might be one of the best ways to experience a city. We were invited by Solas Nua and Project Brand New who are running the same initiative in Washington again this year (2011) bringing a total of 9 new pieces of Irish Theatre to DC in 12 months.