This year’s Fringe marks ten years since Jessie Doyle’s debut in the festival. She appeared in The Bus Project, directed by Louise Lowe. Since then she’s gone on to work with ANU on several productions, Sugarglass Theatre Company, RTE and Fishamble. She’s had the pleasure of working with the likes of Emma O’Kane, Jo Mangan and Gary Duggan. Doyle received a BA (honours) in Drama Performance from DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama in 2012. More recently, she attended a course with Emmet Kirwan and Jess Traynor for performing and writing spoken word.
We caught up with Jessie Doyle last week to ask about her new Fringe show, These Lights.
BD: Describe in your own words what These Lights is about.
JD: “The show is set in a future sci-fi tech heavy Dublin. Everyone has been implanted with chips that act as our link to the internet, to each other, to the governing bodies. Think 1984 but the telescreens are in your head – google glass but plugged into your spinal cord. In this sci-fi world we look at one family – two sisters, similar by birth but dissimilar by choice. The elder, Brid, has worked hard within this system and has become quite successful, working for NASA over in California.
“The younger sister, Valentina, has stayed home to be the primary carer for their ailing and bed-bound mother. Where Brid totally buys into the system – the perfect citizen – Valentina hates everything it stands for. In a zero tolerance policy world where you can be shut down remotely for having any kind of threatening thought Valentina attends clandestine resistance happenings – she’s found a place away from the constant barrage of information and emotional limiters. She has found a lover. Then, very unexpectedly, Brid returns home with shattering news to totally turn Valentina’s world upside down.”
Where did the inspiration for the show come from?
“It was a few things all percolating at the same time. The idea of the lights came first. Just unknown lights in the sky. And what if they affected people, what if they made people a little crazy – like if there was no night-time, only light for days, weeks on end. What would that do to a person used to a normal day-and-night cycle? I asked a good friend of mine – an astrophysicist – if it would be possible, and he mused on the fact that if an asteroid were approaching the earth it would start to reflect light from the sun. How sunlight can bounce off the melting ice particles to create a comet’s tail.
What if we were seeing an asteroid but didn’t know?
“Another thread in the mix is that, according to NASA, we’re currently due a large-scale asteroid impact. In the wake of fake news and alternative facts and Rogue Parks and Rogue White House Staffers, I wondered at the tipping point between information collation and dissemination. The onus on scientific institutions to inform the public. The responsibility of it. What if they didn’t?
“In a broader sense, I’ve always had a fascination for sci-fi and technology – specifically with this show looking at moving towards an all-tech society and how a purely organic being can and must adapt to existing in that space.”
Loving these gorge lush rehearsal shots of #TheseLights by the talented @tristan_shiels. We preview next week! Tickets here: fringefest.com/festival/whats-on/these-lights . . . #theatre #behindthescenes #rehearsals #rehearsalshot #irishtheatre #newwriting #dublinfringe #fringetheatre #scifi #photography #portrait #mood #atmospheric #dark #darkphotography #actorslife #actors #makingplays #dublin
If you had to pick three other acts to see at the Fringe, who would they be?
“It’s so hard to just pick 3! This year’s Fringe is positively bursting at the seams with fantastic work. I’ll pick three I can’t miss. All Honey by the effervescent Ciara Elizabeth Smyth with the smoldering Jeda deBrí at the helm and a star-studded cast. Everything not Saved by Malaprop. I mean, just look at that pink anorak promo shot. I’m sold. Seriously though, Malaprop is making very exciting things right now and I’m very excited to see it. Neon Western – ‘cos I really wanna go to the Soiled Dove saloon.
A saloon! It sounds like a really fab immersive piece.”