The Salt Survivor

Ciara Fitzpatrick discusses the world premiere of Laurent Gaudé’s Sodome, My Love with Lynne Parker of the Rough Magic Theatre CompanySodome, My Love – a play by French author Laurent Gaudé, a winner of the Prix Goncourt – is to receive its world premiere at the Project Arts Centre this month. Translated into English by Olwen Fourée, an Irish-born actor of French parentage, this is the first time the play has been performed in either language. Fourée, as well as translating the work, is the sole performer of the work.Directing the piece is Rough Magic’s artistic director Lynne Parker, who elaborates on the content of the play to otwo. “It is sort of based loosely on the myth of Lot’s wife, who as you know was turned into a pillar of salt,” she explains, “but this is actually a story of a sort of mythic woman who was incarcerated in salt after the destruction of Sodome and is now coming back to life”. Moreover, “it’s really about her return to this world and how she’s bringing back into this world with her the whole essence of that destroyed city.”The author Laurent Gaudé is not a household name on these shores, but Parker notes that “his writing is very bleak and very intense and highly poetic, so it’s quite challenging to do, it’s wonderful.” Parker went to meet with the author in Paris, an experience she found “extremely useful”, and the author is due to pay a visit to Dublin to give a talk in the Project Arts Centre next month before a performance of his play.Parker’s next directorial project after Sodome, My Love is Rough Magic’s production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, starring Stockard Channing. One might imagine that it is difficult to make the transition from one play to the next, but this doesn’t seem to be the case for Parker. “You know you’re entering in these different worlds and that’s part of the fun of it actually, and that keeps your brain ticking over”.Rough Magic Theatre Company was set up twenty six years ago by Parker and some friends, who so enjoyed putting on plays as students in college, that they decided to pursue theatre professionally. The company has won two Fringe First awards in Edinburgh in the past nine years, and has won the Irish Times Theatre award for Best Production on four occasions.After such a long career in theatre, how does Parker maintain her passion and enthusiasm? The answer is a combination of things, but the biggest creative stimuli usually come from the people she works with. “It comes from the people you work with enormously, and you know as I say we’ve never confined ourselves to one style of theatre or one subject matter – so you know you’re always finding new things to question, and new ways of looking at how you work, and how that work interacts with the world about you.”Sodome, My Love previews at the Project Arts Centre on the 12th, 13th and 15th of March, and runs until the 27th.