Michele Moran on the B for Baby Tour
 

Michele Moran on the B for Baby Tour

Michele Moran gives the low down on the Abbey’s national tour.

On to Belfast

As I leave Belfast I have some time to reflect on the city and the week we have had at the Lyric theatre doing B for Baby. Belfast seems to me in a strange way a young city – full of creative life and potential yet still not quite at ease in its own skin. I encountered a huge amount of kindness and generosity from the people. The new lyric is testimony to craftsmanship – it’s superb, all rock, wood and glass giving a feeling of expanse and might. The glass makes it clean and elegant as it lifts the eye up from the river Lagan and all the various woods finished to perfection add weight and gravitas. I felt very privileged to work there. The staff were delightful and there was live music galore to go with good food. I think the buzz is only getting started for the Lyric Theatre.

We are off to Navan and Drogheda this week and while in Belfast we recorded an interview for Navan’s local FM radio station. So go on and see this play! It’s only on for two nights in each venue!

B for Baby’s Baby

I met up and talked a lot with one of the artistic directors of the festival, a beautiful vibrant woman who was behind the Abbey being invited to the festival. She talked of how B for Baby had literally slapped her in the chops. Her brother has a disability similar to the B character. More than that though, the thing that really shook her was the Mrs C/Brian storyline….How a couple can veer so close to destruction in trying to attain the very thing that should be a product of their love, a baby. She admitted she felt a great affinity with Mrs C and her desperation to have a child. The play made her see a reflection in her own life and indeed made her take action when she got back to Finland. She did not elaborate on what her and her husband’s Action was BUT the good news is they are now the proud parents to a two month old baby boy.

I’m counting this as the first known B FOR BABY’s baby! Our little Finnish baby will be our mascot to propel us on our way to telling the story of these fantastically brilliant flawed characters all over Ireland.

Belfast Next Bring It On.

On to the Play

Myself and Louis’s concern that the play would not be understood in Finland because of the language barrier were quickly dispelled. Whilst Finnish and Swedish are the nation’s first language’s, from age nine the children are taught English and know it very well. I was hard pressed to find a person who was not fluent and if anything they were eager to practice.

On my arrival in any venue on tour, I like to source out the local Yoga class as its great preparation for the show. B for Baby is very physical and as my body is very old it needs a lot of lubrication to get it functioning on all guns! Warming up is an extremely valuable and essential part of an actors life and I usually give at least two/three hours each day to waking up the body and the voice so it’s in order and ready for performance.

On the third visit to my all Finnish yoga class, the teacher performed the class in English in my honour after gaining the permission of the other yogi’s. It was a very sweet gesture and for me summed up the warmth and awareness I felt from the Finnish people for my time at the Tampere festival.

What I didn’t know about Finalnd

Wow who knew the Finn’s to be the Nordic version of the Irish? It appears to be true if the Abbey’s trip last month is anything to go by. There were many similarities; family orientated, art loving, hard workers, a mysterious sense of fun and at the weekend’s massive partiers with the help of alcohol.

It was the 43rd Tampere theatre festival, a very prestigious event and there was hundred’s of sights to see and shows to attend right across the arts spectrum. It seems the whole city was involved. Our hosts were extremely gracious and friendly, hosting a drinks reception after the show attended by many including the Irish ambassador from Helsinki. We felt really appreciated and indeed very well represented. Who knew there is an Irish/Finnish society, set up by a Finn that won a scholarship to UCD a hundred or so years ago and has since written a Finnish guide to Ireland! He informed me his publishers declined his offer to update it. More like they declined to buy his ticket to Ireland!

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There are two actors in this show, four excellent professional technicians and at each venue we meet a local snake that somehow no matter what it’s size or colour manages to upstage both me and Louis. There is some debate as to the naming of our temporary star, but I call them all Sammy – I’m fickle that way!

The snake in Finland was a proper grass snake big and long, and a feisty little fella who took delight in raising his head high in the air. The Belfast snake was tiny, he must have been fed on weight watchers mice he was so small!

There has been some trepidation on behalf of some of the audience as the notice outside the theatre says “SHOW CONTAINS PARTIAL NUDITY AND A SNAKE”. (Just like the bible, ha!)

Let me assure you it’s not a boa or a python, it’s a titch of a thing and it never leaves the hands of Louis, so no Cleopatra’s in the audience please. Don’t be frightened – Sammy is friends with everyone.

That’s all the news from me now.

Michele
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