Ireland’s vibrant spectacle: WAKE at Dublin’s National Stadium


Irelands Vibrant Spectacle: A Journey Through WAKE at National Stadium, Dublin, Concept art for illustrative purpose, tags: dublin's - Monok

The thought-provoking creation WAKE, orchestrated by THISISPOPBABY’s Jennings, McMahon, and Sweeney, presents a striking fusion of dance, music, and intense feeling through Kelliher’s compelling score. Felicia Olusanya, the Nigerian-Irish poet, sets the tone in her powerful opening monologue, inviting us to celebrate what’s lost and cherish the present – a poignant reflection on our post-pandemic lives. Her final incantation encapsulates the essence of the production – a poignant reminder of the connections that bind us even in death.

Irish dance is well represented with contemporary twists, including Flatley-inspired footwork and Cristian Emmanuel Dirocie’s breathtaking breakdance moves. Dirocie’s mesmerizing footwork added a new dimension to the show, showcasing Ireland’s embrace of diverse forms of movement.

The ensemble includes various Irish dancing styles and other adopted forms, creating a captivating tapestry of cultural expression. The emotions conveyed by the dancers, particularly Dirocie, transcended the boundaries of dance technique alone. It forged a powerful connection between performer and spectator.

This is the wake for everything that’s never coming back/This is the christening of the gorgeous radical nothing we’re facing

Felicia Olusanya

A rich tapestry

The show offers an eclectic mix of genres, leaving some audience members yearning for more of specific elements. However, the sheer diversity keeps WAKE engaging and thought-provoking for everyone.

The incorporation of aerialism and pole dancing into the show adds an extraordinary layer of visual spectacle. Lisette Krol’s rendition of Jade O’Connor’s song through pole dancing is a high point of the show that transcends the boundaries of these disciplines.

The participating artists’ mastery of these unconventional forms transforms them into powerful artistic expressions, enhancing the overall impact of the production. The live music component is a standout feature, with traditional Irish elements and avant-garde influences complementing each other seamlessly.

Esteemed guest performer

The show began on an exceptional note with the special guest appearance of violinist and composer Colm Mac Con Iomaire. His hauntingly beautiful rendition of The Minbar of Saladin captivated the audience with its intricate fusion of Middle Eastern and Western musical elements, leaving a profound impact on all who witnessed his mesmerizing performance. Mac Con Iomaire’s unique soundscapes transcended cultural boundaries, offering a testament to the power of music in bridging divides and connecting people from diverse backgrounds.

Drawing inspiration from his journeys through the Middle East alongside author Colum McCann, whose novel Apeirogon explores shared grief amidst longstanding divisions, Colm Mac Con Iomaire’s performance resonated deeply. His delicate yet evocative reflections on the Gaza genocide spoke volumes, offering a moment of quiet eloquence amidst the cacophony of artistic expression.

Through their artistic partnership in WAKE, Colm Mac Con Iomaire and author Colum McCann skillfully conveyed a profound message about human connection despite political complexities. Their collaborative piece, rooted in Palestinian-Israeli themes, served as a poignant testament to shared humanity. With their combined artistic expression,  they demonstrated a commitment to bridging divides and promoting understanding.

Some elements in WAKE, such as Emer Dineen’s portrayal of her English cousin and drag king Duncan Disorderly, might not appeal to everyone’s taste. Still, the production as a whole managed to captivate and inspire the audience. The diverse range of artistic expressions kept the crowd engaged and left them pondering long after the show had ended.

The captivating design aspects of this theatrical phenomenon, brought to life by Sweeney’s meticulous sets and graphics, as well as Smith’s exquisite costumes, were expertly illuminated by Galione’s brilliant lighting, creating a visually stunning and engaging atmosphere that heightened the impact of the production.

Experience the transformative power of WAKE as it goes beyond the boundaries of typical stage productions, leaving a deep and lasting impression on audiences through its moving blend of dance, music, and raw emotion.

Leave a Comment