Shaun Dunne and Talking Shop Ensemble’s production Rapids will return to the Project Arts Centre from February 6-9 before the play tours the country with performances in Wicklow, Cork, Louth, Galway and Limerick.
The play thoughtfully examines instances of disclosure, and the presence of stigma in the lives of those living with HIV in Ireland today. The piece experiments with form with an aim towards making the private public.
In devising Rapids the company collaborated with a number of different groups from Ireland’s HIV Positive community, from young men in rural Ireland to migrant women seeking asylum. Talking Shop Ensemble’s community outreach continues with Rapids’ return as the company will be partnering with ACT UP! in a series of post-show panel discussions and workshops with local universities throughout the national tour.
One of the show’s creators, Shaun Dunne, spoke about the need for representation in the navigation of stigma with regards to HIV:
“A lot of people here are afraid to speak about their HIV status. Many people refuse to even say the words. For two years we have met with members and allies of the HIV+ community in Ireland today.”
“We told them we would abstract their words and stories. We promised that we would never betray their confidence and that we would make sure they were safe.
“When they started talking they wouldn’t stop.”
Dunne commented on how disclosure plays a large part in Rapids’ dramaturgy:
“Secrets and sex go hand in hand in Ireland. We wanted to find a way to challenge that polemic. This is only the beginning of that effort. In a country where someone is diagnosed with HIV every 18 hours, we know that these stories need to be heard now more than ever.”
Rapids runs in the Project Arts Centre between February 6-9. For tickets and more information, head to projectartscentre.ie.
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