The Muse Unbidden

Download: The Muse Unbidden

The Muse Unbidden is an exciting one off drama from Roger Gregg, one of Ireland’s most influential radio dramatists. The play, a success on stage at the Collaborations festival in Smock Alley theatre in 2012, follows a group of would-be poets enrolled in a performance poetry workshop led by a charismatic and unconventional teacher. Using music and dream diaries, the participants are cajoled into finding and surrendering to their personal muses. As the workshop progresses they travel a rollicking odyssey of confession and self-revelation, giving voice to their obsessions, desires, wit, pain, and memories. For some their uninhibited self-expression leads to joyous catharsis, for others to grief and loss. The play satirises the world of performance poetry, blending music and poetry to create an original and entertaining programme. This satire on modern poetry and self-discovery, written and directed by Roger Gregg features original musical score performed and recorded by a cast of multi-talented actor-musicians.

The show revolves around the artistic journeys of five students and one teacher: each embodying an archetypical poetry workshop attendee. Mags is confused about her marriage, Liz suffers from anger problems, Hillary believes herself to be next in line for Heaney’s throne, Cathy is experiencing depression, Theo thinks he can change the world. Their identities are in flux during the ten weeks we are shown of their course; as they grow and change and develop through their creations. Peter, the teacher, is passionate to the point of being overzealous. His fear and under-qualification to deal with people’s emotional trauma is something all teachers can relate to.

The students each struggle with finding and taming their muse: in most cases, the muse takes the form of their desires and demons – leading them to something they need in their lives which is much greater than a piece of poetry. The Muse Unbidden addresses poetry as therapy. Poetry allows people to work through their conflicts and emotional issues.

Anyone who has attended a poetry workshop or facilitates one, or even maybe only picks up a pen from time to time will find something to relate to. Even listeners who’ve never written before will be lured in with the promise of what might become if they dare reach out to their muse. The Muse Unbidden explodes with energy, and fearlessly touches sore areas of Irish culture’s attitude to canonical poetry in ways that might sting but will leave listeners thinking.

CREDITS: ‘The Muse Unbidden’ was executive produced by Gareth Stack, writing / direction by Roger Gregg, recording by Colette Kinsella. The cast were Morgan Jones, Tiernan Kearns, Angel Hannigan, Sinead Fox, Katie McCann, Karen Ardiff and Roger Gregg. Music by Roger Gregg.

Funded by the Broadcast Authority of Ireland with the television license fee.

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