Director’s Note: Janine Watson, ALONE IT STANDS

16 Jan 2024

ALONE IT STANDS is the true story of a significant event in Irish sporting history. It is ridiculously physical and very funny. But it is also John Breen’s love letter to his town and country. To the people of his nation at a time of lost hope. To the kind of unity and communion amongst humans that is singular to live experience of any kind — sport, concert, theatre. What it demands of the cast is acting as an extreme sport. It is such a physical play. The choreography of the scenes from beginning to end is rigorous and detailed. The actors have to change accents not only scene to scene but within the scenes themselves. And much like the game of rugby itself, the chaos often disguises the technique and detailed analysis that has gone into the work. Never before have I used huge scrapbooks and drawn out the staging for every moment like football game play, so each actor has a solid topography. The most important thing though is that these 6 actors manage to bring truth and heart to even the smallest of characters. They embody and translate the essence of John Breen’s play — warmth, irreverence, joy, energy. I have to express personal thanks to my creative collaborators; Linda our dialect coach, Tim our fight director and Chloë our intimacy coordinator for the expertise you all brought in crafting this production. Special thanks to our cultural
consultant Tiana Tiakiwai for allowing us to explore the Haka KA MATE and perform it with respect and honour to its origin and history. Thank you to John Eales for such generosity and sage wisdom, for helping me discover the true spirit of the play — and illuminating for me the sportsperson’s innate strive for immortality. And thank you to the wonderful John Breen for letting us read and perform your love letter — for me, the only thing truly immortal is love. For these characters it’s ultimately love that unites these people. Love that unifies and creates new hope.

A special thank you to Lauren our stage manager who is the best in the biz, and epic thanks to Jess, Matt, Emma, Renata and the entire production team led by Romy.

Janine Watson

Playing 25 Jan – 2 Mar, don’t miss this fast-paced and heart-warming play by John Breen.