Ordinary Love is written, produced and directed by the Linc Drama Group. The drama group is facilitated by Sonya Mathews, a former robotics engineer (I’m serious!), who is a well-known actor, director and drama teacher. Sonya started the group in April 2013 because she wanted to give women in the lesbian community a forum to express themselves, learn new skills and improve confidence and self-esteem.
“When I began this group I thought I would be the one teaching them but I have learned so much from these incredible, talented women. I have never met such a dedicated group of artists in my professional career. They are natural actors, comedians and writers. It is an honour to work with these women. I have the best job in the world!”
The drama group is a mixed bunch, different ages, experiences and nationalities. Some have been part of the lesbian community in Cork for decades while others have recently moved to Cork or are engaging with the community for the first time. Some have drama training and experience, while others are new to it all.
I had been involved in a previous Linc drama group, Dyke Dramas, which had put on a week long performance in the Granary Theatre in Cork in 2004. I had loved that experience and was excited to join the new drama group when it formed. Another member, Alice, is a graduate of the London drama school, East 15. She wanted to find a drama group that would allow her to express herself within an ensemble. Barbara “joined the group to meet people and have some fun. I had never been in a drama group before and wanted to try something new. Being in the Linc drama group has been a great experience.”
Pauline was encouraged by a friend to join the group. Margaret just wanted to get involved with a drama group. Rudie joined the drama group “because I wanted to do something different, something to do with creativity. The drama group provides a space for discussion and is a great deal of fun.” Kate joined the drama group “as a creative outlet for myself, I am passionate about performing arts and was desperate to get involved. I enjoy the relaxed social environment of the group. No body has any ego, every one is given a voice and a chance.”
Having spent some time working on drama techniques, the group began to read plays with an eye to putting on a performance. However none of these plays had resonance with the group and we decided that we wanted to write our own play that would reflect the issues and experiences we felt were important to us as lesbian and bisexual women living in Cork.
The process of writing the play has been as important for me as the end product. We have had hours of discussions and debates about our experiences and what we wanted reflected in the play and these have then become woven into the play that emerged. For Alice the process of writing the play has been fascinating. “It was organic in a way that it came together as we were telling our own stories, moulding them together to create this original love story that we can all relate to.” Alice loved how “some rehearsals we would just get on our feet, improvise, and others we would sit down, tell painful or funny anecdotes and write down scenes.” Pauline has really enjoyed every aspect of the acting and the writing process. “LINC drama is a fantastic group to be involved in.”
Barbara comments: “I really enjoyed writing the play. This was an extra bonus. It was great to be in a group creating something brand new. It gave me confidence in my ability to write and it was really interesting to see how everyone’s ideas could mesh together so well when everyone was so interested and motivated.” As Sonya puts it: “We wrote as a group and the participants even got homework! So each participant has written at least one scene on their own and others as a group.”
The play that emerged is basically a love story between two women, spanning four decades. The play begins with Sara (early 60’s) standing alone, just after scattering her life partner’s ashes. She begins reflecting on their life together and the love they shared. Her memories and life appear before the audience in the form of her younger self and people who touched her life. Her story evolves from coming out to family and friends, to finally meeting the girl of her dreams. Clarissa is the young woman who steals her heart and changes her life forever. Although there is heartache in this story, as there is in life, there are plenty of laughs too in the form of an ex girlfriend and two best friends.
For Rudie the play Ordinary Love represents some of the lived experiences of lesbians and is relevant to current lesbian and gay debates. The story is about an ordinary love that bound two women forever. It is, as Alice says, “set in our time period and even though it is about a lesbian love, everybody can relate to it as Love, with a big L, does not have a gender, nor colour, nor sexual orientation, but only a powerful, universal human feeling.”
Tickets for Ordinary Love can be purchased from the CAT Club 021 4505624 €10
More images to follow!