Carndonagh’s Oisin Moyne, whose play production was controversially cancelled in the Netherlands because he auditioned only men for the all-male cast, has spoken of the “absurd” nature of the production’s cancellation and the “surreal” media coverage it has since received.
Oisin had intended to make his directorial debut with Samuel Beckett’s famous theatrical play ‘Waiting for Godot’ in the Dutch city of Groningen, where he now lives and works.
The production was due to be performed at the University of Groningen’s Usva student cultural centre next month.
However, it was unexpectedly cancelled after the university discovered that the casting call for the play’s five male roles had been open solely to men.
Playwright Beckett had stipulated that ‘Godot’ should only be performed by five men – and he once sued a theatre company for casting women in the play.
However, a University of Groningen spokesperson said “times have changed” and they found the notion that only men are suitable for the roles to be “outdated” and “discriminatory”.
Usva theatre programmer Bram Douwes told the local ‘Ukrant’ newspaper that sections of people cannot be banned from auditioning for roles there.
“If it concerned a play with five white guys that they’d held open auditions for, everything would have been fine. But you can’t ban people right from the start,” he said.
The story has since been making headlines internationally, having been picked up by the Irish Times and others – and the Carn man at the centre of it all can scarcely believe it.
“My reaction can be summed up in one word alone: absurd,” says Oisin.
“I think none of us really expected any of this to have happened. The amount of media attention has been truly surreal.”
“The original cancellation is a bit unfortunate and it has indeed sparked a very interesting debate about theatre and inclusivity and the rights of the author,” Oisin added.
The 24-year-old Inishowen native has lived in Groningen, in northern Netherlands, for a number of years having originally moved there to study physics. He now lives and works in the city.
Oisin says he’s been “busy and stressed” since the sudden cancellation and he’s now focussed on finding an alternative venue for the production so that all the work to put the play on isn’t lost.
“That’s our main priority right now. We are actively looking for locations.”
“We have some potential options and we’re discussing with the cast and crew themselves to see how everyone as a group wants to move forward.”
“But ultimately I think we just want to see the play done now – for all the work that our cast and crew have done over the past four months to mean something and to have some value. For them to feel like their work is being appreciated.”
Oisin became involved in theatre as a hobby.
“It has remained that way but now it seems altogether more dramatic and larger scale,” he said.
He’s hopeful that an alternative venue will be found and that his parents, Gerard and Dr Siofra, will still be able to fly out to watch the action next month.
In the meantime, it’s very much a case of Waiting for Godot!