I'm doing The Risen People essentially because my brother wanted to do a play, and wanted me to invest in it. I got to talking to him about it, and I said that an agit-prop play just wouldn't work in 1994. Then I read that Brecht said, 'I want to eliminate Puccini sentimentalism from the stage.' I thought that it would be a great idea to bring together Puccini-type sentimentalism and Brechtian-type theatre, because anything that he hated obviously had some powerful effect. The first time I directed The Risen People it was very politically direct. This time I was trying to look through the story to the underlying bones. I compared this story to Aida, and the way Verdi used Aida and the slaves to define Italian nationalism. The Risen People is about the last time that Irish nationalism came into conflict with the whole workers thing, before it was taken over by the lawyers and the poets and the whole middle class. This time the project is very expensive. It's quite interesting when your neck is on the line. Once you're successful in films, you get into a world made of cotton wool, where you are limo'd away from reality and you lose the edge. Realising that you only have X amount of money for something is a healthy process. I was thinking of making a film of The Risen People, but now I'm not so sure. In a film, you are stuck with the fact that Jim Larkin is the main character. It's a pity he didn't smoke or drink or go around with women. He was a bit insane, though. I don't think any of the present leadership of the Republican movement would be a good subject for a film, either, because they're grey figures in a way. I mean, peace doesn't make a very good film. War makes a good film.
'The Risen People' is at The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin (010-3531-6771717)
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