Stella Feehily

Notes

Life
b. London; grew up in Bundoran, Co. Donegal; ed. Gaiety School of Acting, Dublin; authored Game (Project Arts Centre), a one-act play, and Duck (2003), a full-length play about teenager girls in Dublin, premiered by Out of Joint at Royal Court Th. [Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmonds], 24 July 2003; also O Go My Man (Out of Joint 2006), a play concerned with identities in which a correspondent returning from Dafur cheats on his wife in the Dublin of money, sex and celebrity; directed at the Royal Court Th. by Max Stafford Clark - the title being an anagram for “monogamy”; also Catch (Out of Joint 2006), in collab. with Tanika Gupta and others; has appeared in A Christmas Carol (Gate Theatre), Macbeth (Tivoli), Ten (Project Arts Centre), Letters to Felice (Pavilion) and Iphigenia At Aulis (Abbey), played Agnes in the stage adaptation of Kate O’Brien’s The Ante-Room (Limerick 1996), and plays Sorcha Byrne in RTÉ’s Fair City soap.

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Works
Duck (London: Nick Hern Books 2003), 111pp.; O Go My Man (London: Nick Hern 2006), 128pp.; with April de Angelis, Tanika Gupta, Chloe Moss & Laura Wade, Catch [Oberon Mod. Plays] (London: Oberon 2006), 95pp.

See sundry reviews of O Go My Man, in Commentary, infra.

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Commentary
Eamonn Kelly, review of O Go My Man, in Books Ireland (Dec. 2007): ‘The play questions, among other things, the honesty of charity and concern for the trouble spots in the world as the characters adopt charitable concerns merely it seems to enhance their own ethical superiority in their mad milieu of acquisitiveness and self-regard. The play hilariously portrays a society fracturingfrom the top down as individualism runs rampant and relationships are sundered on an erotic whim while everyone affects concern for the situation in Darfur. / 0 Go My Man is a timely satire on the absurdities of celebrity culture where everyone expects a kind of james Bond lifestyle, suffering the disappointments of failing short of this dream benchmark. This ideal is set against the realities of life, the simple but challenging task of just getting through. / The conflict between dream and reality is hilariously set off when one character, Sarah, a struggling but ambitious actress, has to settle for a part in a touring show of a hip hop version of Alice in Wonderland. With this device Feehily adeptly weaves elements of the topsy-turvey world of Alice through the action of the play, underscoring the madness and sheer absurdity of the lives of the characters and by extension the madcap reality of life in post-Celtic-Tiger Dublin.’ (p.285.)

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Lizzie Loveridge, review-notice on O Go My Man, in Curtain Up, at The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews: ‘Stella Feehily gives us quite a lot of occupational information about each of the serial monogamists. We follow Sarah through the long process of auditions and casting, firstly for an advert for breakfast cereal, then in pantomime and with the compromised financial security of a part in a hospital set soap. Post Sarah, Ian finds success as a photographer and the highlight of the play is the exhibition of detailed and intimate photographs of his time with Sarah without Sarah’s knowledge or permission. Some revenge! Elsa has shenanigans with her celebrity chef and Neil feels the need to get back to his career as what is described by another as an “atrocity tourist”. But although these people mostly live to work rather than work to live, we are left in no doubt that what really excites them is sex and companionship. / Stella Feehily has a wonderful feeling for great acerbic comedy. [...; see account of plot and characters in Notes, infra; go to full text in RICORSO Library, “Reviews”, infra.]

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References
Websites: There is a website page at Doolee.com [link] without biographical information other than nationality but including some plot summaries; see also Dublin Th. Festival 2007 [link].

See also review of O Go My Man on the Curtain Up website [11.03.2007]. Out of Joint has a website, with reviews of Duck [link].

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Notes
Duck (2003) - I: ‘Set in present-day Dublin, Duck follows Cat, in her late teens and temping as a nightclub hostess. She tries to jolt-start her life by blowing up her boyfriend’s car and hopping into bed with a fifty-year-old married man. But for all her hellraising, she comes to realise that companionship with her best mate Sophie offers the best option after all.’ (From www.doollee.com [11.03.2007]).

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Duck (2003) - II: ‘Cat and Sophie are teenagers on the brink, growing up in the face of everything a city can throw at them in a world where your mum’s biggest worry is whether the milk’s back in the fridge, your lover refuses to say your name, and the girl in the next cubicle has a low voice and surprisingly hairy hands. / You can’t learn to be good when your elders are no longer your betters. Somehow Cat must cope or find a way of escaping. / Duck is the sparky and moving first play from Stella Feehily. Max Stafford-Clark’s vivid production spills from the homes, bars and streets of Dublin. / Duck has been developed by Out of Joint and Royal Court in association with the Abbey Theatre.’ (Dublin Th. Festival 2007 website [acccessed 11 March 2007].)

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O Go My Man (2006): ‘[...] Feehily moves on to examine what drives the thirty and forty something generation. The play is sexually explicit, often caustically funny and has moments of deep comment on the human condition and our struggle in the mire of connecting with a sexual partner. / Opening in the Sudan where Neil (Ewan Stewart) is reporting on the atrocities of the Janjaweed against villages near Darfur, the scene switches to Dublin where he is returning to his wife of fifteen years Zoe (Aoife McMahon) and his teenage daughter Maggie (Gemma Reeves) to break the news that he has a lover, Sarah (Susan Lynch). She has been in a relationship for ten years with photographer Ian (Paul Hickey) but this is disintegrating. Both Neil and Sarah leave their ex-partners longing for revenge. Ian meets a television director Elsa (Denise Gough) whose programmes feature a celebrity chef. Zoe embarks on dating agency videos and using the internet to find a new partner. [See full text in RICORSO Library, Criticism > Reviews, infra.]

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