AWARD-WINNING THEATRE ‘My Dad’s Blind’ stars its author, Anna Sheils-McNamee, and renowned actor Steve Blount.
The winner of Best Production category at the Dublin Fringe Festival Awards 2018 is coming to the Ballina Arts Centre as part of a national tour. Centring on a dysfunctional relationship between a blind father and his sighted daughter, ‘My Dad’s Blind’ uses audio recordings, irreverent comedy and real-life memories to explore a father-daughter relationship and all the awkward, embarrassing and ridiculous ways the characters struggle to navigate a sighted world... with a guide dog that’s just had a stroke.
The play stars Steve Blount, who has previously starred in ‘Game of Thrones’, RTÉ’s ‘Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope’, and stage productions of Maeve Binchy’s Minding Frankie, and the play’s author, Anna Sheils-McNamee, who has previously starred in ‘Vikings’ and ‘The Importance of Nothing’. It is directed by Gemma Aked-Priestley.
The play’s subject is based on the real-life experience of its author, Sheils-McNamee, whose father is blind. This is no rose-tinted lens however – the writer pulls no punches, and her play remains grounded in reality. Expect no soft soaping.
“Growing up, people told me my Dad was ‘amazing’, which didn’t make any sense to me,” explains Sheils-McNamee. “He’s pretty boring – he works a 9-5 and watches Coronation Street in the evenings. I soon realised they were only saying this because he was blind. I wrote this play in response to that. However, this show ain’t no Ted Talk! Imagine Lauren from The Catherine Tate show (‘am I bothered?’) was a Kardashian [who] grew up with an epileptic guide dog – then you’ll be closer to the tone of this show.”
Reviewing the show, The Irish Times gave it four stars, and said that ‘at its core lies an astringent comic sensibility and a lively theatrical imagination, brought to life by the energetic performers’, praising it as ‘a singular vision of a potentially difficult subject’. Also giving it four stars, The Reviews Hub wrote that the play ‘feels more authentic than anything this reviewer has seen at the [Dublin] Fringe in years’. “This bracing play lets the audience see visual impairment in a new and original way,” said the Irish Independent.
For the first time ever, Audio Description will be available at every performance on the tour. Audio Description on the national tour is sponsored by Fighting Blindness. Fighting Blindness fund world-leading research into treatments and cures for blindness, while caring for people and families through counselling and peer to peer support services.
‘My Dad’s Blind’ will be staged in Ballina Arts Centre on September 18 at 8pm. For tickets (€18/€16) visit www.ballinaartscentre.com or call the arts centre on 096 73593.