Theatre Show Proposal from 2001: The Tasks of Harry Cleese

I used to work for Macnas in Galway and in 2001 I was inspired to draft a proposal for a show based on the myth of Heracles (or Hercules as the Romans had him). I submitted it on spec and nothing ever came of it (and I mean nothing, it wasn’t even acknowledged). The written treatment is lost on a crashed harddrive somewhere but I found the designs I drew up to go with the proposal last night so I thought I’d share them here.
Macnas at the time had an obsession with The Odyssey, producing no less than 3 shows based around the epic, including a promenade performance for the Galway Arts Festival called Ollie Deasy. This had a stylised contemporary Irish setting, and had some successful stagecraft in it. I thought I’d continue in the vein, proposing an adaptation of the labours of Heracles with a similar setting, and came up with The Tasks of Harry Cleese.
At the time I’d just come across Julie Taymor and was exceptionally turned on by her approach to puppetry and performance, and had met and worked with Michael Curry in New York the previous year for the Millenium celebrations. Also, Irish production designer Tom Conroy had given several of us a crash course in designing for the stage and street during the year. Those influences are very apparent looking back on these drawings.


From the story I submitted I seem to remember that the drink was Harry’s demon, and that his wife had left him, taking the kids with her (Heracles in the Greek original had killed his own children during a bout of madness), and the tasks were a feverish penance in his own head to right his wrongs. So his own home was laid siege by the Hydra in the form of a tree (see above), mocking him every time he looked out the window.

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Setanta and the Hound: Design for Croke Park Hurling Final 2001

Setanta and the Hound Design Croke Park 2001
I came across several shelves’ worth of old drawings and designs tonight. This one was an artist’s impression for a proposal that the then Mac Teo (now Arcana) was putting to Croke Park for interval entertainment at the 2001 Hurling Final. It was a retelling of the Setanta and the Hound myth and the proposal eventually took life like this:

Thinking of buying a laptop? Steer clear of Dell Studios.

Round about this time last year I bought a Dell Studio 1735. On the experience of that purchase I’ll never buy Dell again: this badly designed, unresponsive piece of plastic has expunged me of any trust in any other Dell products. Firstly, the keyboard has the most dreadful action of any keys I’ve ever pressed, … Read more