Swan Lake/Loch na hEala also features a full-blown acting role, that of Rothbart, the sorcerer of the original Swan Lake who casts a spell on Odette and whom Keegan-Dolan has reconfigured into an abusive Catholic priest. The acclaimed Irish actor Mikel Murfi plays the role.
“He’s one of the finest actors in Ireland,” Keegan-Dolan says. “I met him a few times in the years leading up to the actual rehearsal process. His character is really complicated. He plays Rothbart – who we call the Holy Man in this case – and he also plays all these other characters: a doctor, priest, a councilor and a sergeant of the guards. He shape-shifts through the piece which is a lot of fun, as you can imagine.”
Challenging though it is, Swan Lake/Loch na hEala has struck a chord with its audiences. “Wherever we go, it sells out,” Keegan-Dolan says. “I think people are always drawn to stories about people like them and the theatre is the place – the finest place – to celebrate the connection between one human and another. Whatever happens technologically for us in the next 20, 50, 100 years, we’ll always have an appetite for that.”