By Melissa Rose Bernardo
12 Apr 2012
A fervent fan of the 2006 modern-day movie musical "Once" will tell you that the title refers to the fairytale-like plot: Once upon a time, an Irish boy (Glen Hansard) met a Czech girl (Markéta Irglová).... Less romantic viewers might connect "once" to the ephemeral, lightning-in-a-bottle quality of the pair's connection. The fact that Hansard and Irglová — who wrote all the movie's infectious songs, including the Oscar-winning "Falling Slowly" — fell in love off screen, and have since parted, only bolsters that theory. (The beautiful, bittersweet documentary "The Swell Season," now on DVD, follows them on the road with their band and through their breakup.)
But the film's writer-director, John Carney, tells a different story on the "Once" feature commentary: "A lot of guys that I know...are very creative people, but they don't have the kind of get-up-and-go. So you hear that line a lot with these people: 'Once I get enough money, once I get out of my parents' house, once I get this little business set up, once I get my great script written, I'll be brilliant.' And they're not actually doing it.... It's the guy hiding behind the pint of Guinness who could be great."
|photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
"I really believe theatre should be an event, and the audience should have an experience from the moment they enter the theatre," says director John Tiffany. He never for a moment thought his pub conceit was impractical. "At the National Theatre of Scotland, we don't even have a building. We've done shows at the Edinburgh airport. Creating a pub onstage and letting the audience onto it is peanuts." And because any good watering hole needs a good soundtrack, Tiffany, musical director Martin Lowe, Hansard and the cast put together a pre-show selection of Irish and Czech folk songs. "We decided not to do them in a traditional way," he explains, "but that we would reinterpret them" in the style of contemporary folk bands like Bellowhead and Mumford & Sons and indie popster Lana Del Rey.
"When you walk in, what you're watching is a session — people gathering in pubs, musicians. And if they can't play an instrument they at least tell a story," says Irglovà, who toured with Hansard following "Once" (and still plays with him periodically). "That's the reality of the culture in Ireland. I was lucky enough to be welcomed into that. In many, many situations with Glen, since Glen brings his guitar everywhere, a session would spring out of the evening."Continued...