As I explored the Abbey Theatre and surroundings via the different maps, it took a while to get comfortable. But after orienting myself, I could see how different the city and surroundings were as well as how the theatre was being shown. I noticed how in Thom’s 1904 map, the theatre would have been located in one of the twenty wards, the North Dock Ward along with the rest of the shipping related locations (Inner Dock, Old Dock, George’s Dock). Its location seemed very small and insignificant, and I imagined it not being that imposing grandiose image of a theatre that may often come to mind. That was understandable, I thought and I wasn’t too surprised.
However, when I toured the stages, the Peacock stage really took me by surprise. It was so compact and the ceilings so low, and the stage lacked all those aspects that seem to make up what a theatre is. I realized that, to many of us now, the theatre is defined so much by the experience of it– the size, the decorations, the sound– all coming together to form this luxurious, grand place. However, through knowing a bit about the history and the literary revival, this theatre really reminds us that the root is not in the superficial stuff, but in the thoughts and stories that come to life and in the audience that is becoming connected to these plays.
Upon first glance of the Peacock stage, I was also immediately reminded of the scene from La La Land where Mia is in her theatre for her one-woman play. It showed her fighting for her dream, giving it her all even with everything against her, and I think this same sort of energy and soul is present within the Abbey Theatre.