Dublin Fringe preview: Vickey Curtis writes for Culture about her new show GAA MAAD, co-created with Aine O'Hara, which premieres at this year's Fringe, and asks: what does it mean to be GAA? 

Myself and Mayo native Aine O'Hara have been friends for a few years, we were co-workers working on some Dublin Fringe shows and other events. We didn’t know too much about each other, other than the fact that we were art pals. Moved in similar circles, worked in the same rooms, had good conversations about design and performance art.

Our friendship exploded when one day, in a theatre space, Aine told me she couldn’t work on the Saturday matinee because something had come up. I thought the worst, maybe someone was sick, or a pet had died. Aine was a tad sheepish in coming out and telling me straight that she was going to a replay of the Dublin versus Mayo All Ireland Final, but when she told me I near lifted off the chair with jealousy, what with me being a Dublin fan. I couldn’t go, because I was in the show we were working on.

We talked about how Croke Park is the biggest stage in Ireland. How the championships, and leagues have all the features of great dramas, the agonies, and the ecstasies. Not forgetting tragedies.

After that our conversations, friendship and rivalry grew. We spoke about how being gay and queer felt different in a GAA space than it did in a theatre space. We felt that in the theatre space we always had to explain our fandom of the GAA, and when we were at the matches our queer features were heightened and gawked at. We wondered why that was? Why as GAA fans were we outsiders in the theatre, and in the stands as fans we were outsiders too.

We talked about how Croke Park is the biggest stage in Ireland. How the championships, and leagues have all the features of great dramas, the agonies, and the ecstasies. Not forgetting tragedies.

What does it mean to be GAA? What is it about the GAA that is in all of us Irish?

Then we wondered why has the GAA not been represented on stage. It is so entwined in our heritage and stories. So we took it upon ourselves to write a piece that would explore the giant that is the GAA. And so GAA MAAD was born.

We want to explore through performance art, and spoken word what does it mean to be GAA? What is it about the GAA that is in all of us Irish?

GAA MAAD: Aine O'Hara and Vickey Curtis

Whether you like it or not you feel something when you see Croke Park, or hear The Sunday Game theme tune. It’s club, county and country all in one. It’s sport, history and drama. It’s Irish pride. It’s our language and love.

It brings families together and makes friends rivals for seventy minutes.

It has characters, colors and pride. It all Ireland, all island.

It brings us together and drives us mad.

GAA MAAD is on in at Bewleys Café Theatre as part of Dublin Fringe Festival from September 9th through 21st - find out more here.