Writing 'Touch' was about trying to understand the feelings surrounding those elderly people in care at this extraordinary time. A short film about our need to be close to one another when the world is telling us to stay away - that we must stay alone. The story’s also about my own mother who died a number of years ago - and also about my own childhood. It’s a combination of our two lives - a way to knit us together into the one thing. I haven’t coped very well this year. I’ve carried on writing but like so many people I’ve felt real dread and emptiness at times. But I’ve also felt a stronger connection with my family and my friends. And when the future feels terrifying - I’ve been helped by my past - both my recent past and my childhood. 'Touch' has got a lot of that too. And in its making - I’ve been reminded of the great surprise of collaboration. I offered very few directions to the actor Rosaleen Linehan, the composer Irene Buckley and the video designer Jack Phelan. They are each a creative force, their own storytellers. It’s been an absolute delight to be given this opportunity - to collectively pull something out of this unforgettable year - and offer it to you here.
Enda Walsh on his inspiration for 'Touch'.
The central visual theme in the text is this corridor of a care home. Enda and I liked the idea of this corridor breaking down to reveal an abstract corridor of memories and experiences that we journey through with the narrator. Visually, the images initially follow the text - "fields uncovered with walks", "a city is moved into and Dublin we call it", but then linger on the fondest memories as we move towards the woman's present. The main technique I used to make the images is called photogrammetry. It is a magical digital process that can reconstruct three-dimensional space from a set of photographs. It is generally used to make high-fidelity, near photo-realistic models, I used it to produce very low-fidelity models. At a certain point, the images produced are a sort of abstract 3D pointillism, barely recognisable as real-world scenes, yet they are entirely extracted from photographs I took of woodlands, beaches and streets in Dublin, Wexford and Wicklow. To me, the results map nicely to the way we form and store memories, and how they eventually degrade, sometimes more than we'd like. The visuals for Touch were made entirely with free and open-source software - Blender, Meshroom and FFmpeg.
Jack Phelan on creating the visual content for 'Touch'.
Since his initial success as a playwright, Enda has gone on to write for the screen. His 2008 biopic, Hunger, told the story of the final days of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands and won a host of awards, including the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Heartbeat Award at the Dinard International Film Festival. It was nominated for seven BIFAs (including Best Screenplay), six British Film and Television Awards (including Best Screenplay and Best Independent Film) and BAFTA's Outstanding British Film Award 2009. Enda’s opera The Last Hotel had its world premiere at the Lyceum Theatre as part of the Edinburgh International Festival and transferred to Dublin, London and New York. He recently worked on the new musical, Lazarus, with David Bowie, which opened at New York Theatre Workshop in December 2015 and transferred to Kings Cross Theatre in London in November 2016. His most recent play, The Same, was commissioned by Corcadorca to mark the company's 25th anniversary and was performed in the old Cork prison in February 2017.
Enda has had a strong relationship with Galway City and the Galway International Arts Festival from the very beginning of his writing career. Recently the festival, along with Anne Clarke’s Landmark Productions, have produced his plays, Misterman and Ballyturk. His play, Arlington, had its world premiere at the Galway International Arts Festival in July 2016 and his latest opera, The Second Violinist, premiered at the festival in July 2017. In 2013 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Galway University. Most recently Enda wrote the book for a musical adaptation of the 2016 film Sing Street by John Carney which was due to open on Broadway in spring 2020. In TV Enda is currently working on Troubles with Blueprint Pictures and This House with Nexus Studios.