top of page

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 

Onora Fagan
Glimmer of a Rainbow

Ivory, tortoiseshell, human teeth – you can make jewellery out of almost anything. The more endangered the better! Orla the vegetarian is disgusted by this, but Orla the sales assistant leans right into it. In Glimmer of a Rainbow, Orla battles with her own insecurities, and struggles with who the world tells her she is versus who she wants to be. Orla gets wrapped up in workplace dramas, until tragedy hits which brings her back down to earth. This sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking play explores what beauty is and questions society’s value on material things.


Hi Aoife, thank you for taking the time to talk with The New Current, how does it feel to be heading to Edinburgh Fringe & C Venues, C digital this summer?


Thanks for having me! It’s very exciting. My show was developed on Zoom so it’s great that it can be viewed digitally.


You are also going to be premiering Glimmer of a Rainbow live later in August, are there any nerves head of your live run?


Yes of course! I haven’t performed live in-person since the pandemic started so it’s definitely a mix of fear and excitement. I think a bit of both is a good thing.


What does Edinburgh Fringe mean to you?


My first time at Edinburgh Fringe was when I was nineteen and studying with Year Out Drama Company. We had the most amazing experience. I remember seeing some of the best performances there. I think it really gives people the opportunity and platform to experiment and try new things.


What was your experience like being part of the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute?


Training at Strasberg was such a formative time for me. It was a very intense experience, but it has some of the best teachers who I’m so grateful to have been able to study with. It brought me back to why I initially wanted to be an actor in the first place, which was to be able to say the things I felt I couldn’t say in real life. In fact that’s what a lot of my show is about. A lot of the training was also about the bigger ideas within plays, which sometimes gets lost in the world.


Can you tell me how Glimmer of a Rainbow came about, where did the inspiration for your show come from?


Initially I had no idea what I wanted to write about, I just knew I wanted to write something. I took Ann Noble's Solo Performance class at Berg Studios and I was so nervous because I thought I needed a fully fledged idea or an entire story with an arc. Ann told me to just write whatever came to me and see where it took me. That took so much pressure off and really helped me find my voice. I started writing about my experiences working in a vintage and antique jeweller's in Dublin. I was so fascinated by people's fixation with jewellery and beautiful things, including my own obsession.

GlimmerofaRainbowPoster (1).jpg

Did you have any apprehensions about creating a show that was semi-autobiographical?


Absolutely! Not everything is true so I definitely took some liberties with it. When I would think about certain people seeing it, I would panic but I had to write it for me and not how the audience might perceive it.


Was it cathartic in a way and what does this show say about you?


It was cathartic in some ways. A lot of my show is about wanting to say the things we don’t normally say in fear of being judged. We don’t have to be liked by everyone and that’s ok. My character Orla wants to be liked by everyone, but she’s finally able to tell the audience all of the things she wants to say, and like the jewellery, it becomes addictive to her.


What was the experience like developing the show through Unmuted Participants, is this something you would recommend and would and would it be something you would do again?


Absolutely! Developing it through Unmuted Participants was amazing. Ann Noble, who is the most generous teacher, created such a safe space in her class, which later became Unmuted Participants. Watching everyone's work really inspired me to create my own. I’ve tried writing in the past and I would always stop and put it to the side. Having a collective to share with really motivated me to stick with it.


What would you say have been the most valuable lessons you have taken from creating this show and what have you discovered about yourself during this whole process?


I was surprised by how vulnerable I found performing or even reading my own work in front of an audience. On some level I thought it would be easy to perform my own words, but it actually created another layer of vulnerability that I wasn’t expecting. I realised I usually hide behind other peoples words as an actor, but when they’re your own, there’s no place to hide.


Have you always had a passion for theatre and performing?


I have. I started taking speech and drama classes when I was seven and I’ve been obsessed since. I’m also really lucky to have parents who are in the arts and who understand it. They’ve always been very supportive of me.


How much has your background as an actor helped prepare you for writing and performing  Glimmer of a Rainbow?


Being an actor has helped me immensely with the writing process. I talk out loud a lot when I’m writing until it feels right to me. I have found it difficult to turn my writer's brain off when I’m performing though. Thankfully my director, Ralph Riddle, has really helped me with that.

"I also feel that it helps to find a group of like minded people where you can share ideas and motivate each other to stay on task."

Has your style and the approach to your writing and performing changed much since you started out?


As an actor I definitely have certain techniques that I know work for me. I love learning new things and studying new methods though. I think it’s important to be open to learning and it’s the only way to grow as an actor. With writing, I used to free write a lot until an idea came to me. Now when I write, I usually need to step away and go back to it a few days later with fresh eyes. I try not to rush it.


Do you have any advice, tips or suggestions you would offer fellow theatre makers or actors?


Don’t be afraid to take risks if you feel like you have something to say. It’s best to take a chance on yourself and go for it. Advice I have for writing is just to start. There’s no beginning, middle or end. Just put pen to paper and write. I also feel that it helps to find a group of like minded people where you can share ideas and motivate each other to stay on task.


And finally, what do you want your fringe audiences to take away from Glimmer of a Rainbow?


I hope people are entertained. So much of my show is about society telling you who you are and trying to figure out who you want to be. It’s about finding your voice and I think everyone can relate to that.

bottom of page