The Nightingale

We will be testing ideas for a new show based on the stories of Hans Christian Andersen at the Belltable on May 25th & 26th as part of SCRATCH. Duncan will be reading with new music by Great in Small Doses.

Tickets are €5 and available on the door or through the Belltable website.

Great in Small Doses – The Bright Idea/The Pretty Mystery

"And Death was sitting on his chest." Illustration from The Nightingale by Edmund Dulac


Irish Theatre Magazine had some nice things to say about us of late.

Seven Versions of a Song was produced by The LSA, a Limerick-based collective dedicated to telling stories “to remind everyone how great life is”. That was to the fore in its other piece at the festival, Storybook, which was both heartbreaking and life-affirming. It was narrated by Duncan Molloy to an original score, written and performed live by Luke McGuire. The most innovative aspect of the design was the live illustration by James Tuomey, drawing on acetate sheets on a projector. The audience audibly reacted to the illustrations, like a live-action comic book.”

“In one striking image, Walsh clings and moves over Molloy’s body, as they blend into one; in another sequence she supports his weight as he rests against her. Later, he leans on her and she moves, allowing him to fall: the simple movements express complex emotion and compress a relationship history into images.”

More details here and here.



Storybook and Seven Versions of a Song will be making their triumphant returns, swathed in glory at this year’s Unfringed festival in Limerick city.

Tickets for both shows are €10 and are available from the Belltable box-office on 061 319866.


"Sweeping the snow away he found a small gold key."

We’re taking the format of STORYBOOK, originally developed as part of Project Brand New, and taken through the Electric Picnic & Fortheloveof LIVE, and telling some completely new stories. We’ve also got a new live score composed and performed by the inimitable Luke McGuire.

Described as “beautiful”, “real delicate” and “a just celebration of life (x2)”, STORYBOOK is an evening of storytelling for adults. It features a live music from Luke McGuire, live illustration from James Tuomey and storytelling from Duncan Molloy.

Put it in your diary:
Wednesday, January 26th at 9.15pm in the Belltable, 69 O’Connell Street.
Thursday, January  27th at 7pm in Red Cross Hall, Cecil Street.
Saturday, January 29th at 2pm in Red Cross Hall, Cecil Street.


Dancing is good for the soul.

Following its premiere as a work in Progress at Daghdha last year, and a very quick tour to Belfast, SEVEN VERSIONS OF A SONG has been refined, rejigged, and relaxed. It is ready to once more warm/break your heart. A song and a dance about love with words by Duncan Molloy, movement by Cathy Walsh and music by Ger O’Donnell and Jean Wallace, it’s part of the Limerick Dance Triple Bill.

Saturday, January 29th & Sunday, January 30th at 5pm in Red Cross Hall, Cecil Street.

There’s lots of other great stuff on, the full programme can be found at .
Hope to see you there.

The Task

The Task

By Duncan Molloy
© 2010

The old man rubbed the back of his head and checked the clock. They were running slightly behind. It didn’t matter. He had a good team here, they could make up the time. He’d take a shorter break, it didn’t matter. He had a promise to keep.

He walked through the stables, checking everything as he went. The animals grunted, snorted their nostrils. They were tired, their muscles strained. It was halfway through the rounds, they were working hard. He gave each one a quick rub and whispered encouragement into their ear. The newest he took special care of, scratched him under the ear, made sure he knew he was appreciated. Taking them by their reigns, he gently brought them with him.

He moved on, past the workshops, carefully down the well crunched path in the snow towards the room that housed the great machine. It was a huge thing of copper and bronze, an elegy in clockwork and cut glass. His was an old tradition, started long, long ago. He would remind people to love one another, to smile and to share, even in the darkest days of the year, by looking after the youngest among them. It was a harsh, and often cruel world. People needed a reminder that they could make it better. And so, the best men and women of his day had come together to create the machine. Two among them would dedicate their lives to its use, the rest to its upkeep. They would bend time, repeating the darkest day of the year over and over, to get the chance to visit every home, every single one, to spread their message. One had a message of love and hope, the other one of fear. The good would be rewarded, the bad severely punished.

That first year was harrowing. Who could have known there were so many homes in the world, so many faces to be rewarded, so many children showered with love. So many terrified by Krampus, his accomplice, shuddering in their parent’s arms. Over the years Krampus grew more and more monstrous, began to take too much pleasure in his work. Before long the bad children would start to disappear. Was this what they had worked so hard for? Was it for this that he gave over so much of his life to the great machine? Clearly another sacrifice had to be made.

The old man ran his hands along the cogs of the machine as he reminisced. Things has changed over the years. The machine wasn’t perfectly calibrated, so they were out by a day or two, but no matter. There was still a darkest time of year. There were still children to love. A great many more children than before, true, but each deserved his attention. He looked to his assistants. The cogs began to turn. The bronze began to spin. With a hitch of his belt and a pull at the animals, the man stepped into the machine. And stepped out. And stepped out. And stepped out.

Three hundred and sixty four times he stepped out, and every time it was a new day for him. Every time it was the same day for everyone else. The assistants were ready with that day’s zone and list of names and off he would fly.

He had known that theirs was too big an idea to let die; that it would be passed down from generation to generation, that word of mouth and passage of time could be a destructive force, as ideas become distorted and corrupted. His people would need a guiding hand, just as they provided one for the world at large. They would need first hand experience. And so he proposed to them his idea. They were shocked at first, appalled. Most of them understood. Some of them cried, protested. There was a woman…

Everyone agreed, whether or not they were happy about it. He made a promise. He would give up the rest of his days, living only on this one day a year. He would now live for several thousand years, rather than several thousand days. The families of the group would tend the system, assisting his task from generation to generation. The machine was expanded. The decision was made. Two of them would carry on.


He saw the child’s chest rise and fall as he slept and smiled. The beast Krampus had lived long enough, he was glad it was a thing of the past. Children were for caring for; for guiding, and teaching, not condemning for their sins. Finally, gloriously, quietly, he returned home, his task completed.


There was a hiss in the air that rose above the howl of the wind, like the rustle of ten thousand pages, like the creaking of a score of ships, like the return of three hundred and sixty four sleds. Teams gathered, taking sleds, providing encouragement. He guided his deer back into the machine as it spun. Just the once, they stepped out. He thanked the deer individually, and rubbed them down, before handing them off. Stepping back into the snow he returned, past the workshops, through the stables, to his home. He found his usual chair and sagged, exhausted. The smell of food wafted in from the kitchen, warming him more than the fire could. His wife looked through the doorway and smiled at him.

“Kettle’s on.”

There had been an arrangement. The best of their day would construct a machine to care for humanity. The best of them, would sacrifice his days to care for their idea. And another would sacrifice her days to care for him. The decision was made. Two of them would carry on. And so, for one day, on Christmas day, the old man rested. There would be another year soon.

Duncan’s Mixtape (Seven Versions of a Song)

Prizes for whoever can tell me where this wall is.

Hi guys,

Duncan here, founder of the LSA and one half of Seven Versions of A Song. You might be wondering why we have an online presence at all, beyond just as a reminder of when shows are happening. The answer is simple:

You are the reason we are putting on plays.

If you’d like to buy us a coffee or a pint, go for it. Failing that, this is how we have chats. Tell us what you think, what you liked, what you didn’t, how your life’s going, your feelings on the recapitalisation of Anglo, whatever. To kickstart a conversation we’re going to put up extra stuff that pertains to the things we make. So here’s a good old fashioned mixtape:

Duncan’s Youtube Mixtape

I’ve been rehearsing Seven Versions of a Song for a little over a month at this stage, and it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been working on ideas with Cathy and the band in Daghdha and drinking coffee/writing at home and a lot of it has involved of listening to music. The piece is a duet about two sides of a relationship, through dance and talking, and we’ll have our own score but there’s other music that has inspired ideas, or brought up memories, or been lashed on in the background to dance to. In no particular order here are my Seven Songs:

Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill
Beirut – Scenic World
Sufjan Stevens – The Dress looks nice on you
3epkano – Lullaby for Isobel
Chemical Brothers – Close your Eyes
Waterboys – Fishermans Blues
TV on the Radio – Wolf like me

Like This!

Seven Versions of a Song

Cathy Walsh & Duncan Molloy in Seven Versions of a Song

Those who are afeared we look too serious, fear not! There will be singing and dancing.

UPDATE: Seven Versions of a Song will be coming to Belfast’s Blackbox Theatre on Thursday the 25th & Friday the 26th of November at 1pm for a mere £3.

Love is like mercury; it shines and it burns and you can measure your health by it.

Some of us say things with our bodies; some with our words. Sometimes what you think about something is very different to how you act. There are two sides to every love story. Memories and feelings in words and movement by Cathy Walsh and Duncan Molloy.

I’m this close to you. I love you.
I’m still not sure you understand how I feel.
I can’t make you understand what I mean. But here goes.


Storybook Influences: Kid Eternity

There were a huge number of influences on Storybook but Kid Eternity is definitely one of the more obscure ones. Here’s a complete story from Kid Eternity #1, first published in 1946. Click through to view the images in full size.

Please note that the views expressed by Kid Eternity do not necessarily reflect those of the LSA.

Like This!


James during the FTLO production in Filmbase

Ever dream of a life of Romantic Adventure? We offer you our Storybook.

Since appearances last year in Project Brand New and Fortheloveof, Storybook makes its long overdue return at this year’s Electric Picnic. Inspired by a combined love of theatre, comics, adventures and honesty, James Tuomey and Duncan Molloy have created a live experience like no other.

Described as “beautiful”, “real delicate” and “a just celebration of life (x2)”, this is the show that inspired the formation of the LSA. Those of you who missed it on the first two occasions now have a chance to see what the fuss was about, before we take it and shape it into something new.

GASP at dramatic revelations and shocking twists!
MARVEL at the events that shaped the people around you!
CRY at the sad bits and some of the nice bits!

Like This!

A Paper-Thin Romance

Ellen Terry, photographed by Julia Margaret Cameron

For the LSA’s opening live performance, we will be reading some love letters.

I wish this ink were blacker and my writing bolder. If you have a magnifying glass it will all come out beautifully legible.

A letter is a funny thing. It could allow one of the best respected actors of her day and a playwright and critic who was fast becoming infamous, a chance to open up to one another unbeknownst to the world around them. Intimate and distant; well thought out yet urgent; varyingly tender and professional and brutally honest. Bernard Shaw and Ellen Terry met on only a handful of occasions so as not to taint their paper courtship.

Compiled and directed by Duncan Molloy, drawing from over thirty years of correspondence, this is a delicate love-story, a lasting friendship, a romance worthy of the paper it was written on.

She became a legend in her old age; but of that I have nothing to say; for we did not meet, and, except for a few broken letters, did not write, and she was never old to me.

This will be a one-off performance in the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow on Friday, July 2 at 6.45pm as part of the George Bernard Shaw Summer School & Festival.