Anu Productions is a site-specific Dublin theatre company run by director Louise Lowe and visual artist Owen Boss. Founded in 2009, Anu explores the history of particular sites in economically deprived inner-city locations, with an inside-out approach, prioritizing local memory and experience over grand historical, or literary, narratives. The work the company is best known for is its Monto tetralogy of plays set in north inner-city Dublin and named for the area around the former Montgomery Street (now called Foley Street). The Monto tetralogy includes: World's End Lane (2010), Laundry (2011), The Boys of Foley Street (2012) and Vardo Corner (2014). As a company, Anu is dedicated to developing work that is highly collaborative, interdisciplinary and provocative, both theatrically and politically. Although predominantly identified with inner- city Dublin, Anu has also made work in the city of Limerick and in the United Kingdom. By using formal strategies and emphasizing the power of affect, both aimed at increasing audience participation and questioning agency, Anu forces an interrogation of positions of ‘self ’ and ‘other’ and, the company hopes, makes visible people who otherwise are ‘invisible to the world [they] live in’. An encounter with Anu's work does not immediately suggest modernism as an interpretive framework, particularly given the ways in which the company's work consistently violates the critical distance, or detachment, often associated with modernist work. Yet, equally, this juxtaposition newly demonstrates the strong resonances of contemporary avant-garde drama with the modernist engagement with form as meaning, as a mode of expressing and understanding trauma.
Anu's tetralogy is set in the ‘Monto’, an area of Dublin that Joyceans are familiar with from the ‘Circe’ episode of Ulysses. One way of approaching the Monto trilogy is thus as a theatrical reimagining of ‘Circe’ for a twenty-first-century audience. Certainly Anu is very aware of Joyce, viewing its work as building on, as well as rebutting, a literary and social tradition, reflected in his novel, of viewing the Monto area as a chaotic and ‘other’ space of sexual and moral deviance. The formal difficulty of the ‘Circe’ episode is mirrored in Anu's approach, while the company's combination of affecting and disorienting spectators mirrors and extends Bloom's encounter with the Monto.