The third annual Galway Theatre Festival got underway today. Unfortunately, the production of David Mamet’s Oleanna that I was working on with TrueWest Theatre Company was cancelled due to an illness issue. Needless to say, I wasn’t too enthused to start writing about the festival, but nonetheless: life moves on, and there’s a lot of theatre on.
The line-up this year has some returning players. Fregoli Theatre Company present their original play The Idiot Box (which I have seen, and hope to do a post on quite soon), Tuesday 26th Oct @ 1pm. in Nun’s Island Theatre. My only previous experience of the company’s work is a production of Disco Pigs this past summer which warranted applause for its high-energy performances that captured the anguishes and curiosities of Walsh’s script. The Idiot Box is not as physical a production but is intriguing and complex not only in design, but imagination:
When Elizabeth moves into a new house that has no television, she finds it disconcerting. One day a TV appears and her housemates aren't sure how to feel about it.
A play about choice, obsession and human limits, The Idiot Box talks about that thing that used tolive in a corner but is now taking centre stage in a room most people call the Living Room.
How do you control an obsession?
Mephisto Theatre Company will be performing Grenades by Tara McKevitt, Friday 29th and Saturday 30th @ 8pm. in Nun’s Island Theatre. Mephisto have demonstrated an impressive range in their playography thus far, ambitiously tackling writers from Oscar Wilde to David Mamet to Thomas Murphy, and even poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. When I have been underwhelmed by their work in the past, I found it to be an issue with the text. Company writer Tara McKevitt won the J.P. O’Connor Award for Grenades, and has now adapted the play for stage. With a strong text behind them, I am looking forward to seeing the company in action:
To use a grenade grip it with your throwing hand, ensuring that your thumb holds the safety lever in place. This is called the death grip. Grab the safety pin's pull ring with the index finger of your other hand and remove it with a pulling and twisting motion. Then throw the grenade towards your target. Grenades have an effective kill radius of 5 metres, and an effective casualty radius of 15 metres.
Warning: A GRENADE DETONATING WITHIN A FAMILY WILL HAVE DEVASTATING EFFECTS INCLUDING LONG-TERM GRIEF, LOSS OF INNOCENCE AND HIDDEN SACRIFICE.
Never let children play with grenades.
Also returning to the festival are two companies who both share a heavy influence by the theatrical techniques of Michael Chekov as well as a devising process in creating their pieces. Bluepatch Productions present Memory Palace, Tuesday 26th Oct @ 8pm. and Wednesday 27th Oct @ 1pm. in Nun’s Island Theatre. Bluepatch are a group of physically trained actors with an ethos towards collaborating with other art disciplines. I’m definitely intrigued. Meanwhile, Anam Theatre present an adaptation of Alexander Pushkin’s novel Eugene Onegin, Thursday 28th Oct @ 8pm. and Friday 29th Oct @ 1pm, also in Nun’s Island Theatre. Rumour has it to expect snow.
Druid Lane Theatre is also playing host to a few other local talents, including Little John Nee and The Derry Boat, Tyger Theatre and their production of Freefall: Heroes by Colm Byrne, Latchiko Productions with Andrias De Staic’s The Mackralaytors, and newcomers Banjaxed Theatre Company who are bravely chancing Sarah Kane’s Blasted.
This year’s festival has also attracts the attention of Dublin companies, such as Dog and String Theatre and Seeing and Dreaming, and LatinSphere Theatre with Face to Face With the Enemy by Judy Klass (directed by former Robert Wilson acolyte Sandra Lee Villegas).
Tickets are available at the venues, and can also be purchased at the Townhall or here: http://tht.ie/1114/Galway-Theatre-Festival
There is a LOT on, and I’m not sure what I’m going to get to see. What shows are you going to?