Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wish I had seen ‘Medea’: Irish Times Theatre Awards Nominations

It’s been over a week since the Irish Times Theatre Awards nominations were announced, and I was too busy working on a show at the time to write my thoughts on them.

First: I’m glad to see Pan Pan’s The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane (*) is a contender for ‘Best Production’. I was curious to see how the judging panel would grade the show considering its postmodern nature and the indefinite variables in its live performance (I wonder how our three Hamlets were considered in the ‘Best Actor’ category?). No show had more confident a harness of theatricality this past year than Playing the Dane, and while Gavin Quinn has carelessly been excluded from the category for ‘Best Direction’ it’s great to see fellow Pan Pan genius Aedín Cosgrove get recognition for her set design. By also throwing Anu Productions’s World’s End Lane into the dogfight, the judges have admirably chosen to acknowledge theatrical ingenuity not only in performance that is strictly traditional but also in the increasing output of postmodern work as well.

(*) The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane review:

Most prominently felt in this shortlist is Siren Productions for their performance of Medea (pictured above) in the Fringe, which has bagged five nominations including ‘Best Production’, ‘Best Director’, and ‘Best Actress’. I didn’t see the show but I have heard good things, and would be interested to hear from those who saw it if they think it deserves such attention.

The Company, ‘As You Are Now So Once Were We’

Peacock Stage, Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Jan 25 – Feb 5

I sang high praise of The Company’s excellent As You Are Now So Once Were We in my ‘Best of Irish Theatre 2010’ over Christmas (a link to that review is at the bottom of this post), and the show comes back tonight on the Peacock Stage for a run until Feb 5. I’m going to use the comments section below as a platform for discussing the show.

The Company invited me to their dress rehearsal today and the show is as fantastic as I remembered. As You Are … is an artifice composed of friendship, cardboard boxes, meticulous performances, charm, and an undercurrent of philosophical hues that are gorgeously imagined.


 Original Review for ‘As You Are …’:

Trailer for ‘As You Are …’:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wrong Curtain, ‘Cíosa Le Gear’

Cíosa Le Gear, The play I’ve directed with Wrong Curtain, opens tonight in the Town Hall, Galway and runs until Friday 21st. I’m always looking for feedback so please feel free to use the comments section below to share your thoughts. Here is the show’s press release:

Cíosa Le Gear is a contemplation into the human-music rapport. Cíosa is a real-life young songwriter from Galway. Using biographical information from a series of interviews, a group of actors and musicians have come to form relationships with Cíosa and her songs, whilst reflecting on their own relationships to music in the process. After weeks of exploration we found not only Cíosa, but ourselves.

Cíosa Le Gear is our way of telling you our secret. 

Wrong Curtain was established by John J. Smyth and Chris McCormack in 2010 to practice theatre that is in aberration from the traditional. Our aim is to render theatrical space in its intimate and harmonious quarters as opposed to its fictitious faculties. Through the rearranging of theatrical form, we seek to explore realities that are universal and true.

Will be getting around to writing my thoughts on the Imagine Ireland scheme and the Irish Times Theatre nominations later in the week.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Forced Entertainment, ‘Void Story’: A Night Out At The Theatre/Cinema/Radio/Etchells

Project Arts Centre, Dublin
Jan 13-14

My review of Void Story coming up just as soon as I look for some leaves with medicinal properties …

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Smashing Times crack the hourglass with ‘Shattering Glass’

I forgot to mention in my January listings Smashing Times and their ‘Acting For Change’ initiative in Donegal. The project utilises drama and theatre activities within Donegal to engage participants to explore themes that are a consequence of the conflict in Northern Ireland and the Southern Border counties.

As part of the initiative the company present Shattering Glass – an original production developed from an extensive period of research, workshops and interviews. The play explores memories, conflicts, and trauma through the portrayal of intense and dramatic experiences. The play opens at Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey on the 11th, and then moves to Ramelton Town Hall on the 12th, Colgan Community and Resource Centre in Carndonagh the 13th, and the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny on the 14th.  

I really admire Smashing Times’ ethos of communal collaboration and social engagement. Turning their gaze to the traumatic history of Northern Ireland makes brilliant sense, and I’m really glad that someone is focusing theatre towards the cultural resonances of the nation’s darkest times.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Musings Listings: January 2011

Happy 2011! One of my resolutions this year is to make this blog brilliant. One of the areas I feel that need improvement is promotion. Indeed, most of the shows I write about have finished their run by the time I get my pieces about them up. Thus, welcome to a new feature of Musings: a monthly listing of the shows that are on during the given month.

I’m happy to see that January 2011 is notable for other than the panto procession which usually dominates this time of year (though if you do fancy seeing Jafar, Abu, Iago, and company then the Gaiety is the place to go). Personally, my pick of the month is Forced Entertainment’s Void Story (pictured above) (Project Arts Centre, 13-14). Not often do these theatrical daredevils touch down on Irish soil, and those who know them know that they have an uncanny ability to warp theatrical form to marvellously demented results. The play tells the story of two survivors of a decimated civilization in a sort of ‘visual-radio play’ style.

 Also worth going to (even if have already) is The Company’s As You Are No So Once Were We(*), which has its well-earned run on Peacock stage, 25th-Feb 5th . Brilliant show.

 * Original review:

Also over in Dublin …