As happened in November, my self-disciplined ways suffered a bit of a setback this month. However, we’re back up and running and expect some regular postings here in the next few weeks as there are a few shows I am planning on going to. This month’s listings are astronomically late, but better late than never right?
There is a lot to admire in March 2011 as the month mainly pays its dues to original and new theatre. This is seen on the utmost funded level with the Abbey’s presentation of three new plays by two contemporary voices. The institution’s diluted commitment to original work is one of its sorest subjects, and rarely do we have the opportunity to see new Irish writing on its stage (Thomas Kilroy’s Christ Deliver Us!, Michael West’s Freefall, and Carmel Winters’ B for Baby are the only examples in 2010 I can think of). Nancy Harris’ Bad Romance (until Apr 2) is described as a “tender and funny tale about our secret selves [that] observes the search for connection in a fractured world”. Female authors and writing that is distinctively ‘female’ is extremely under-developed in this country, with Marina Carr the most notable author of recent times. The very circumstance of having Harris’ work on stage may be cause for celebration but let’s hope that she’s capable of a discourse that is engaging and insightful that will want us to keep her around. Also: Wayne Jordon (Ellamenope Jones) and Janet Moran (Freefall) are attached so it could be a nice show.
The other two plays in the Abbey come from scribe Paul Mercier. I am curious as to why Mac Chongail is investing this heavily in Mercier to supply the goods. His past writing for the company must have brought home the gold. First we have The Passing (Mar 11-Apr 16) which is a story about a woman revisiting her relationship with where she grew up when her parents’ house goes for sale. The East Pier (Mar 18-Apr 16) then is a two-hander with Andrea Irvine and Don Wycherley described as “a chance encounter between two stray souls who discover they are still as deeply connected as they are strangers to one another”.
I’d probably be more inclined to go to THEATREclub’s ‘Spirit of the Fringe’ winner Heroin (Mar 24-26, pictured above) at the Axis Theatre in Ballymun. The show is the product of co-founder Grace Dyas’ research into the social history of heroin-use in Dublin and society’s wilful ignorance of it.
Also in Dublin: Peter Sheridan’s 47 Roses was recommended to me, which takes its residency in Bewley’s Cafe Mar 14-Apr 23. Sheridan’s play is a coming of age story about his childhood in the Sixties. Also looking to that period is Lay Me Down Softly (Mar 8-Apr 2): Billy Roche’s tale of the boxing heroes and antiheroes of Delaney’s Travelling Roadshow.
Fishamble descend on Newbridge’s Riverbank this Saturday night (Mar 26) with Pat Kinevane’s Silent. The one-man show looks at the human mind’s state of depression and our inadequacies when it comes to help treat mental health. Kinevane is supposed to be great in it.
Also in original writing is Mick Donnellan’s Sunday Morning Coming Down, which earned a public reading back in 2009 with Druid. Donnellan’s ‘rural West’ play is the story of the Maguire family and their “comic attempts to perform as a functional family”. It’ll be at the Town Hall Galway, Mar 29-Apr 2,
Wonderland continue to re-invoke the classics with their adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels at the Town Hall, Mar 23-24. Second Age will also be at the Town Hall with Hamlet (Mar 29-Apr 1). For those who would like to revisit Enda Walsh’s fierce Bedbound, they will find Canadian superstar MacKenzieRo performing the play at Druid Lane Theatre, Mar 30-Apr 2)
Finally: the Irish Student Drama Association (I.S.D.A.) were held in Galway earlier in the month (another testament to the fact that March has been a great month for new voices onstage), where 500 participants flocked upon the town. For those who caught the shows feel free to comment in the comments below.