Saturday, May 28, 2011

JOLT, ‘Creative Quickies’: The Galway Machine Turns You On

Town Hall Theatre, Galway
May 27-28

As the first season of JOLT draws to a close this weekend, some of Galway’s indie theatre companies have come together to put on an evening of Creative Quickies – a line-up of 10 minute extracts from ‘works in progress’.  A few thoughts on the night coming up after the jump ...

Not often does an opportunity arise to see an entire showcase of theatre performances by Galway’s indie scene. For those unfamiliar with these companies it would have been an apt introduction to individual tones and practice. The likes of Mephisto, Truman Theatre, and Fregoli continue their commitments to stagings of original writing, voices of which are distinctively female (Caroline Lynch’s Almost A Fantasy), male (Mick Donnellan’s Shortcut to Hallelujah), and indiscriminately in between (Ann Blake’s Delicate). Meanwhile, King Alfred The Great unmistakably introduces the postmodern faculties of Side-Show Productions.

Previous methods are not only visible in these new works but also seem to be evolving. Fregoli continue to chart the intimacies, appropriate or otherwise, of human life with Ann Blake’s Delicate – an affectionate piece about a man and a woman and ‘the morning after’, charmingly performed by Shane McDermott and Maria Tivnan. Martin Sharry and Richard Walsh continue tampering with audience involvement in Side-Show Production’s King Alfred The Great, which uses the English monarch’s intercontinental struggles and his relationship to Galway (his biopic was filmed in Tuam) to question ideas of one’s ‘land’, ‘namesake’ and ‘duty’. Mephisto’s Caroline Lynch lends her poetic prose to Almost A Fantasy an account of a metaphysical marriage that takes enchanting departures but grounds itself in the realism of marital dispute. Lynch’s writing ignites notions of individual empowerment and powerlessness that were witnessed previously in Mephisto’s The World’s Wife and Grenades.   

Some of the highlights of the evening came from those who are new to the scene. Loose Tea’s sketch Audition was a fresh departure from the more serious qualms of the night, innocently depicting the eccentricity and ego associated with contemporary art and dance to comedic effect. Katie Moriarty-Hopper’s production of Japanese dramatist Hideki Noda’s Red Demon demonstrated an ambitious use of stage space while teasing an intriguing story. Edinburgh-bound cabaret performer Biddy O’Loughlin’s The Girl Who Thought She Was Irish won the audience’s affections with her account of how she grew up in an Australian desert thinking she was Irish. O’Loughlin is incredibly daring and likeable; I recommend going to her upcoming performances in the Roisin Dubh.

Creative Quickies is a nice reminder of the theatre troupes in Galway, the signatures of their work, as well as a glimpse of what’s to come. A very enjoyable evening.

What did everybody else think of Creative Quickies and the first season of JOLT?  

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