Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thoughts on Irish Times Theatre Awards Nominations 2011

The nominations are in for the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2011 (to be held Feb 26), and the details are here. I think this year’s shortlist is a good reflection of the work produced. Here are some general thoughts:

When you’re right, you’re right
I agree with the judges’ comments about how 2011 was great for design, direction, but not writing. Pat Kinevane and Mark O’Halloran earned their places here. Haven’t seen the others.

… and I was right!
Misterman a heavy contender in the tech categories is not surprising. What I did predict successfully was that Pan Pan’s Aedín Cosgrove would be giving them some competition.

We all need to go north
The Lyric is obviously a force to be reckoned with, with 5 nominations for Conall Morrison’s The Crucible.

The Male of the Species: Commedia Action Man
I can’t comment on Patrick O’Kane but the rest sounds right. Really happy to see Philip Judge get the nod, and while I sorely missed Man of Valour from what I hear Reid was phenomenal.  In the Supporting category I’ve only seen John Olohan but Phelim Drew as violent Saranzo in The Making of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore comes to mind.

The Female of the Species: Amy Conroy has arrived
I didn’t see Conroy in the role she’s been nominated for but the disarming I Alice I (bound for the Peacock Jan 30) along with consensual praise in press indicate that she’s a hot ticket at the moment. It’s an obvious move to nominate a Tony winner, and while Marie Mullen had her moment (singular), I’d remove her from the list on the basis that Testament just wasn’t good. Insert one of Selina Cartmell’s leads (Camille O’Sullivan and Kate Stanley Brennan), or Pineapple’s Caoilfhionn Dunne instead. As for Supporting Actress, great recognition for Karen Ardiff but Caitriona Ní Mhurchú (who I am a big fan of), along with every other performer in 16 Possible Glimpses, was squandered due to no fault of their own. What about The Making of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore’s Cathy Belton, Derbhle Crotty for Corcadorcha’s The Winter’s Tale, or Bairbre Ní Chaoimh for her intimate performance in Laundry instead.  

What’s Missing?
Would Neil Watkins and The Year of Magical Wanking have been considered for last year’s nominations or this years’? Either way, why the hell isn’t he here? As for The Blue Boy and Follow, I imagine their best chance of getting in here would probably have been through the tech categories but those are flooded with Misterman nominations.  Drat.

What’s going to win?
You tell me.

1 comment:

  1. I think most of the categories have such good work represented that it's less who was left out, but how many can you fit in.

    I missed the seminal Misterman but by sounds of it, it was always going to rise high for Cillian and the technical categroies.

    Paul Reid was amazing in Man of Valor. No debate. But so hard to compare a technically brilliant, nearly virtuoso display of skill, mimicry and ability with say for example Philip Judge's minimal but beautifully observed performance in Trade. It's like comparing fireworks and a single candle in the most intimate of settings. Both incredible in their own ways and for that reason glad both represented.

    Joe Hanley in Curse of the Starving Class was another one of the great performances this year that didn't make the cut - but he was nominated last year for his Fluther so perhaps there is more to be considered there.

    I can't comment on the inclusion or not of our own work at Bottom Dog but I am genuinely glad we finally got a couple of judges in to at least see Myles Breen's excellently reviewed one man show Language UnBecoming A Lady.

    I hope we don't have to continue to travel to Dublin just for review and judge attendance tho. As much as we love performing in Dublin - it is incredibly costly, especially when you are unfunded. Our work is just as vital in Limerick and the Munster region which we tour to more often and I know many smaller companies in Tipperary, Clare, Galway feel the same. At least we are on the radar and it's up to us to keep pushing our work creatively and to the community - and hope the next selection of judges continue to increase the amount of work they attend regionally.

    Trade was a highlight this year as it ticked all the boxes - great script, setting and performances and had none of the grand designs and affectations of other festival shows but as, if not more, enjoyable.

    I thought Damian Kearney's Flamboyant Bird was a beautiful piece of writing but hard to assess is best new play solely a writing award. If so it stands as tall as any other nominee. Magic storytelling in the great Irish short story writer tradition.

    Still confuses me as to why the Gate don't include themselves anymore but nothing there this year that I saw really would have made a dent apart from some wonderful character parts in a few ensemble dramas like Owen Roe or Noelle Brown in Jane Eyre.

    As to the rest, I missed Juno - and sadly Pygmalion at the Abbey that everyone raved about - and The Crucible at the Lyric but am looking forward to traveling north too by the sound of it.

    Predictions over on twitter at /bottomdogtheatr (and nope there is no 'e' on the end)

    Looking forward to 2012 and Bottom Dog being a bigger part of the conversation in contemporary Irish theatre going forward.