Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Big Guns Called In for Festival Director's Last Fringe

Promotional art for HotForTheatre's upcoming new show Break

The highlights of the 2013 Dublin Fringe Festival (Sept 7-22) have been announced, which, of course, is the last festival overseen by artistic director Róise Goan.

Headlining international acts include glam singer/theatre artist Taylor Mac and an abridged version of his upcoming 24-hour project where he performs a pop classic from each decade in the twentieth century. Scottish-born Nic Green traces her national and personal lineage in the dance and music performance Fatherland.

The Gathering strand of the festival brings home-gig to Irish comedian Aisling Bea in a double bill with Dead Cat Bounce's James Walmsley, as well as a headliner to Maeve Higgins and her new show about her "break-up with Dublin" and the abandonment issues that arise from her move to London.

WillFredd's Sophie Motley and Sarah Jane Shiels are also at hand, collaborating with renowned musicians Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh and Nic Gareiss in a performance about the role of mice in "traditional music, science, and in our daily lives". Meanwhile, fantastic to see great faith placed in the Galway-based Blue Teapot Theatre Company, whose acclaimed production of Christian O'Reilly's Sanctuary seems to be growing into a national hit.

In Irish theatre, the spotlights are appropriately shone on the two biggest success stories born from Goan's direction of the festival over the past five years.

Louise Lowe was already making strides with her fantastic site-responsive work with ANU Productions, but World's End Lane - the first installment of the nearing complete Monto quadrilogy - in the 2010 festival was a game changer. The success meant that the company migrated to a bigger platform in the Dublin Theatre Festival with Laundry (2011) and The Boys of Foley Street (2012). They return to the Fringe with Thirteen, where the company turn their theatrical historicity back one hundred years to the events of the 1913 Lockout with "a series of thirteen interconnecting works combining performance, installation and digital technology allowing audiences to immerse themselves in the tumultuous events of 1913 as they unfold in present day Dublin"

The 2010 festival also marked the debut of playwright/performer Amy Conroy with superstar hit Alice I, which, along with follow-up The Eternal Rising of the Sun (2011), has had enough fire to fuel constant touring both at home and abroad. Her company, HotForTheatre, has become an exemplary touring company in Ireland, seeming to hit every venue in the country. Conroy has also gone on to become a treasured and insightful literary voice, writing about courageous souls in modern Ireland. Truly exciting, then, is her return this September in greater company than before with Break - a performance interrogating the public education system and the priorities of the institution that precede those of the individuals.

The full details of this year's programme will be released August 14. However, below is a list of other productions we know going to Fringe because their Fundit campaigns say so ...

  • Rise Productions, The Games People Play - The creative team behind the highly successful Fight Night are back, this time with a modern retelling of Tír ná nÓg where the mythical paradise relocates to Drumcondra. Gavin Kostick back on script, Bryan Burroughs back on direction, starring the cunning Aonghus Óg McAnally. 

  • Louise Lewis and Simon Manahan, The Churching of Happy Cullen - Also marking the centenary of the Lockout, this physical theatre performance about a mother's rite of passage though a tumultuous period in Ireland's social history already received a promising work-in-progress showing at THE THEATRE MACHINE TURNS YOU ON VOL.3. Lewis always gives a striking performance.

  • Denis Clohessy, Animus - Having lent majestic music scores to The Corn Exchange and Rough Magic, composer Denis Clohessy's new project is a "music-driven revenge tale" and is propped up by an exciting design team including Aedín Cosgrove and Jack Phelan, and stars the charming Lucy Camille Ross. 

  • X & CO, KITSCHCOCK - Anthony Keigher's pop star persona, 'Xnthony', becomes obsessed with stardom in this exploration of the anxieties and insecurities in a "world that continues to blur the line between public and private identities". 

  • John Rogers, Decision Problem [Good Time for Questions] - Rogers's piece of science fiction theatre "charts the origin, rapid rise and possible future of computers", shining light on humanity's place in an increasingly digital universe. 

  • 50% Male Experimental Theatre, FIGURE IT OUT - Male may be in the title but this new performance is about the complexities of female identity, with use of dance, live music and film.

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