Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dublin Fringe Gets Locked Out but Who Else is in this Year's Festival?

Raymond Keane's physical stylings from his performance in clown may just make him the man for Samuel Beckett's Act Without Words II. Photo: F. Sakauchi

Dublin Fringe Festival has revealed the remainder of this year's programme after having already leaked the highlights last month (my write-up on that here)

We learn more about ANU Productions' city-wide installation of the Lockout that seeks to immerse audiences in the events of 100 years ago. Thirteen sees 13 interdisciplinary art events taking place across 13 days at various Luas stops, the conserved tenement at No. 14 Henrietta St (which was the site of Thirteen's prelude: Living the Lockout), Dublin Castle, Liberty Hall, Collins Barracks and other places. All events are free-ticketed.

The offering from the Spirit of the Fringe-commissioned Paperdolls is called Bunk - an aerial circus performance about the threshold between internal and external worlds, in other words: the bed.

It's very exciting to hear of the collaboration between avant garde director Sarah Jane Scaife and Raymond Keane on Samuel Beckett's Rough for Theatre One and Act Without Words II. I've held a suspicion that Keane with his physical stylings drawn from his performance in clown could be a formidable performer of Beckett's work, considering the playwright's own influences from Charlie Chaplin.

(Also, Keane's Barabbas colleague, the sweeping Bryan Burroughs, will be tearing up Beowulf in Bewleys Cafe Theatre, and Ruth Lehane performs in red nose in Ruth 66, which is about a clown's travels across America involving sex, drugs, the usual.)

On the creative winds of Human Child earlier this year, Collapsing Horse present their new play, this time for adult audiences: Distance From the Event by Eoghan Quinn. Starring John Cronin, this Irish noir/Sci fi hybrid follows an investigator looking to solve the disappearance of a human colony on a distant planet. Epic in scale, as is to be expected from this energetic company.

Plays also seem to be back at the Fringe. Genevieve Hulme-Beaman has been fantastic in everything I've seen her in, and her play, Pondling, about a schoolgirl searching for love might be a promising debut. The charming (and talented as hell) Janet Moran performs in Swing, a play about dance and nerves, written by Moran, Steve Blout and Gavin Kostick. Louise Melinn and Máirín O'Grady co-write The King's Feet, an absurdist play directed by Aoife Spillane-Hinks. Hopefully the attributes of these two fine writers - to present what is instantly recognisable from Irish life today - won't be lost in the exercising of the absurdist form. And John Morton's War of Attrition for Devious Theatre seems to be a vibrant tale about three young Irish people living in Dublin and the terror they wreak on each others lives.

Dick Walsh had audiences flinching in last year's a dangerman, and now he returns with Some Baffling Monster - a tale of a father and son's struggle for a farm presented in a form "monstrously Brechtian, maybe better than Brecht". Sounds like a tall order but don't be fooled: Walsh seems well voiced in contemporary performance styles.

A few of the performances which we glimpsed at THE THEATRE MACHINE TURNS YOU ON VOL. III are also in here, many of which share a theme of womanhood such as Sorcha Kenny's DOLLS, Louise Lewis's The Churching of Happy Cullen and Meadhbh Haicéid's MADONNA.

Oisín McKenna's spoken word performance Writer/Performer/Salesman (A New Play About Retail) was one of the highlights of THE THEATRE MACHINE, and now he presents GRINDR / A Love Story - a piece about gay relationships in the digital age.

Also: the street performers of Macnas will be transforming Meeting House Square into the magical world of Chaosmos; composer for theatre Denis Clohessy presents the music-led revenge tale Animus (which, if as good as his usual compositions, could be marvelous); Bush Moukarzel presents a curious and extraordinary-sounding performance called LIPPY inspired by a real life suicide pact in Kildare between an aunt and her three nieces; and Brian Flemming makes a welcome return with more tales of the Irish in Africa in Have Yis No Homes to Go To.

What will you be seeing in Dublin Fringe Festival 2013?

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