Thursday, June 5, 2014

Make Theatre a Part of Your Holidays this Summer

Ballyturk is looking quite the vacation spot this Summer. 

Whether you're hiking the McGillycuddys, sailing off the Causeway or sinking golfballs in Pirate's Cove, a trip to the theatre this summer is only a short drive away ...

In Cork's Granary is the new play Saviour (June 3-7), written and performed by Timothy O'Mahony (The Wind that Shakes the Barley). Produced by Eoin O hAnnrachain's Clinic Media company - who brought us the spry Life Behind the Venue last year - this play delivers a man who is frustrated with a despairing world and the God who won't hold himself accountable.

Winner of the Galway Theatre Festival Touring Award 2013, Mephisto remount their production of David Harrower's Blackbird - an extraordinary reunion between a one-time sex offender and his victim. Mephisto's actor-centred ethos, freeing the performer from the formalism of popular theatre, has led to this duet between company actor Emma O'Grady and Acting Coach Scotland's Ian Watt. Blackbird tours to the Town Hall Theatre (Jun 5th), Town Hall in Portumna (Jun 8th), the CAT Club in Cork (Jun 9th) and Áras Éanna in Inis Oírr (Jun 14th).

Promotional art for Bottom Dog's production of The Bachelor of Kilkish by Myles Breen. Limerick's leading theatre company get their due in this year's city of Culture.

Limerick's leading theatre company gets their due in this year's City of Culture. Bottom Dog present  The Bachelor of Kilkish by company playwright Myles Breen (Language UnBecoming a Lady). Set in a Kilkee-type seaside town, a barber's life is turned upside down with a young, out and proud gay man comes to work in his shop. This is a chance to see a large-scale production by this independent company. Runs at the Lime Tree Theatre, Jun 11-13.

(While you're in Limerick, check out BIANCO by the UK's NoFit State Circus - one of the international headliners as part of City of Culture. The Culture Factory, Jun 14-22)

In Dublin, Rough Magic's Lynne Parker is terraforming the Olympia Theatre to build Brecht and Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mohagonny (Jun 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22) - a jazz opera about an American city, founded by criminals, on a path to implosion. In co-production with Opera Theatre Company and backed by a hefty arts award from broadcasting company Sky Ireland, this serious reimagining of the venue allows the performance to take place throughout the auditorium, as well as making room for a 60-piece orchestra.

It looked uncertain as to whether or not Cork Midsummer Festival would go ahead this year but they've announced a programme for a 5-day festival (Jun 19-23) here. At the end of the month, the rising BrokenCrow company will present a new play by Ronan Fitzgibbon at the Everyman. Enter Juliet (Jun 30-Jul 3) is a dark tale about a company of players, starved and trapped, attempting to stage a patchwork Shakespeare play for their survival.

Last year, Sligo ensemble Blue Raincoat led 300 people to the summit of Knocknarea - the suspected burial site of Queen Maeve - where they staged Yeats' Purgatory. On July 12 they will use 5 miles of beach at the foot of the hill to stage On Baile's Strand - Yeats' 1938 play about the madness of Cuchulain. Come and see the hero run out to fight the sea.

Moonfish are given a prime spot in this year's Galway International Arts Festival with their stage adaptation of Joseph O'Connor's The Star of the Sea

Lastly, new writing is what it's all about at the newly-titled Galway International Arts Festival (Jul 14-27). Anne Clarke's Landmark Productions reunite the team behind the 2011 hit Misterman for Enda Walsh's new play Ballyturk (Jul 14-27), with Cillian Murphy now joined onstage by Stephen Rea and Mikel Murfi. Inspired by a conversation with his daughter explaining to her about death, Walsh's play sees two men sitting at home who are suddenly hit by the realisation that someday it will be all over for them. Walsh has said himself that Ballyturk - his first new play since 2010's Penelope - is a turning point in his playwriting.

(Landmark Productions have announced on their Facebook page that the entire Galway run is sold out! However, be vigilant; in my experience waiting lists at the box office and trying your luck for return tickets on the door pays off. Otherwise, book to see Ballyturk in Dublin, Cork or London NOW!)

Druid are also taking a long-awaited stab at new writing with Be Infants in Evil (Jul 16-26) by Brian Martin. In this comic play, a newly arrived priest in a Dublin parish struggles to be left alone. Aside from ensemble member Marty Rea, it's mostly a blow-in of new talent for the company, with performances by Bailey Hayden and Roxanna NicLiam, and direction by Oonagh Murphy.

Finally, Galway company Moonfish are given a prime spot in this year's festival with an adaptation of Joseph O'Connor's famine ship novel Star of the Sea (Jul 14-19). Sailing on the success of the award-winning Tomluí Phinocchio / Pinocchio - a Nightmare, this new work will see passengers' secrets revealed in the company's bi-lingual storytelling style, using a wide range of theatrical elements such as movement, live music and compelling stage images.

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