Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Irish Theatre to See in 2016

Rehearsal image for The Casement Project by Fearghus Ó Conchúir, pegged to be a main event in the 1916 commemorations. Photo: Ste Murray.

Some dates for your calendar in 2016 …

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

More Irish Theatre Highlights of 2015

Still a lot of fun to be had at the cutting edge, as evidenced by Dead Centre's Chekhov's First Play. Photo: Jose Miguel Jiminez

Yesterday I posted my top 10 of 2015. Here are other highlights from the year:

Irish Theatre Top 10 of 2015

ANU Productions's Pals was a singular attempt to commemorate Irish involvement in World War I. Photo: Patrick Redmond.

Thinking back on 2015, I’m reminded of the mobilisation of artists around the Marriage Equality Referendum and the #WakingTheFeminists outcry over the Abbey Theatre’s male-mad 2016 season. I’m reminded of gutsy programming by Galway International Arts Festival to host Exhibit B, a controversial installation that internationally spurred the modern equivalent of a theatre riot, and by Tiger Dublin Fringe to take a chance on Kim Noble, a guerrilla-performance artist on a risky search for companionship.

In trying to narrow down my theatre-going (I wrote about 120 performances this year) to a list of ten, I’ve kept to the parameters of new productions by Irish/Northern Irish companies, or co-productions where the creative half is Irish. This leaves out Andrew Scott’s seamless performance in the Paines Plough production of Sea Wall, co-produced by Dublin Theatre Festival, though it was probably my favourite performance this year. I’ve also left out the Gate Theatre’s production of The Gigli Concert because Denis Conway had performed the part before, and I figured I could make room for something else, though that doesn’t excuse the omission of Sinéad McKenna, who gave the best lighting design this year.

Whenever I’ve written an end-of-year list, I’ve tried to keep to the idea of ‘best’ as moments in the theatre when I felt a significant shift in my thinking, when I’ve registered a change in my biology: the welling of emotion, the howl of laughter or a menacing discomfort.

(Finally, thank you to readers who followed me this year from Musings In Intermissions to A Younger Theatre and Broadway World, and most recently Exeunt Magazine and The Stage. Keep an eye out for me in the two latter publications in 2016).