Read the three finalists entries below and vote for next season’s My_Project Blogger in our poll in the right hand corner. Whoever gets the most votes wins. Good luck to all the finalists!!
I’m a writer/actor/director. Having studied English Lit, History of Art and Philosophy my interests are broad to say the least. The main reason I apply to this blogger competition is my friends told me to, which is really to give them some peace from my waxings, though they won’t admit that.
I don’t get to see enough theatre, especially of the kind I prefer: experimental, collaborative, and yoghurt-like. And I love to talk about it after, to digest it verbally.
Review: The Making Of Tis Pity She’s A Whore
‘Tis a Pity ‘tis Over
In we step into the smoky, jazzy (thanks to the music playing) miasma of The Making of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore. Imagine a renaissance drama crossed with Felleni’s 8½? If you can, then you’ve a sense of it. The whole show moves around the broody Director who also plays Giovanni. Even the style invoked it, the glasses he wears, the type writer, his clothes, even his hair echoed the style of Mastroianni’s, not copied I have you understand, but styled like. The association is kept subliminal – Italian sixties cool.
So, to make it simple: a film is being made of the play, and the Director, as the filming progresses, becomes possessed by the spirit of, becomes usurped within by the character of Giovanni in some type of method directing gone awry. Yet, lest you assume it, Ford’s text is not set within a new text and therefore the Making of narrative relies solely on action, on show. Combine this with the difficulties of comprehending early seventeenth century dramatic verse, and the melding of life and drama became rather unclear at times. And in light of the extracting of mere pieces of the original text the result was naturally disjointed.
Next, is that really, in truth, this should have ‘dance’ in the title as there was much of it. Though it seemed a way of disguising prop movements and set changes, it was dance nevertheless. Add that some of Ford’s verse is set to music and sung, and you have what in many ways is a song & dance show. Expect it basically.
Of course then there is the subject matter, the plot. Lets us not forget: it is incest between a brother and a sister and in some way this was not touched though the whole play is about it, it’s everywhere, yet it never arrived. I suspect that the language and the notoriety of the play ironically masked it – like going to Oedipus Rex: incest is a given. No eye brow raised. But maybe that’s asking too much of renaissance drama – incest is ironically not the issue but staging renaissance drama is. How you do it.
The problem is always the arm’s reach that such drama keeps much of the audience at, the verse, the reversed and inverted syntax that keeps meaning like the sound behind a jet fighter – always lagging behind, trying to keep up. And as the text is merely pieces of the original you’d imagine a difficult time, but no! Not so. The one delight, the one overwhelming delight is that it works, it really does work. The use of music is deviously clever for the music, constant music it seemed, held you up, suspended and carried you over the breaches in narrative. And the use of multimedia, shot sequences, characters kept in the can as it were, worked perfectly. Simon Delaney, I realised, was born to play the fop – brilliant. In fact all performances were strong and affecting.
One gets the sense of justice being done to Ford’s work. Akin to a novel to film, some just hit the beats they have to hit – the novel comes across. We say: ‘Yes. It worked.’ I say: ‘Yes it worked’. And in lieu of knowing its next outing, I can’t say ‘go and see’, which is a pity…
I am a Trinity drama graduate currently working as a theatre and film critic for Meg.ie. I am very interested in theatre criticism and would really appreciate the opportuniy to develop my skills with the Project Arts Centre.
As I walk into Smock Alley theatre for TheatreClub’s Heroin, you are greeted by two young boys whose sole purpose appears to be to casually berate the audience. Telling us ‘to find a seat-it’s not hard’, wolf-whistling and being audacious to the point of being rude, it’s a fitting start to an incredibly moving piece of theatre. Despite being unflinching and honest in its depiction of the soulless cycle of addiction, Heroin always retains a certain fondness for its subjects. Taking us into a reality where horrible things happen to not very horrible people, and where drug taking is only morbid in its absolute mundanity, Grace Dyas and company are concerned with not only taking down the net curtains, but setting fire to them and forcing us to look inside.
Guiding us through the decades by the use of a very nice musical device, Heroin is unrelenting in its desperation and bleakness. By showing us that drug taking is a sickness that manifests in shabby rooms, punctuated by the noise of radio adverts that promise escape, it strips away the media hype and finds the sadness inherent in addiction. Frozen by a sense of ritual and weak ’not tomorrow night’ promises, the characters are caught up in dangerous and irrational violence. They tell us that their parents did the best job they could while knowing they did not, and beg us ‘to come at them.’ Theirs is a frantic search for feeling, an escape from arbitrary numbness and they believe heroin offers the ultimate form of emotional getaway. Yet, these are not excuses-tabloid childhoods invented to ease a sense of guilt-this is their reality and they state plainly ’we took drugs because we wanted to take drugs.’ As Barry O’ Connor begs Lauren Larkin and Gerard Kelly ’not to do that in front of me’, there is a sense of growing incomprehension and palpable unease. He is speaking for society, a society that does not want to see bodies being butchered but his pleas go unanswered. Certainly the role society played in breeding this illness and the responsibility we have to a community we ignore, is a demanding truth that is impossible to dismiss.
With this explosive subject matter, it would be tempting to resort to melodrama but Dyas draws emotive, natural and affective performances from her cast, who are all equally outstanding. Larkin is wonderfully childlike in her innocence, and her subsequent corruption is disturbing to the extent that a few audience members were visibly upset. O‘Connor‘s anger is righteous, unashamed and perfectly played, whilst Kelly elicits sympathy as the boy without a backbone. The lighting and mood changes are evocative and powerful, and Doireann Coady’s set demands special attention, as the more furniture that is added the sparser it seems to become. Herin leaves you with a huge sense of loss-but it does not leave you. Find a seat. It’s not hard.
Review: Slattery’s Sago Saga
What happens if, in the middle of a play, the characters, to their distress, realise that they are fictional? And what happens when they decide to take matters into their own hands, and seize control of the writing of the script? Slattery’s Sago Saga, brilliantly staged by The Performance Corporation, and directed by Jo Mangan, is an absurdist comedy, as energetic and imaginative a piece of theatre as one would hope from Arthur Riordan. He has succeeded in turning what was initially an unfinished novel by Flann O’Brien into a play that manages to be both contemporary, and faithful to O’Brien’s very distinctive style.
The plot, involving a maleficent Scotswoman, a human-sized leprechaun, a beautiful and mysterious typist,, and an evil plot to subjugate the nation of Ireland, is ridiculous, of course, and spirals out of control completely once the characters get involved, each manipulating events to suit their own various purposes. It’s all very meta-theatrical. But it never becomes too convoluted, managing to hold the audience’s attention throughout.
The cast of five all give strong performances, outstanding among them being Kathy Rose O’Brien as Imelda, the substitute author who takes over the writing while its real author is otherwise occupied, and Michael Glenn Murphy in four distinct roles; the idiot butler, the opium-fiend professor, the corrupt T.D, and the Irish-American millionaire.
It’s fast-paced, tongue-in-cheek, entertaining, and completely nonsensical, in a way that somehow makes sense, in keeping with Flann O’Brien’s absurdist logic. Conventionally, theatre attempts to induce in its audience a suspension of disbelief. Slattery’s Sago Saga inverts this, asking the audience to suspend belief, and challenging their perceptions of authorship, performance and reality. O’Brien would have been proud.