Waiting in Line: Tonight & Tomorrow night (Sept 22 & 23)

Production Shot 2 Waiting in LineThe play, Waiting in Line, by Honest Arts will get a second outing on the Limerick stage at the Jonathan Swift Theatre in the University of Limerick tonight and tomorrow night (22 & 23 Sept.) at 8pm.

The fast paced social commentary on the ‘social welfare culture’ that has been created in Ireland over the past 25 years won ‘The Cutting Edge Fringe Award’ at the Toronto Fringe Festival 2015. Set designer, Mario Beck, was nominated for Best Set Design at The Irish Times Theatre Awards.

Honest Arts “combines Artistry and the latest in 3D mapping technology in this fast paced, thought provoking, physical theatre piece”. Directed by Tara Doolan, it will be performed by Pius McGrath, Eva O’Connor and Johanna O’Brien.

Reviews have been positive too with My Entertainment Review giving it a B+/four stars saying that “this company knows how to find counterpoint and comedic relief, particularly McGrath, who is just phenomenal at creating beautifully nuanced and distinct characters”.

Please note: This show is suitable for audiences over 15 yrs.

Honest Arts toured to EdFringe in 2013 with The Mid-Knight Cowboy which received rave reviews and was also performed on Broadway in New York. The Scotsman said: “…..McGrath is a talented performer, shifting through the generations with little more than subtle adjustments of speech and body language”.

Tickets for Waiting in Line are available on the door at the UL theatre, which is located in the Main Building on the campus—across from UCH.

For more information, email honestartsproductioncompany@gmail.com or see www.facebook.com/HonestArtsCo or Twitter: @Honest_Arts

Crowdfunding campaigns: Language Unbecoming a Lady & Narcan

I posted recently about two local crowdfunding campaigns and there are two more that you may be interested in too—both with a connection to the Big Apple. One campaign is for Limerick Theatre Company, Bottom Dog, and the other is for a film project by a Limerick-born filmmaker, Narcan.

Language Unbecoming a Lady

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 20.27.30Bottom Dog show, Langauge Unbecoming a Lady—written and perforned by Myles Breen—has been invited to the prestigious Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival in Manhattan this September.

In Myles’ own words: “As Limerick’s first and only production at the festival in its seven years, we join a host of international productions in New York City for a two week run at the Cell Theatre, and get to represent you, our city, and our country in the Big Apple. This is not only this play’s international premiere, but the first Bottom Dog Theatre production to be staged outside Ireland! We are incredibly excited at the prospect, and so launch our first crowd funding campaign to make it a reality.”

“I wrote and performed this play for the first time in 2009 as part of Limerick’s annual Pride festival. Directed by my friend and colleague Liam O’Brien…our small show played for just four nights at the offsite Belltable Space in the city. Completely sold out and consecutive standing ovations later, we were overwhelmed by the response from local audiences. And so began a love affair with ‘The Divine Diana’ that has taken our show across the country to 19 venues, with over 55 performances to audiences of over 5000 people. We’ve toured from Cork to Donegal, Galway to Dublin and everywhere in between”.

Reviews were very positive: “Unadorned, vulnerable and comically self- critical, Breen is a shining and believable presence” – The Irish Times; “Fabulously written, wonderfully acted, tells an extremely important story, and is an undoubted success” – Irish Theatre Magazine; “Breen’s writing is sharp, colourful, aphoristic…it’s emotional honesty is compelling” – Irish Examiner.

“It has always been a dream of ours to tour this work abroad, and in the light of the historic YES vote for Marriage Equality, it seems like the right time to celebrate where we now are, but also remember where we came from. To tell my story and the story of countless Irish gay men and women, through the medium of theatre I love so much at Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival, is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for. In over 30 years in the business I’ve never performed my own writing outside Ireland – and now’s my chance!”

The tour is being supported by Culture Ireland who will cover flights and accommodation in New York for the three BD members who will travel but there are lots of other expenses from venue hire to Visas which must be covered.

Rewards include: a voicemail from Myles in character, a custom written Limerick by the director tickets to the gala fundraiser (see details below) and even a one hour swing show by Rat Pack start, Liam O’Brien. Corporate sponsors are also welcomed.

To support this, click here.

Also, there is a Gala Fundraising Night in the Lime Tree Theatre on 27 August where there will be a performance of the play along with a drinks reception and entry to the cabaret at Dolan’s Warehouse after the play. Tickets are €50 and can be purchased on www.limetreetheatre.ie.

Narcan

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 20.23.34Narcan is short film being made in New York at present and was inspired by writer/director Peter McNamara’s time living and working in New York City.

“While working behind a bar Peter would hear a wealth of stories from migrant Irishmen but one set of stories in particular stood out from the rest, An Irish paramedic working the streets of New York who would regale Peter with stories of being on the job and everything gritty detail that it entailed. Fascinated by what he heard Peter began to write during quiet moments while working in the bar.”

Narcan tells the story of Sean Ryan an Irish paramedic working the unsympathetic streets of New York City, every day he struggles to manage a fractured personal life, with his only son refusing to speak to him and the void between himself and his wife Sinead growing bigger with every passing day. The death and darkness of the job begins to creep inside Sean’s head clouding his judgement. It is during the course of one particular 12 hour shift that decisions with irrevocable consequences are made; Sean must call upon every ounce of his stringent resolve to try discover balance.”

The crew has managed to organise equipment and locations etc but need help to get the film finished to a high standard so it reach its full potential i.e. sound mixing, editing, music rights and more. Once the movie has finished all pre and post production, the monies raised will be used for festival submissions in both the US and Ireland.

Peter is a writer/director with multiple nominations to his name, born in Limerick, in 1981; Peter grew up in a working class household and began working construction at a young age having left school early. In 2013 after a life changing experience he decided to quit his job and return to third level education to study film-production. Well-known Limerick actor, Peter Halpin—also a producer of Narcan—is starring in the film along with several other talented cast members.

Rewards include your name in the film credits, scripts, souvenir pins, limited edition posters and more.

To support this, click here.

 

Review: The Trial, Limerick Youth Theatre

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 13.58.32I went to see Limerick Youth Theatre’s The Trial at 69 O’Connell Street last night (Friday 21 August) and I would recommend it. The last show is tonight (Saturday 22 August). Note: This review contains spoilers!

An adaptation of Kafka’s novel by Stephen Berkoff, The Trial is a challenging piece of work and I think LYT did a great job of bringing it to life.

The bank official, Josef K., is arrested “one fine morning” but he doesn’t know for what crime and no-one will tell him. Released but frustrated to the point of distraction, he tries to navigate the system but is continually denied any knowledge or access to due process. The law he is trying to wrestle with is a mystery, the people that try to help (including a lawyer) are ultimately as powerless as he and the authorities are uncooperative at best and brutal at worst. Thus, Josef K. is left in a perpetual state of uncertainty and the audience is led to believe that he may have wasted away wondering before a door, which he can never pass through—in a prison of his own making.

Let me preface this by saying that when I go to the theatre, I don’t like spending those few precious hours trying to interpret it as it’s happening. Call me boring, but I prefer when it’s  clear what’s going on because I enjoy it more. I once tried to read Kafka (Metamorphosis) and I gave up so I had an inkling I wasn’t going to love this piece. But, though the story and plot are confusing and some of the dialogue dense, the performance made up for it in entertainment value.

Firstly, the production design was top class from the stage arrangement to the set design and the musical direction & composition (both by Darren Maher) to the costume design (Marie Boylan, with assistance from Claire Dillon & Lauren Griffin). Though professional theatre practitioners were responsible for those elements, they created a solid foundation for the ensemble cast to build on.

IMG_0447The giant, looming Lady Justice model made from branches set the scene yet the upbeat lounge music playing before the sow started set up a strange contrast due to the serious subject matter. There were several catchy musical interludes throughout The Trial—singing and dancing alike. Some of it reminded me of the scenes involving the Sharks and the Jets from West Side Story; think menacing jazz hands, often creating a claustrophobic nightmare for Josef K. Cast member, Aoife Donnellan, did a nice job of the musical backing, which sometimes doubled as sound effects.

The muted colour scheme was broken by occasional bursts of colour in the costumes and the mask-like make-up was unsettling. Only Josef K. isn’t wearing a mask; the rest are faceless bureaucrats, enigmatic women, aloof officials etc. The props were good, especially Huld’s giant hands. The lighting design (Mattie Moran) played a part in bringing everything together too.

Movement was a huge part of the play. The ensemble played inanimate objects like tables, phones, clocks, public transport, staircases etc and that really had the audience tickled. If you’ve never seen someone acting as a chest of drawers or a bed, complete with creaks, you’re missing out. It’s hilarious and I’d imagine it takes a lot of skill. The ensemble was very impressive as a whole because they had to act as a chorus, a crowd, a workplace, a jury and a room at various points and they were never less than convincing.

There were a few stand-out performances. Liam Hillen as the hapless Josef K did very well because it’s an emotional rollercoaster of a part and carrying it is tough. Eoghan Hussey (Inspector/Huld) and Aiden Kelly (Father/Priest) deserve some credit as the pompous lawyer and the Gospel-type preacher. Emer Hayes has a great speaking voice and her short turn as ‘The Whipper’ (complete with realistic sound effects by two other cast-members) was a memorable one, as was Muireann Hogan as Block, Ellen King as the Laundress and Jack Coffey as the Bailiff. Naming a few is not to take away from the whole; the entire cast did themselves proud. (Full list of cast and crew at end)

One thing that annoyed me slightly was the multitude of accents being used. The scene announcements sound German and although it’s never referred to, it has a distinctly eastern European feel about it. But the audience were treated to a selection of accents like Irish Garda, German, British and American and I thought they could’ve just spoken in their own accents. That’s a minor complaint overall.

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 14.16.17So, The Trial had a fair bit of comic relief but dealt with quite a dark subject. You’re never far away from a scene where Josef K. is humiliated, despairing, enduring psychological or physical abuse or wading through bureaucracy to find answers. Many characters are living in a state (or indeed State) of distrust and others just ignore or turn a blind eye. The play begins and ends on a bleak note. But, nevertheless it was interesting and perhaps a relevant piece of social commentary in many ways i.e. the justice system is complicated and sometimes unjust, getting tied up in red tape is unfair and distressing…I’m still not a convert to Kafka!

Director, Ann Blake, did a fine job of bringing out the cast’s strengths and brought a difficult script from page to stage, running a really tight show. LYT is a group of very talented young people, mostly teenagers, but they’re still amateurs. They really rose to the challenge of the professional production values and delivered a high quality performance worthy of the standing ovation it got.

To book tickets, ring 061-774774. More information on Limerick Youth Theatre at www.lyt.ie.

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Crowd-funding campaigns: Elemental Festival and Limerick Craft Hub

Two very worthy Limerick artistic ventures are running crowd-funding campaigns at the moment—Elemental Arts & Culture Festival and Limerick Craft Hub. I’m sure they’d both be bowled over with any support you could give them and all the information is below. Good luck to both in achieving their funding aims.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 20.32.29The volunteer-led Elemental Arts & Culture Festival has been running since 2012 and brings a diverse mix of “the arts in all their guises” over a weekend in September. Events include disciplines but not limited to: visual art, street theatre, music, crafts, forgotten skills, youth theatre, comedy, print, acrobatics, film and photography. This year’s proposed programme will be no different and events will include a sign-artists event ‘Love Letters from Limerick’, film screenings including the Oscar nominated Song of the Sea, theatre show Charolais and much more.

The aim is €2,000 and all funds collected on this campaign will go directly to the programme to pay artists, venues, technicians, equipment hire, accommodation, transport, printing costs and insurance. The festival doesn’t receive Arts Council funding. Elemental won Best Programme at the National Festival Awards (AOIFE) and was shortlisted for Best Website and Best Merchandise as well as being shortlisted for the National Green Awards. Their mission statement also includes using Elemental as a platform for supporting charities and the local community too. Past collaborations include: The Blue Box, Special Olympics, The Children’s Ark, the Ger McDonnell Memorial Fund, Limerick’s Buzzing and Fairtrade Limerick.

It’s a festival with a great can-do, ‘if you build it, they will come’ feel and “created by people with a passion for Limerick with the purpose of animating the city through the arts”. Some of the rewards include tickets to events, books, exclusive merchandise featuring the art of Jacob Stack and even some yummy gelato.

I’ve made my contribution so I’m really looking forward to the weekend. The deadline is just four days away so please consider investing in this event HERE!

www.elementalfestival.com

PS: Here’s a lovely video promoting Elemental…

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 21.13.08A not for profit organisation of 50 local craftspeople who support and promote crafts handmade in Limerick, Limerick Craft Hub was set up last year.

It is a legacy project of Limerick City of Culture 2014 and the collective “walked into an empty building last July and together we transformed it into the bright, busy space that you see today. Our exclusive high calibre craft outlet has a gallery space at the rear. We also have three fully operational craft studios, which are open to the public”.

The hub has a thriving Community Craft Corner where people come and knit every Monday and Friday morning for charities and for fun and it runs craft workshops on a regular basis.

Limerick Craft Hub wants to upscale and improve the craft shop, gallery and studio spaces.

In their own words: “We have secured a grant from LEO but need to match it with our own funds to actually receive the grant. This is where you guys come in, we need your help to raise those funds! The money raised will go towards a bigger kiln, a new coffee machine, a more dependable and faster till system,  and laptops for our marketing team. We want to be able to offer you more workshops, events, public rentable kiln space, a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy a coffee during community crafting and a greater overall experience when you walk in through our doors.”

Rewards for contributions include cups of delicious Pónaire coffee and a selection of the wares made and sold here including honey, felt crafts, lip balm, ceramics, jewellery and lamps. The target is €14,000 and there are 19 days left in the campaign. To support this crafty endeavour, click HERE!

www.limerickcrafthub.ie

PS: Here’s a fun video outlining the craft hub and its campaign…

Call for papers/presentations for Light Moves Festival of Screendance symposium

dancelimericksmsFollowing the success of the inaugural Light Moves Festival of Screendance in Limerick last year, it is returning from 19-22 November 2015 and it is sending out an open call for papers and presentations for the symposium, which forms part of the festival.

The symposium’s subject is “Peeling Away the Layers” and the closing date for submissions. Friday 7 August. The symposium sits within the Light Moves festival and aims to encourage artistic and scholarly exchange, debate and discussion in screendance and related disciplines including performance, dance, film, visual arts, sound and text.

Light Moves is Ireland’s only festival of Screendance and is dedicated to the art of dance film and video art with movement as a central theme.

The festival is hosted by Dance Limerick and DMARC (Digital Media and Arts Research Centre) at the University of Limerick. It will take place at Dance Limerick and is supported by the Arts Council and Limerick City and County Council as well as the hosts.

“The festival is a response to the vibrant and expanding field of dance film/ screendance in Ireland.  Light Moves is curated by Jurgen Simpson and Mary Wycherley and combines classics, family screenings, invited works, open submissions and explorations of screendance with some of the most respected figures in the field.“

LightMoves cover_ Beach Party AnimalProposals should be submitted in PDF format only (more details below) to lightmovesfestival@gmail.com and the full details are available from www.lightmoves.ie.

Topics
Proposals for presentations, papers and project discussions are invited from national and international practitioners and scholars. Experimental and/or group formats of presentation are welcome. Papers and project presentations may include but are not limited to the following areas:

  • Screendance as a language for social, cultural and political conversations.
  • Let’s talk about digital: Challenging the allure of High Definition; The ubiquitous camera; Primitive technologies, embracing artefact and rediscovering lo-fi.
  • Screendance conventions and the interplay between mainstream and experimental practices.
  • Mediating and experiencing time in screendance (uninterrupted, compressed and expanded time).
  • Harnessing performativity; liveness in screendance.
  • Confronting stereotype (body, dance and location).

Submissions:

Proposals should be no more than 300 words and should include:

  • Title of paper or presentation.
  • A maximum 300 word abstract (including brief description of the questions, concepts and topics to be explored).
  • Preferred presentation format/approach.
  • A short biography.
  • A/V requirements.
  • Website links supporting the proposal, if available.

www.lightmoves.ie