A crack team of judges has been assembled, including Bob Burke (Bisto awardwinner for The Third Pig Detective Agency), Roisin Meaney (Love in the Making),William Ryan (The Holy Thief), Anthony Galvin (Baby Steps) and Helena Close (TheClever One). This is the second year that the competition has been run and the organisersreport that “the standard of entries was very high”.
Following the award of the judges’ prize there will be a 10 Minute Play fromGabhar Theatre Company called Good Fences by Sheila Fitzpatrick O’Donnell PLUSan open mic where anyone and everyone can bring poetry and prose to the party. Peopleare welcome to bring along something you’ve written or a piece that moves youand share it with the audience.
There are two noteworthy events at the Belltable this week in both theatre and film…
Since I practice what I preach, I checked out two of the events I mentioned in recent posts.
I went to see Tales of the Unexpected 2 by the Quarry Players in the Loft on opening night, October 25. The two one-act plays were enjoyable. After Midnight—Before Dawn was suitably unnerving for the Halloween season. The play is about six prisoners convicted of witchcraft and whether they will try to escape the gallows at any cost. The tensions were high as the moral dilemmas played out. The cast all turned in strong performances, particularly Michelle O’Flanagan as the mysteriously calm woman.
The Fat Lady Sings had a few laugh out loud moments as it charted an amateur drama group’s attempts to sabotage a rival production. The play lampoons the am-dram scene quite well, with four very different personalities at play. Several of the people I was with singled Eibhlin Conroy out for her brilliant comic timing.
Tales of the Unexpected 2 runs until Friday (October 28) nightly at 8pm. Tickets are €10 and can be booked on the Loft Booking Line on 085-2085737.
Abandoned Mansions of Ireland exhibition
I also popped down to have a look at the exhibition, Abandoned Mansions of Ireland, by photographer Tarquin Blake in the Raggle Taggle space. The houses are beautiful, even in their various states of decay. They are mostly monochrome, which emphasises their starkness. I noticed a few long exposures too and that gives the photos an appropriate ghostly quality. It is haunting in more ways than one.
The explanatory notes besides the pictures are also fascinating i.e. Ardfry House in Galway was featured in the Paul Newman film, The MacKintosh Man. The house was given a new roof and windows especially—just to be burnt down, destroying many internal features. Another interesting note was about Buttevant Castle in which it explains how Buttevant got its name from the French “Boutez en avant” (“Push forward”). David De Barry captured the castle from the McCarthy clan after one of their own soldiers betrayed them. He still got his head chopped off for his trouble. Every house has a story and the exhibition also tells a tale about the landed gentry, their often decadent lifestyle and the historical/cultural changes in Ireland though the years.
There are several photos of mansions in County Limerick including the gate-house of Castle Oliver, Mount Shannon House, Dromore Castle and Ballinagarde House. The last two have quirky histories. Parts of the Peter O’Toole film, High Spirits, were filmed at Dromore and Ballinagarde House is dubbed ‘I doubt it Hall’ locally because the one-time master allegedly made the statement on his deathbed when told he was going to a better place!
My only qualm is that the pictures were printed on canvas and the grainy texture of the material makes some of the detail in the photos hard to see up close. That’s a very minor thing and the canvas format may have been chosen to make the photos resemble paintings. The photos on display and many more are contained in Blake’s book, Abandoned Mansions of Ireland, which is available in bookshops.
The free exhibition—in association with the Hunt Museum and the Irish Georgian Society—is well worth a look and it’s on until November 11. The space on Sarsfield Street is open 12-6 Mon-Sat and 2-5pm on Sundays.