American Buffalo (and the Mamets)

I went to see American Buffalo by local theatre company, Magic Roundabout, on February 13 in The Loft and reviewed it for Irish Theatre Magazine. David Mamet’s work—particularly his edgy dialogue—never fails to entertain. Read my take on it here.

On a vaguely related matter, his daughter, Zosia Mamet, is one of the leads in Girls. Girls is HBO’s inspired comedy written by the outrageously talented, Lena Dunham. Like Mamet, she is something of a “profane poet” in her own way! Girls—which is in season two at present—is like the opposite of Sex and the City. It still focuses on four women living in New York, albeit in their early twenties, but deals with everything that is not glamorous about the situation.

It reminds me a lot of The Inbetweeners but better and instead of teenage boys, it’s all about women. There are some horrifically cringe-worthy scenes (some graphic; you have been warned!) and brilliant lines. Dunham’s willingness to embarass herself is truly admirable. It’s worth checking out.

Unfringed Festival 2012 starts tonight, Oct 16

The Limerick Unfringed Festival 2012 kicks off tonight (October 16) with a specially commissioned play, Siege.

The festival will run until October 28 and will include new and established theatre, music, dance, cinema and literary events. This year’s festival is curated by Duncan Molloy and the theme is ‘Darkness on the edge of town’.

The Unfringed used to take place in January but I think the new timeslot is a good move and spreading the festival events over 12 days will hopefully encourage audiences. There are a few ticket bundles available too, which might soften the financial outlay for some. The prices for events range from €7 to €22.50. The programme is a heady mix, with a lot of local input, so I would encourage people to support the festival by attending at least one event if they can at all. I’ll get to (and review if possible) a few things myself.

Siege is a local affair—written by Ciarda Tobin, directed by Marie Boylan and starring Aidan Crowe, Erica Murray and Joanne Ryan. The plot outline is as follows: “Pa is missing, Mouse is on the warpath and the houses are burning. This new short play, set in Limerick and inspired by the Trojan war, follows the exploits of Helena and her daughter as they discover Mouse’s secret and are forced to escape his fury. This is a highly charged urban play, which swings from karaoke to chaos and comedy to tragedy. It is rough and ready; it is savage and familiar. The production will be fast paced and physical.” The venue is the Belltable and it runs until Thursday.

Thursday lunchtime marks the first of three shows tying in with Lunchtime Theatre at the Savoy. Bandit—fresh from the Dublin Fringe—is on at 1pm on Thursday and Friday this week. On Friday (October 19) and Saturday nights, the multi award winning, Silent, by Pat Kinevane, is on at the Belltable. Act Without Words II by Samuel Beckett is on this Saturday and Sunday (two shows a night). The venue is site-specific but audiences meet at the Belltable.

Also on Sunday, Molloy’s own work—Mass—is on in the afternoon in the Limerick City Gallery of Art. Mass is on again on Sunday October 28. Interactive dance performance, Chimaera, by Angie Smalis is on Sunday and Monday night. On Tuesday October 23, there is a screening of the George Romero classic, Night of the Living Dead.

Mimic by Raymond Scannell is on Wednesday and Thursday night (October 25). Also on Thursday and Friday, Payback and The Wheelchair on my Face will feature at Lunchtime and Teatime Theatre at the Savoy respectively. On Thursday, The Loft will host Under the Influence where comedian/actor Pat Shortt and playwright, Mike Finn, will discuss their inspirations. Later that same evening, there will be a celebration of Richard Harris presented by Bottom Dog Theatre Company and The Little Apple.

On Friday night, French jazz musician, Tigran will perform and on Saturday, band Scullion will perform. Unique live game, Day Zero, is taking place, every 20 minutes from 1-4pm on Saturday. The idea is that the city has been overrun by zombies and you have to find a way to survive. The venue is site-specific but audiences meet at the Belltable. On Sunday, the festival will conclude with a production of David Mamet’s Oleanna.

Find out more about the Unfringed programme at www.belltable.ie or download it here.

Munster poetry slam winners

I thoroughly enjoyed the Munster heat of the All Ireland Poetry Slam at The Loft last Tuesday (Sept 11). I was kindly asked to be a judge for it by Limerick Writers’ Centre, which was quite a nerve-wracking experience in itself!

We were marking on the content, the performance of the poet and the audience reaction. I’m happy to say the standard was very high and the packed room was collectively enthusiastic. Nine poets travelled from Cork alone and the two winners happened to be from there.

Myself and the other judges eventually whittled it down to two poets—Fergus Costello and Cathal Holden—who will represent the province at the finals in Cork on November 30. Congratulations to all the participants. It takes guts to stand up on stage and lay your work bare like that.

I found some audio/video samples online to give readers an idea of the material that these two talented gentlemen will bring to the table at the final. Best of luck to them.

Fergus Costello performing ‘Tell me lies’ at the International Bar, Dublin.

Cathal Holden’s entry for a rapping competition.

Limk Writers’ Centre On the Nail/Poetry Slam heat

The Limerick Writers’ Centre monthly On The Nail event will take place tonight (Tuesday September 4) from 8pm at The Loft @ The Locke Bar.

The featured readers include Limerick’s own, John Liddy, who is on a visit from his home in Madrid. The others are: Irish-Canadian writer, Celest Auge and Padraig Mac Fhearghusa, a west Cork poet who writes largely as Gaeilge.

Gabhar Theatre Company is back with another 10 minute play with cast: Grace Cronin, Shane Vaughan and Hugh O’Brien.

Everyone is invited to take part in the open-mic after the main event, poets, storytellers, musicians and writers. Even if you don’t write you are welcome to bring something along to read.

Next Tuesday (September 11), the same venue will host the Munster heat of the All Ireland Poetry Slam at 8.30pm. Performance poets and spoken word artists from Limerick, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Tipperary and Waterford will battle it out at the ‘slam’.

“For those of you who haven’t experienced one, a slam is a performance poetry competition in which poets perform for not more than three minutes. The winner will be chosen by an appointed panel of judges. The prize on offer to the winner is the honour of representing Munster in the 6th All Ireland Poetry Slam to be held during November in Cork,” the LWC blurb read.

Poets wishing to enter the slam on the night need two, three-minute poems, ideally performed without a script. If you want to participate, all you have to do is arrive on the night to The Loft venue and give your name to the MC or you can email your name to the limerickwriterscentre@gmail.com requesting inclusion.

The Limerick Writers’ Centre run various classes and workshops as well as running literary events and selling books (mostly by local/Irish writers) online so the website is worth a look.

On the Nail/Stony Thursday Book 2012

This month’s ‘On the Nail’ literary event will take place tomorrow, Tuesday August 7, at 8pm in the Loft Venue at the Locke Bar.

The free event will include the launch of issue 23 of the Revival Literary Journal and readings by Kevin Higgins, Bríd Ní Mhóráin and Donal O’Flynn. There will also be a 10 minute play by Gabhar Theatre Company, starring Grace Cronin, Shane Vaughan and Hugh O’Brien.

Everyone is invited to take part in the open-mic after the main event including poets, storytellers, musicians and writers. Even if you don’t write you are welcome to bring something along to read.

More information on www.limerickwriterscentre.com.

Also, The Stony Thursday Book is seeking submissions from local, national and international poets for its next issue to be published as part of CUISLE Limerick City International Poetry Festival in October 2012. This year’s editor is the Limerick-based poet, Jo Slade.

The Stony Thursday Book was founded by Limerick poets John Liddy and Jim Burke in 1975, and has also been edited by Mark Whelan, Kevin Byrne, Patrick Bourke and Knute Skinner, Thomas McCarthy and Mary Coll.

The annual publication is one of the longest-running literary journals in Ireland and celebrates its 37th Anniversary Edition in 2012.

How to Submit: Send no more than six poems and when submitting poems, write your name and address on each page. Send poems to: The Arts Office, Limerick City Council, City Hall, Merchant’s Quay, Limerick or by email: artsoffice@limerickcity.ie.