The Ugly Blog

I was flicking through links on Twitter last Friday afternoon and came across this wonderful blog. Over the weekend, I worked my way through all The Ugly Truth blog posts, which start in October 2009 and finish last month. In them, Emma Adams talks about writing a play called The Ugly Truth, from draft 0 to the rehearsal room. She talks about the highs and lows of play-writing and I found it fascinating!

End of the Theatre Festival

The Festival Theatre finished up on Sunday and I was sad to see it go. I did have a really great final weekend though. I saw 3 shows, a couple of panel discussions and talking theatre sessions and a couple of hours of The Magic If… My last Festival event on Sunday was The Game of You which I really liked. I found it clever and interesting and walked away feeling sad that I don’t have another Ontroerend Goed experience to look forward to this week.

I have seen more shows in this year’s festival and felt more engaged with it than I have in previous years. This is the first time I’ve volunteered which made me feel more involved and meant I saw more shows. And because I saw almost nothing in the Fringe I was more able for three weeks of theatre when the Theatre Festival rolled round. I was also more organised this year, I got the programme as soon as it became available, I picked out the shows I definitely didn’t want to miss and booked them as soon as the box-office opened.

I was able to be so organised because I was getting tweets from the Festival (@DubTheatreFest) reminding me what was going on. The twitter feed was also great throughout the festival – retweeting reactions to various shows, letting their followers know about ticket availability and special offers, etc. I saw photos of the set of John Gabriel Borkman on twitter before it even opened (though they failed to capture it’s magnificent splendour), I read people’s reactions to the Ontroerend Goed shows as they were walking out of Smock Alley, I knew who played the Dane. I found it really exciting to watch the Festival unfold on Twitter and I think they used the technology really well, in a way that I haven’t seen in Ireland before. I love twitter, I find it a great source of information and am delighted to see it being put to such good use. I am slowly building up a useful group of Irish tweeters who tell me things I want to know and I found a good few of them though the DubTheatreFest retweets.

I think Dublin Theatre Festival can be very happy and proud of themselves this week. It was a fantastic festival, loads of really interesting shows to see, and also a wonderfully international festival. Their twitter feed also linked to reviews from theatre critics who were thoroughly enjoying the Festival as well.

Roll on next year!

Final week of the Dublin Theatre Festival

It’s the last few days of the Dublin Theatre Festival but there is still lots of great theatre to see.

Enron opened on Tuesday and I really enjoyed it. It’s a great, sprawling story which Lucy Prebble has managed to translate into a very neat, very comprehensible play. It gets the balance between story and big, theatrical set-pieces just right and I would really recommend it. It runs until Saturday and there are still tickets available.

I am going to see The Author on Friday and I can’t wait. There was lots of very positive things being said about it on Twitter this morning (and being re-tweeted by the Project and the Festival!). A lot of comments have said things like ‘important’ or ‘thought-provoking’ or ‘controversial’. I’m not sure if it’s an enjoyable play but I am eager to see it. It runs until Sunday and there are still some tickets available.

The final part of the Ontroerend Goed trilogy A Game of You is also on this week. Of the other two, I loved The Smile Off Your Face, I found it a really gorgeous experience but I was a little bit more ambivalent about Internal, still an interesting experience but I don’t think I’d do it again. They are very much immersive theatre and I would recommend giving it a go! I’m curious to see what A Game of You has in store for me. It runs until Sunday and are still lots of time slots available.

I went to see Hugh Hughes open rehearsal today and it was very interesting. He is a very engaging performer and I’m hoping to see at least one of his shows at the weekend, time and money allowing. There is a free screening of the documentary How I Got Here tomorrow at 6pm and his three shows – Floating, The Story of a Rabbit and 360 are all running until Sunday.

There are also free Panel Discussions happening over the weekend. I’m hoping to get the ‘What are you Looking At’ panel on Saturday.

Project Brand New – call for submissions

The next Project Brand New will be happening on the 16th, 17th and 18th of December and they have sent out a call for submissions for work to be presented.

“If you are interested in submitting a proposal for consideration, all you have to do is the following:
1. Describe your idea and where you would like to take it in no more than 500 words

2. Tell us why you want to show work in PBN and how you propose to solicit and incorporate feedback

3. Include CVs/biogs for each participant

(If you are submitting a new play or musical text, it is helpful, though not essential, for us to read a draft of the extract you intend to present.)

Submissions will be assessed under the following criteria:
*The artistic quality of your idea
*The scope of your ambition
*The practical needs of your idea”

The deadline is 5.30pm on Friday 5th November (only 3 and a bit weeks away!) and all the submission details can be found on their Facebook page.

Project Brand New are also presenting The Magic if… as part of Dublin Theatre Festival. They are promising tea, cake and inspiration at 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm & 6pm on Saturday 16th at The New Theatre, Temple Bar. €2 per hour.

565+

565+ was my first Dublin Theatre Festival show this year. It started life as part of Project Brand New‘s Bealtine project Generation in 2009. For me, that is an indication that Theatre Festival is becoming more open to untraditional types of theatre. It’s also a very good show!

I saw Una McKevitt’s last show Victor and Gord earlier this year and really enjoyed it. She really excels at making very personal, simple pieces of theatre that draw you in and give you a fascinating glimpse at someone’s else’s life. And when I say a “simple piece of theatre”, I mean that as a compliment! I know from experience how difficult that can be to get right. When I was devising theatre in college, the note that came up again and again was that we were trying to do too much. Always too many ideas and not enough clarity. Una McKevitt has a skill of making theatre about one thing, but making that one thing engaging and moving and beautiful.

I really enjoyed 565+. Of course, I am practically pre-programmed to like a play about how important and special theatre is! I liked the biographical details as well – it was like a potted history of life in Ireland in the last 30-40 years.

And I loved the set. It was bright and beautiful and the seating in the Cube (the downstairs space in the Project) was changed into “in the round”. (Is it still in the round when it’s only on three sides?) This really opened up the space and because then there was only three rows of seats on each side, even in the back row, you felt near the stage. It really drew me in to Marie’s world. I was in the Cube this evening for one of the Talking Theatre sessions and it was back to it’s usual set-up and I was just struck by how much of a transformation they achieved for the show.

As usual, I am so late writing about it that the show has already been and gone but hopefully it will be back again in the near future!

One Last Trilogy Post, for the moment anyway!

Here is a message from Nic about taking part in the show in Belfast. After that, they are heading home to Glasgow and will be performing Trilogy on the 3rd/4th/5th and 6th of Glasgow with rehearsals beginning on the 29th or 30th of October. If you’d like to take part in that performance, contact Louise at the address below.

CALL-OUT FOR NORTHERN IRELAND WOMEN TO PARTICIPATE IN PERFORMANCE OF TRILOGY, 22ND – 24TH OCTOBER 2010

ULSTER BANK BELFAST FESTIVAL AT QUEEN’S
CALLING ALL NORTHERN IRELAND WOMEN!
YOUNG OR OLD/TALL OR SHORT/ATHLETIC OR CURVY!

Hello, my name is Nic Green and I would like the help of lots of women for a performance in Belfast from 22nd – 24th October.

The performance in short, is a celebration of the female form, and of what it means to be an individual, dynamic woman, and to feel empowered and allowed to be that, in a society where the emphasis is often on becoming and looking like something/someone else.

The performance and process is about women coming together, empowered in their own skins, to celebrate the very nature of who they are and all their differences. In the past it has been an incredibly fun and exhilarating performance to do and the process has been a truly transformative and empowering experience! I’m looking for anything over 30 people to make this happen.

So here we go….

The first part of the Trilogy (the performance) ends with a high energy, ensemble naked dance. It is a powerful and emotive moment, presenting the female body in an alternative, empowered way, and celebrating the difference and diversity between us.

It is open to all levels of fitness and ability, and in the past we’ve had women from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, all abilities, ages and backgrounds and it has been amazing.

Of course I realise it’s a big challenge (for many of us) to do a performance with no clothes on, and I know that the prospect of this will make a lot of people feel nervous however I can promise to approach this in the most sensitive way I know how, and of course no one at any point needs to do anything they do not feel comfortable with.

If you come to the first session (which we will do fully clothed!) and decide you don’t want to come back that is of course absolutely fine and we will fully understand. However if you feel at all interested I would urge you to come along and see what you think and how you feel.

On the other hand, if you feel completely up for a challenge and want to do something different, meet new people and make new friends in a new women’s community, make a point or even just do some dancing for fun-brilliant! ALL ARE WELCOME!

Here are the dates – all will be in Belfast. It’s good if you can make them all, but if you can’t and you really want to do it, please do let us know and I’m sure we can work something out.

October:
Mon 18      6.00pm – 9.00pm
Tues 19      6.00pm – 9.00pm
Wed 20      6.00pm – 9.00pm
Thurs 21     6.00pm – 9.00pm
Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th: PERFORMANCE 7.30pm – 10.30pm

That’s four rehearsals and three performances.

If you are at all interested, please e-mail Louise Brodie louise@nicgreen.org.uk She will give you any further necessary details, however if you are still not sure and you want to talk to me, you can get my number/email address from her. Please do not hesitate to call me!

Thank-You for reading. I hope to hear from many of you in the near future.

Best wishes,
Nic Green.

Trilogy reflection

Trilogy finished over a week ago now and it has taken me that long to write about it coherently enough to post here. I had a busy week catching up on real life, but I was also busy trying to unpack all my thoughts on Trilogy that have been stacked on top of each other inside my brain for the last week or so.

I volunteered for Trilogy for lots of reasons – I like being onstage, I wanted to challenge myself to be onstage naked and I wanted to be involved in this life-affirming feminist performance. It became about more than the performance though because so much of the experience happened off-stage. Our dance lasted less than 10 minutes each night but we had four three-hour rehearsals to prepare for it. These sessions were more than just dance rehearsals; they gave us an opportunity to get to know each other and to figure out what had drawn us to this project in the first place. It was a chance met other brave women and maybe find another way of looking at the world.

And it did change people. All week, when we sat down to talk about how we were feeling on that particular day, women talked about the revelations they had had since starting the process and the way it was changing how they saw the world. I didn’t feel changed. My biggest revelation was that I was surprised how easy it was to dance naked once you got over the initial shock.

Then on the Friday night, I saw the show and something shifted for me. I was really hyper after the performance, I wanted to talk to everyone about everything, I was excited and giddy.

Troligy is a very feminist play. Part One begins with some quotes from The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer and ends with that naked, celebratory dance by women who aren’t embarrassed or ashamed by their bodies or the ways they jiggle! Part Two is a reaction to Town Bloody Hall – a debate in 1971 between leading feminists and famous misogynist Norman Mailer. They play lots of clips from the recording of the debate and I loved the passion that was displayed by those women from long ago. What was going on onstage in the present was also wonderful. There was lots of beautiful movement sections, and some really moving monologues. The third part is an introduction to Make Your Own Herstory, a web-based project that is taking feminism into the future.

This wonderful feminist play made me feel that all my thoughts on feminism aren’t out-dated and out-of-step with the world around me, that there are other people who feel the same way, that are looking for a community and a way to move things forward. And that made me happy. At one point, my over-whelming thought was ‘I love theatre!’. It just bubbled up in me and made me grin. I felt happy to be there experiencing this wonderful work that these people had spent so much time and care into creating. I felt lucky to be there to see the work, and lucky to have experience working with the people onstage and be involved, in a very small way, in creating it.

The next day I felt like Trilogy had started me on some sort of journey. I’m not sure where it’s going to lead but I feel like it’s going to be more of a creative journey than a purely feminist one and I’m really interested to see where I end up.

My Trilogy experience wasn’t “life-changing” in some big, dramatic way, but I think that week did change me. Since then, throughout the last week, I have had moments when I feel like I can do anything I want with my life, that there’s nothing stopping me having the life I want. Nic talked about the play having an effect on those we saw it, and that it would go on to cause ripples in the wider community. I hope that’s true but I think for the women who took part, it will have a slightly bigger effect. I feel like Nic has lit a power-keg under each of us; we don’t know yet how long the fuse is or how much gun-powder is loaded but eventually there are going to be lots of explosions from all these wonderful women.

If you would like to experience it all yourself, and if you happen to be in Belfast, you can! Trilogy is on at the Waterfront as part of the Belfast Festival and they are looking for volunteers. More details here.

Other stuff to read

It’s going to be Saturday evening before I finish writing about Trilogy so I will send you elsewhere to read other things!

Like this article in The Irish Times“From theatre virgin to grumbling veteran”
It’s a month old but I only found it this week, when I was looking for something else Fringe related. It’s a view of the Fringe from an artist putting on their very first theatre production. It’s a little bit of a fairy-tale (though I’m sure a hell of a lot of hard-work was involved as well!) and goes to show that anything is possible with the Fringe!

This evening I am going to “see” The Smile Off Your Face. I’m looking forward to it but I’m also a little bit nervous. Audience members are blind-folded and put into a wheel-chair! I’ll either love it or hate it.