Last term I had a class on Irish Playwrights Since the 60s and for my final essay, I wrote about Irish translations of Russian literature. There’s been quite a few of them! Lots of Chekhov – Brian Friel and Frank McGuinness both translated Three Sisters, Frank McGuinness also translated Uncle Vanya and Thomas Kilroy moved The Seagull from provincial Russia to the West of Ireland – and a few novels have been adapted for the stage as well – most recently Tom Murphy’s Last Days of the Reluctant Tyrant and Enda Walsh’s Delirium. My essay didn’t really say anything new about all this, just that it happens a lot, with various amounts of success and for lots of different reasons.
Roddy Doyle’s The Government Inspector, currently running at the Abbey, is yet another example of an Irish version of a Russian play. They’re everywhere! (I had a mild hiccup in my research – for about three weeks I was convinced Ibsen was Russian, probably because it suited my topic – there are lots of translations of Ibsen plays. He’s actually Norwegian.) The Government Inspector looks like a fun adaptation and I am going to try and see it before I head back to Galway in January.
I really enjoyed the Irish Playwrights since the 60s class. Each week we were assigned a playwright and could read any play by that person. Then everyone would present their play to the rest of the class and we would discuss them individually and as a body of work. I came across playwrights I had never heard of and was exposed to a huge range of plays over the twelve week term. It was great to talk about the plays and heard other people’s opinions on them. It was a very laid back, chatty sort of a class. It also gave me a great grounding in Irish playwrights which is one of the things I felt I missed out on by doing my degree in England. Reading so many plays was also really helpful for the playwriting class that I also took this term. The two classes feed into each other by forcing me to look at the plays both as a reader and a writer and I found that really useful.
There are a few great shows happening at this week and next at the Project in Dublin.
Today you have two chances to see Six Characters in Search of an Author by Dublin Youth Theatre, directed by Jason Byrne, at 2.30 and 8.15pm. It sounds like it is very loosely based on the Pirandello play of the same name but it also sounds like a lot of fun – youth theatre shows usually are! And it’s got a great review on Meg.ie
Upstairs in the Project, there’s another re-interruptation of an old play with Siren Productions of The Making of Tis Pity She’s a Whore. It sounds like a really interesting project – combining live action and film scenes together. I saw The Lulu House during the Dublin Theatre Festival, which was also directed by Selina Cartmell and also used technology in interesting ways. I didn’t love it but I did find it enjoyable and interesting.
There’s a great article about the play and the use of technology in theatre in general in the Irish Times.
It’s on until December 17th.
And next week there is TEXT | MESSAGES where “Nine artists will present 160 lines of a Shakespeare play, using two or more actors, in no more than 20 minutes.”
It’s over three nights (Tue 13 – Thur 15) with different pieces being presented each night, and it’s only €5!
The first term of my MA is over. I still have one assignment left to hand in but essentially term is over and the Christmas holidays have started. It’s a bit of shock that the first term is over already but to be honest, I was a bit shocked to actually find myself doing the MA way back in September. I remember sitting in the Bank of Ireland theatre at the course induction meeting, hearing about the classes we would be taking throughout the year, and feeling surprised and amazed that I was actually there – I was actually doing this. This was despite, or maybe because of, the months of planning that brought me me there. I spent about nine months thinking about doing the MA before I actually applied. I liked the sound of the course and spent time writing my personal statement and gathering up all my supporting documents. I went through the checklist on Student Finance about six times to make sure that I really would be entitled to a grant, I did my sums wondering if I could afford it. I was amazed I actually made it happen after thinking about it for so long!
Once I got there, I had to get my head around the fact that I was back in college again. I thought it would be easy to get used to – after all, I’d done it before and this time I wasn’t even leaving the country. I was surprised how much I missed my life in Dublin, especially during the first few weeks in Galway. When I headed to London to do my BA, I was unemployed and living at home with my parents and not very happy with my lift. I had more to give up this time. I liked living in Dublin, I worked with people whose company I enjoyed, I had a job where I was liked and respected and where I was earning good money. I had friends in Dublin and my own little flat that I adored. And I turned that comfortable, enjoyable life upside down because I liked the idea of studying theatre again! There were times during those first few weeks when I wondered if I had made a terrible mistake! It’s hard to get used to not having any money (to be honest, I still struggle with that one some days!) and getting used to living in a house share is tricky too! Being forced to manage your own time after three years as an office drone isn’t easy; neither is trying to remember how to write essays and what is expected of you. To anyone thinking about returning to study, I would recommend writing out a list of all the reasons why you are doing it and what you hope to get out of it – it will be useful on the dark days when you wonder what the hell you were thinking and why you ever thought this was a good idea in the first place!
Thankfully, the risk paid off. I am really enjoying the course – I had great classes this year, I loved being back in a physical drama class again and devising little pieces of theatre, I liked reading plays and writing plays and talking about theatre, and going to see shows and discussing them afterwards with my classmates. I am also enjoying being a student again – I think it suits me! I have wonderful classmates who I am going to miss over the Christmas break and I’m looking forward to next term already. I have another physical drama class and I’m also doing a class in reviewing which means going to see something in the Town Hall Theatre every week and then writing! The class will be a writing workshop where everybody reads everyone else’s work and offers their opinions on it! Scary but useful, I think. I may throw a few of the reviews up here if they’re any good! So it’s worked out. I like my course, I like my classmates, I’m getting used to being a broke student again and I’m starting to like my life in Galway. Most days I love it and feel lucky and privileges and happy with the way my life is going. If nothing else the course has confirmed for me that working in the theatre is what I want to do.