General Auditions at the Abbey

The Abbey are doing another round of general auditions next month. To apply, send your CV and headshot to casting.submissions@abbeytheatre.ie before Friday 27th January. Not everyone who applies will get an audition slot but for those that do, auditions will be held the week of February 6. More information (including what’s required in the audition) here.

What Did You See?

Project Arts Centre are starting a monthly Discussion Group on Performance Art called What Did You See? I made it along to a couple of the Performance Reading Groups last year and always found them interesting and informative. I love hearing other people’s ideas about art and theatre.

What Did You See? A Public Discussion Forum for Performing Arts is born out of the Performance Reading Group convened by Willie White and Noelia Ruiz during 2010-2011 in Project Arts Centre.

The aim of What Did You See? is to engage audiences and practitioners in discussion by addressing our experiences of theatrical performances we’ve seen live or in our series of screenings of key international practitioners. Those experiences are unique for each individual –everybody sees something different- and that will be the focus of our discussions.

Taking place once a month, every trimester there will consist of a conversation with practitioners showing their work at Project Arts Centre, a screening & discussion of international work, and a session dedicated to examine a relevant topic related to the performing arts.

THEATREclub presents The Family
THEATREclub presents The Family

The first discussion on Thursday, 2 February is with THEATREclub. Their new play The Family starts in Project this Friday. If you book your tickets before the end of today (January 10) you can get 25% and there’s also the Project Real Deal where tickets are 2 for 1 on January 18.

I think the performance and the discussion will both be worth going to.

Looking forward to 2012

Here are a handful of theatre related things that I am looking forward to this year.

  1. Blue Raincoat’s production of Rhinoceros at the Town Hall Theatre, February 27 – 29
    My MA class did a two-day workshop in corporeal mime with Blue Raincoat last November. I hadn’t heard of the company before that and I had no idea what corporeal mime was. It was an interesting couple of days and based on my basic knowledge Blue Raincoat’s style, I’m very interested to see what they’re like on stage.
  2. Fishamble’s Tiny Play’s for Ireland at Project, March 15 – 31
    Last year Fishamble held a competition looking for three minute plays that said something about Ireland today. They got over 1,700 entries (including one from me)! The winners haven’t been announced yet but the plays that are selected will be performed alongside tiny plays from established writers. I think it will be an interesting evening of snapshots and the audience will walk out of the theatre with their heads full of stories!
  3. Alice in Funderland at the Abbey, 30 March – 12 May
    At this stage, it probably goes without saying that I’m looking forward to this production but I thought I’d say it anyway! The show stays true to the absurd surrealism of Lewis Carroll’s original and I’m delighted that it will on at the Abbey who have the ability to bring the crazy, inventive ideas in the script to full fruition. You don’t need a huge budget to make great theatre, but sometimes it’s nice to have it! This is going to be a great show.
  4. Willie White’s first Dublin Theatre Festival, September 27 – October 14
    Willie White was the Artistic Director of Project Arts Centre for nine years before he became the new Festival Director earlier this year. As you can probably tell from this blog, that Project is very favourite theatre in Dublin. There’s always at least one thing in their programme that I’m dying to see. It’s also more than just a venue as they offered great support to new artists over the last few years with the Project Catalysts and Project Brand New.
  5. The House directed by Annabelle Comyn at the Abbey, 7 June – 14 July
    Annabelle Comyn directed last year’s production of Pygmalion at the Abbey that I loved and I’ve recently discovered Tom Murphy’s plays so I’m interested in seeing this show. Murphy was the first playwright on our list of Irish Playwrights since the 60s and that was my first proper introduction to his work. Before that I’d seen The Last Days of the Reluctant Tyrant but I didn’t really like it. I read The Famine for class (which will be performed as part of Druid’s Murphy cycle later this year) and found it a dark and brutal play. A lot of his work seems to be a bit grim. I also saw the DramSoc’s production of The Morning After Optimism last year, which was a very strange but enjoyable play. Slowly but surely, Tom Murphy is winning me round and I’m looking forward to seeing more of his work.

Best of 2011

This list was going to be a top ten but there were too many performances that tied for 10th place that I couldn’t choose one. I decided to leave it at nine because these all had a little something extra that meant they stayed with me long after I left the theatre (or other site-specific location!)

Here are nine of my favourite theatre experiences this year:

  1. Way back at the beginning of 2011, I was lucky enough to see the work in progress preview of Thisispopbaby‘s Alice in Funderland. It was a musical with vivid characters, great songs and loads of jokes. I loved it. I saw it with a friend who, since then has asked me at least 23 times since then when the full production will take place. When can we go see it again? I was just as eager because there are so many people I want to see this wonderful show. I’m delighted that it has a long run at the Abbey later this year and I will be able to drag lots of people along to enjoy it!
  2. Another show that moved from the Project to the Abbey was The Company‘s As you are now so once were we which was part of the 2010 Fringe Festival and was in the Peacock earlier this year. It’s a bit of a cheat to have it in this year’s favourites but I was delighted to see it again. It was such a joyous piece of theatre and I’m glad it got more than just a week at the Fringe. It toured to LA in June as part of Imagine Ireland and the run even included a performance on Bloomsday!
  3. I’ve mentioned I Am a Homebird (It’s Very Hard) a few times on this blog this year. (The main review is here.) I first saw it in February as part of The Theatre Machine Turns You On, Volume II and then went back to see the full, finished piece later in the year. It was a moving piece of theatre that I loved so much that I wrote a short piece about it for one of my college courses.
  4. Mimic was a one-man show that completely absorbed you in it’s dystopian world. It was a little bit like Forced Entertainment’s Void Story, but was also completely different with music and impressions and little bits of songs.
  5. Because I am likely to get excited about new writing than old, there are very few things on my list by dead playwrights but Pygmalion at the Abbey was excellent. It was performed at the Abbey for the first time this year and it was a lavish production with a flawless cast. Everybody on stage was fantastic, the set was cunning and clever, as well as being beautiful to look at and all these elements worked together to tell a great story. I really enjoyed it.
  6. I saw another play by a dead playwright the same week I saw Pygmalion: Loose canon’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream? The two were very different. Where the Abbey had a cast of sixteen all playing their own part in lavish costumes, on a wonderfully intricate and detailed set, Loose Canon has a cast of five, playing 15 characters on a bare white stage. Both had a very strong cast and both were very enjoyable. Loose Canon also had a lovely dead-pan Puck!
  7. End of the Road was a tour de force of wonderful ideas performed by a fantastically strong cast. I was astounded by the way it made interactive performance look easy.
  8. End of the Road was a Fishamble production, directed by Louise Lowe who was also in charge of a piece of theatre that I’ve already seen on many end of year lists – the heart-breakingly beautiful Laundry. I was nervous about going to see this production; partly because of the subject matter; partly because of the one-on-one nature of the piece and mostly because I’m a coward. I’m so glad I did see it though because it felt important to be a witness a this bleak chapter of Irish history. It was also a wonderful piece of theatre, moving and sad and so immersive that it took a little while to shake it off afterwards. I talked about it with my classmates afterwards; it was a piece of theatre that you wanted to talk about. It’s a wonderful example of the power and the ability of theatre to change things.
  9. I only managed to see the last hour and a half of THEATREclub’s epic six hour omnibus episode of Twenty Ten and I wish I’d seen more. I did see the first hour the previous Saturday but I suspect it gave a much better sense of the crazy ups and downs of 2010 when seen all in one go. It was an ambitious project well executed.