Live Collision 2014

LiveCollision Live Collision, the international live art festival, is on in Dublin until Saturday and there’s lots of fantastic things happening over the next few days.

Things like Dial Ulrike and Eamon Compliant by Blast Theory. My first job after university was with Blast Theory, working as a intern on Day of the Figurines in the Royal Festival Hall in London. It was a game played by text message and myself and the other game operators looked after the model town and keep it up-to-date, showing where everyone was and what was happening. It ran for 24 days – each day was an hour in the life of the game. It was an interesting first job, and they were lovely people to work with.

Dial Ulrike and Eamon Compliant sounds very different to Day of the Figurines. (And to be fair, generally all of Blast Theory’s work is very different to what has gone before.) This time “the game” takes place down the line of your mobile phone and sounds like a live action “Choose Your Own Adventure”. It’s free and running until April 27th.

There’s an interesting double bill tonight – Veronica Dyas’ This Is My Body and When We Were Birds by Anna Furse. The first piece seems to be very much about Dublin and the state the city and country is in right now, while the second is more about our place in the wider world. Tickets for both are €12/15.

I also really like the sound of Inspiration Exchange, presented by Third Angel and happening in the foyer of Project Arts Centre tomorrow (Friday, April 25) at 3-6pm and the Study Room Boxes which you can borrow from The Library Project in Temple Bar. There’s also the closing night Live Art Party which will include a summation from the Inspiration Exchange, along with other performances. All of these events are free, as is a new durational performance piece by Amanda Coogan I’ll sing you a song from around the town which is on in Project Cube on Saturday, 4-8pm.

If none of these tickle your fancy, have a look at the other performances on the Live Collision site or book through Project Arts Centre. I’d love to hear what you saw and what you thought of it!

Volunteers Wanted

I love volunteering – even if I’ve had second thoughts, I’m always glad that I did it. Any organisation worth their salt will make you feel good about donating your time for free, but in my experience you get more than you give by experiencing new things and meeting new people. Once you’ve committed your time as a volunteer, you are more likely to turn up than you would as a regular punter. You see events that you would never have picked out of the festival programme yourself, and you see them for free! You end up being part of the community and part of the event, and it’s fun.

A few organisations currently looking for volunteers are:

Journey to the End of the Night, which is part of the Darklight Festival. I’ve written a post about this city-wide game of tag. They are mostly looking for chasers – people who are enthusiastic about spending a Saturday night running around, chasing after players and scaring them senseless, but they might also be looking for volunteers to help out at the various check-points. This is a more sedate way to get involved and enjoy the general crazyness without too much running around!
To volunteer or for more information, email journeydublin@gmail.com

Live Collision is also happening this week, 23rd – 26 April. This is a live art festival based in and around Project Arts Centre. The line-up looks incredible, a great mix of international theatre practitioners and Irish artists – and I am gutted that I’m away this week and missing it all! All the details for volunteering are on the Theatre Forum Jobs Board.

Dublin Dance Festival are also looking for volunteers. This festival takes place between the 20th and 31st May and they are looking for volunteers to help out in lots of different areas. It’s the 10th year of the Dublin Dance Festival and they have a very exciting programme to celebrate. There is an application form on their website and the closing date for applications is Wednesday April 23. All the information is here.

Mark Ravenhill in conversation

I was lucky enough to be in the audience at the Royal Irish Academy when Mark Ravenhill came to speak in Dublin last month. The event was organised by Dublin Theatre Festival and Theatre Forum and the interview is now available on YouTube. Ravenhill was very open about his own career and the challenges facing artists today. He also gave some great tips on playwriting.

He recently wrote a libretto for the Norwegian National Opera (and admits that he had to ask the stupid question and make sure he wasn’t expected to write it in Norwegian) and says that in opera, the writing has to be pared back – “every single vowel sound has to earn its right to be there”. Looking back on his own plays afterwards, he felt they were over-written because he’d got into the habit of interrogating every word in the text.

He also talks about working with the RSC on a version of Brecht’s A Life of Galileo. The very start of the play deals with the tension between the art of science and doing work to pay the rent. This is a topic that has interested and agitated Ravenhill in the past, as seen in his speech at the opening of last year’s Edinburgh Festival. He talks about how the arts are valued economically, and the different ways that artists have to justify themselves to governments and other funding bodies. He recognises that the cost of being a human being has gone up year after year, making it more difficult to take time to make work that you might not get paid for.

Talking about his own career, he says that he is best known as a playwright because it is what people pay him to do. At the beginning of his career he wrote things because he wanted something to perform or direct himself. He says he would like to do more directing, but does feel that he’s very good at it, mostly because he hasn’t done it enough. Directing is something that you have to be allowed to do, you need resources to get good at it. Writing, on the other hand, you can do on your own at the kitchen table.

His advice to playwrights included the idea of writing the first draft very quickly, as if you were improvising on the page. He also said to write about things that you don’t have the answer to. He says that Brecht gives his characters great ethical choices. He criticises post-modernism because it does away with ethics, and a sense of good or bad, right or wrong. We have an ethical responsibility to attempt to make connections. It’s too bleak to say nothing is connected and everything is random.

Dr. Emilie Pine is a great interviewer and there’s some good questions from the audience at the end. Definitely worth a watch if you have an hour to fill over the long weekend!