Round-up of general stuff

WallflowerWallflower and Dublin Theatre Festival
The Dublin Theatre Festival is up and running, and while the programme isn’t as intimidatingly huge as the Fringe Festival there is still lots to see. There’s great new work from Irish companies like Pan Pan, Rough Magic, Rise Productions and Thisispopbaby. As well as great international work from Britain, France, Belguim and Denmark.

Last Thursday I saw Wallflower by Manchester based company Quarantine. In this show, the performers are trying to remember every dance they ever danced. Each dance is logged and as of last week, they had danced over 800 dances at an average of 22 dances an hour. It’s a show about memory and dancing and how a person changes. There are lots of personal stories mixed in with the dances and the dances they remembered are different every night. I really enjoyed it. I was lucky enough to see it again on Friday night as a volunteer and it was really interest to see what stays the same for each show, and how it is structured and shaped.

I also saw The Night Alive on Saturday night which is dark and funny and feels very Irish.

Dead Like Me

DeadLikeMe
I was delighted to find Dead Like Me on Netflix when I joined a couple of month ago. I just finished re-watching it last week and enjoyed it immensely. It’s about an 18-year old girl called George who dies and becomes a grim-reaper. She’s having a hard time letting go of her old life, and accepting that she’s dead but still has a job to do. She has a bunch of grim-reaper co-workers and a stern but kindly boss played by Mandy Patinkin who sometimes wears excellent cardigans.

Rube
Mandy Patinkin as Rube

George is wonderfully grumpy and understandably pissed off with the world. She’s also probably the only inner monologue/narrator on tv that I haven’t found incredibly irritating after about three episodes.

It’s created by Bryan Fuller who also wrote Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies and is currently working on a show called Hannibal. It’s funny and sad and deals with grief and loss and trying to figure out your place in the world. When I first watched it I had recently finished college for the first time, and felt a kinship with George as she tried to figure out her new life. Ten years later not much has changed; I’m still trying to work out what I want to be when I grow up and wondering if it’s better to follow the path or bend the rules. I still want to eat breakfast in Der Waffle Haus. I enjoyed it just as much the second time around and recommend it highly. It’s my kind of show – funny, dark and just the right amount of heart-warming.

March for Choice

I’ve already written about a bit about this already but the March itself was truly magnificent. The speakers were angry and fierce and informative and moving. The sun shone and the crowds were massive. It was the top item on RTE news that night, which is a first and something to be celebrated. It is so galvinishing to be part of something that big and that joyful. We need to keep up the momentum as the General Election gets closer and talk to every politician possible about this issue. Tell your TD!

There’s also a very nice write-up by Lynn Enright over on The Pool.

March for Choice

MarchForChoiceIn an ideal world, every conception would result in a healthy baby, born to parents who want them and are able to love them and provide them with all the emotional and financial support they need. That would be delightful. Sadly we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world of rape and incest and fatal foetal abnormalities, of broken condoms and missed pills and human error. And so we need abortion.

Bringing up a child isn’t easy and if a pregnant woman knows that having a child is not the right thing for her or her potential offspring, then she should be able to choose to end the pregnancy. We live at a time when safe, medical abortion is possible and it is shameful that the Irish government deny women that choice. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Amnesty International believes that reproductive rights are human rights. The United Nations’ Human Rights Treaty classifies a lack of access to abortion as torture. This is the country we’re living in – a supposedly civilised Western country that still tortures women. On Saturday we’ll be marching to end torture.

The first March for Choice was on a bright, cold day in 2012. I was back in Dublin after a year studying in Galway and settling back into the city again. I was excited. We’d got there early and were close enough to see and hear the speakers. The long train of people headed off in the sunshine, chanting and chatting. It felt good humoured, almost joyful. It felt like anything was possible, look at us – there’s so many of us, they can’t ignore us all, this is going to change things! It was a good day.

A few months later, in the kitchen making breakfast, I heard Savita Halappanavar’s story on the radio for the first time. I felt fuelled by rage as I power-walked into work that morning. How could such a thing be allowed to happen? There was a candle lit vigil held near the Dail that night and another March at the weekend. It felt like we were on the streets a lot that winter, standing in the cold with candles, chanting Never Again. I remember the cold damp coming up through my feet as we stood on Merrion Square and shouted at the Dail. It didn’t feel joyful. It felt angry and sad.

We kept shouting and kept shouting with a clear request – legislate for the 20-year-old X case. In this case a suicidal rape victim was granted an abortion because her life was at risk, but that precedent had not been put into law. The following August there were more protests outside the Dail as that piece of legislation was being debated. There was “Go Back to Craggy Island” chants and holy water thrown and the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill came into being.

Within the year we saw how inadequate and unfit for purpose this bill. Ms Y arrived in Ireland seeking asylum and discovered she was pregnant as a result of rape. The new Bill was supposed to protect women like her. It’s purpose was to allow a woman to obtain an abortion when her life is in danger, in the case of illness or as a risk of suicide. Like Savita before her, Ms Y asked for an abortion and was denied. At 26-weeks pregnant, she went on hunger strike and the State ended her pregnancy with a C-section.

A doctor who performs an illegal abortion is liable for 14 years in prison. That’s not an old leftover law from decades ago – it was introduced in 2013, tacked on to the end of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. It replaced sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 Act which criminalised attempted or actual procurement of miscarriage, and assisting such procurement. Just before Christmas 2014, doctors were afraid to take a woman off life support because she was pregnant. It required a high court ruling to make the decision. Doctors are afraid of making a decision that puts them on the wrong side of the law, even when that decision is in the best interest of their patient.

The 8th Amendment states “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

There are a lot of insulting things about women written into the Irish Constitution. There’s the whole, awful “women in the home” section of Article 41, but the 8th Amendment is the only part of it that is directly responsible for women dying. Putting the right to life of the unborn on equal (almost greater) footing as the woman carrying that potential life has caused women to die. That’s why we need to get rid of the 8th Amendment.

Politicians are now being called on to answer questions about abortion and repealing the 8th Amendment. They often dodge the question by saying they won’t get rid of it without a replacement. Here’s my suggestion for a replacement:
“The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn as long as the mother feels able to care for that life because really it’s her decision and the State trusts women to be able to make this decision for themselves.”

I think that would bring us a little bit closer to an ideal world.

You can sign the petition to Repeal the 8th here and sign up for the Abortion Rights Campaign. The 4th Annual March for Choice starts from the Garden of Remembrance at 1.30pm on Saturday 26th September.

Tiger Dublin Fringe 2015: The most wonderful time of the year!

TigerFringe15It’s almost Fringe Time!! The box office is already open on Lower Ormond Quay, the Spiegeltent is going up in Wolfe Tone Square and the first previews start tomorrow! It’s all so exciting!

In case you can’t tell, I’m a bit of Fringe fan. I love that I can go see four or five shows in one day. (Time and money permitting, of course. Generally I’m either working so I’ve no time, or not working which means I’ve no money. But in an ideal world….) I love that I get to go to venues I’ve never visited before or places I didn’t know existing. I love the wide variety of shows on offer. There’s everything from late-night cabaret shows in the Spiegeltent to small, intimate lunch times shows in The Cube and New Theatre. There’s comedy and music and dance, as well as lots of theatre and the 21st birthday celebrations. There really are lots of lovely things to suit everyone’s taste.

If you are feeling over-whelmed by all the choice, Chis McCormack does a good round-up of festival over on Broadway World or you can go and talk to the lovely box office staff. They know their stuff and want you to see good art!

FringeBoxOffice2

Here’s some things that I am looking forward to over the next couple of weeks. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means. There’s so much on and I want to see all of it! I deliberately limited myself to six. I tried five, but I wanted one more!

Beckett in the City: The Women Speak
Company SJ have been doing wonderful productions of Beckett’s short plays over the last couple of years and this year they are focusing on the women. I struggle with the longer Beckett pieces so the short plays suit me, and it’s a chance to get into a building that I walked past on my way to work for years and years. The production is taking place in the historic Halla Banba on Parnell Square.

Middle of the Road by Bourgeois & Maurice and David Hoyle is my pick for the Spiegeltent because I have been faraway fans of Bourgeois & Maurice for many years and am really looking forward to seeing them live in Dublin instead of on YouTube!

LovelyRose

I want to see Oh! What a Lovely Rose! because of that great title and the wonderful image of Erica Murray that accompanies it. I also think the crazy tradition of the Rose of Tralee is something worth exploring.

Mother You is another show in a disused building. It’s sounds like it’s somewhere between an installation, an immersive theatre piece and a promenade performance and will incorporate lots of different art forms. I’m looking forward to it because it sounds a bit different and a bit odd. It also explores issues of community which I’m very interested in.

It Folds is a collaboration between dance company junk ensemble and theatre-makers Broken Talkers. They are both interesting and innovative companies so I’m interested in seeing what they come up with. My theme for Fringe seems to be “weird stuff”, and I’m ok with that.

Harder Faster More is about “the intertwined stories of modern women in a world where sex sells” and is written by Stewart Parker Award-nominee Tracy Martin. I heard good things about it when it was part of Theatre Machine at the beginning of the year. I’ve heard good things about Red Bear Production generally but haven’t had a chance to check them out yet so I’m looking forward to this.

Let the festival commence!