Weekly Round Up: 25/11/2015

1. Corn Exchange’s Through A Glass Darkly
I went to see Through A Glass Darkly last night, knowing next to nothing about Ingmar Bergman. It didn’t matter, I still really enjoyed it. Wonderful performances and a dark, creepy story. I wondered how a film adaptation would look onstage, but I found it very theatrical. It still felt like a Corn Exchange show. There was beautiful movement and a precision and clarity to each character and every scene. I also really liked the scene changes, which must be one of the hardest things to adapt from film to stage!
It runs until December 5th and it’s really worth seeing. Tickets available from Project Arts Centre.

2. Elizabeth Gilbert in conversation
Tomorrow (Thursday 26th) I’m going to see Elizabeth Gilbert in conversation with Roisin Ingle in the Liberty Hall, a venue I really like but don’t get the opportunity to visit that often. Gilbert has a new book out called Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear with a brilliant, colourful cover! You might have seen her Ted talk about the genie in the house, which I think explores similar territory. It’s a book about how everyone is creative and how we should use that in everyday life. I think, I haven’t read it yet, though I do really like this review in the Irish Times by Anna Carey. I think it will be an interesting evening. There might still be tickets available here.

3. Rough Magic SEEDS Showcase
Rough Magic’s SEEDS is a development programme for writers, composers, directors and designers. The programme lasts two years and at the end, the SEEDS showcase there work. Over the next two weeks, you can see the work of these up-and-coming artists in Project Arts Centre, in three shows and a rehearsed reading.

Anna Bella Eema
24 – 28 November | 8.15pm | Tickets from €11-16
An eerie trailer park epic about a fierce mother-daughter bond spoken and sung by three women.

Enjoy
1 – 5 December | 8.15pm | Tickets from €11 – 16
With an ensemble of ten performers, Enjoy takes you inside the minds of a lost generation of 20-something part-time workers in a comic book café.

Unspoken
3 – 5 December | 6.15pm | Tickets €11/9
An exciting new collaboration between Composer/Sound Designer SEED Danny Forde and choreographer Aisling McCormick. Employing music and dance, Unspoken seeks dialogue amid potential conflict, exploring the body as it divides and unites; provokes and resolves.

Traitor
4 – 5 December | 2.00pm | Admission free, booking advised
What happens when the dream comes true, when a radical, charismatic leader from the left is within reach of government? What compromises does she need to negotiate? Set in 2026 and 2016, Traitor looks at the journey from activism to politics. A rehearsed reading of a new play by Shane Mac an Bhaird.

4. The Women of Hollywood Speak Out
While #WakingTheFeminists has been encouraging Irish theatre makers to speak out about sexism (and new testimonies are being added to the website all the time), this New York Times article was shared all over the place last week – The Women of Hollywood Speak Out. It’s about sexism in Hollywood, as experienced by female executives, writers and directors and lots of people working in tv as well. The stories are similar and shows that it’s not just Ireland and it’s not just theatre. Hopefully speaking out about this ingrained sexism is the first step to dismantling it.

5. Pilates
I’ve been doing pilates in My Wellbeing on Dame Street for the last three months, and really enjoying it. I feels like it’s good for my brain and my body. It makes me feel more connected with my body, more present. It’s a Beginners and Improvers class on Monday evening, which I also like because it’s something to look forward to at the beginning of each week and something to help get me through Mondays. It’s a relaxed, friendly class and it doesn’t feel like you’re working too hard, but I still see myself getting stronger week by week, which I love. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to try pilates. Suzanne is running a mini-term between now and Christmas and you can sign up for three classes for €25.

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Weekly Round Up

1. Waking the Feminists
This was the event of the week so I couldn’t leave it out of the round-up, even though I don’t have anything to say that I haven’t said already. Here are a couple of links to articles that I like.

Fury, apologies, and calls for respect as feminists shake the Irish theatre world, Aoife Barry for the Journal.ie

‘#WakingTheFeminists’ set hearts on fire at the Abbey Theatre, Chris O’Rourke for the Examiner.com

There was also some interesting discussion about the whole thing on the Irish Times Women’s Podcast, which I missed last week. The fact that public meeting isn’t even mentioned shows how fast things moved! Who knows what will have happened by this time next week!


And a reminder to sign the petition if you haven’t all ready done so.

2. The Long Gaze Back
LongGazeBackOn Saturday I went to an event at the Book Festival about The Long Gaze Back. This was a female anthology of short stories, released earlier this year and edited by Sinead Gleeson. I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my Christmas list. (Or maybe my payday list if I can’t wait until Christmas.) The event included readings by Anne Enright and Lisa McInerney and some general discussion about the book and women artists in general. Waking The Feminists also came up. Anne Enright said that Ireland is a different place now because of what happened in the Abbey this week, and she thinks that difference happened because it was a crowd of women standing on stage and speaking out. If it had been one or two women, they could have been torn about, the discussion would have been about their clothes or their hair or the tone of their voice. But it’s not possible to dismiss that crowd of women in the same way.

Anne also spoke at the launch of The Long Gaze Back where she talked about the Field Day anthology which neglected to include any plays by female playwrights. You can hear her speech from that event here.

3. Paris
It would feel remiss not to mention the terrible atrocities that happened in Paris on Friday night but at the same time, I don’t have anything new to say. The people who committed these hateful acts feed on fear and hate, don’t let them win. Hug your loved ones and find joy in your life. When something like this happens, it makes the world feel like a dark, hateful place. We have to work hard to dispeal that feeling; be kind to one another and make the world better in some way, no matter how small. Doing something is better than doing nothing. Donate to Ireland Calaise Refugee Solidarity or Unicef to help those who have fled across countries to escape the terrorism that happened in Paris on Friday night. Or you could volunteer time or money to Focus Ireland, the Simon Community, with the Samaritans. When the world seems really bleak it helps to do something useful.

4. Give Blood
I know not everyone has the time or money to donate. In that case, maybe you could give blood. Of course, not everybody can donate blood either – there are a lot of restrictions. I’m currently on the black list because I am a woman who donated in the last 18 months and we’re struck off for the moment because we might have anaemia! This means it’s even more important for those that can donate, to do it! It only takes at most two hours every three months, it costs nothing but saves lives. It’s a really easy way to do something useful. The people in the clinic are always very nice and you get free crisps and biscuits afterwards.

5. The Gigli Concert
I don’t go to The Gate that often. It’s prices are too high and I’m usually not that interested in their programmed productions (too many dead men!). However, I am really looking forward to The Gigli Concert this week. I didn’t really know anything about Tom Murphy or his work before I went to Galway to study Drama and Theatre. I was there the same year that Druid did DruidMurphy so I learnt lots about Tom Murphy that year. The Gigli Concert was one of his plays that I was most keen to see performed and I was very sorry when I missed it last year. I’ve heard great things about this production, which finishes on Saturday.

#FairPlayForWomen

Last Wednesday the Abbey Theatre announced Waking The Nation, their 2016 season and there were immediately comments being made online about the total lack of gender balance. Only one of the ten playwrights featured is female, and there’s only three female directors. Four days later, the conversation is still continuing on Facebook and Twitter which I think is fantastic. This is not going to go away any time soon. Lian Bell did a sterling job of collecting responses from the theatre community last night (Oct 31) – have a look at her twitter stream here or follow the #WakingTheFeminists tag.

I do plan on writing about it, it’s just taking me a little while to get my thoughts in order. This is a placemarker post with some suggested action! It’s one of things that came up in conversations online – instead of just talking about this injustice, what can we do to make it better? Tanya Dean‘s suggestion was to put your money where your mouth is and see more work by women.

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This is really easy to do because, despite what the Abbey programming might suggest, there are lots of women making great theatre in Ireland right now. As I said in my last post about Feminist Film Festival, I think it’s important to support female artists and because it’s the first of the month, I thought I’d do a short list of work by women on this November.

Foxy, written by Noelle Brown and directed by Oonagh Murphy.
Project Arts Centre, 27 Oct – 7 November

How to Keep an Alien, written by Sonya Kelly and directed by Gina Moxley
Civic Theatre, Tallaght,  6 & 7 November
Axis, Ballymun, 27 Novemnber

Dusk Ahead, created and choreographed by Jessica Kennedy and Megan Kennedy
Project Arts Centre, 6 & 7 November

New Addition:
Wrapped, written an directed by Tracey Martin
Civic Theatre, Tallaght, 10 – 14 November

The Bells Of, written by Barry McEvoy and directed by Louisa Sanfey.
Theatre Upstairs, Nov 10 – 21

Separated at Birth, written by PJ Gallagher, Joanne McNally and Una McKevitt, directed by Una McKevitt
Mill Theatre Dundrum, November 28

Through A Glass Darkly, adapted for the stage by Jenny Worton and directed by Annie Ryan
Project Arts Centre, 12 November – 5 December

It is a very Dublin centric list, though How to Keep an Alien and Separated at Birth are both on tour throughout the country. (Links above will bring you to full list of tour dates.) Please let me know if there’s anything you think should be included.

NewWritingFestFinally, there’s an opportunity to see new writing by men and women during the New Writers Week at the New Theatre, 9 – 14 November. You can enjoy a new play every night at 7.30pm, Monday – Saturday. Three new plays by men and three by women – fancy that!

Girls on Film

FeministFilmFest

Women are under-represented on screen, in general and particularly in active roles, just as they are under-represented in politics and boardrooms. In the top grossing films of 2013, women accounted for 15% of all propagandists, 29% of major characters and 30% of all speaking parts. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media have done studies that show that in crowd scenes, women make up only 17% of the crowd. Women are 51% of the world’s population but they are mostly absent from the world on screen. Eva Wiseman wrote about this is a recent article for the Guardian – Women are everywhere so why are we invisible on film? This is important because wiping women out of the onscreen world is a form of sexism. Making women less visible makes their concerns less important and makes them seem less valuable part of society.

When popular culture shows men being active, making big decisions and saving the world while the women are always waiting to be saved or offering support to the men, it’s easy to assume that men do the heavy lifting while women make the tea. When popular culture is one of the ways we learn how the world works and are our place in it, this message practically acts as propaganda, teaching women to know their place.

This is particularly relevant for children. A lot of the Geena Davis Institute’s research focuses on the things that children are watching. They found that in kids’ films and TV there are three male characters for every female one. Straight away, children are being feed the message that girls are less important than boys.

Even the tv shows or films that do feature women, and congratulate themselves on their diversity, generally feature one woman to every five, six, seven men. This is not an accuarate reflection of the real world. It also means the one woman has the tough job of representing all women. While the seven men can be smart or simple, sensitive or tough, angry, gentle, abrasive, bossy, etc , the one female character tends to be a two-dimensional stereotype. Women aren’t allowed to be nuanced or complicated because they are there to represent an entire gender and that doesn’t allow for subtlety.

One way to avoid these broad-stroke female characters is to put more women behind the camera, in decision-making roles, writing and directing films and tv. Hollywood is a sexist place to work, it’s an industry that clearly sees women as pretty objects to be looked at rather than human beings with ideas, opinions and ambitions. It’s not an easy place to be a woman in charge. And yet they are doing it anyway. There are an increasing number of women getting films made in the mainstream and the less commercial indie sector. Recent big screen examples include Suffragette, written by Abi Morgan and directed by Sarah Gavron, Miss You Already, written by Morwenna Banks and directed by Catherine Hardwicke and Pitch Perfect 2 written by Kay Cannon and directed by Elizabeth Banks.

wftiBut the numbers of films being written and directed by women is still depressingly low and there are many stories about the sexism that women have face while trying to make work for the screen. Women in Film and TV is an organisation that aims to encourage and support women working in this field. It’s a worldwide organisation with a burgeoning Irish branch. It’s a way to help see more diversity on our screens, and hopefully as a result, in life.

Another way to support women making movies is to go and see their work. The second Feminist Film Festival is happening in the New Theatre in Dublin this weekend and you can go and see lots of feature films, shorts and panel discussions. The programme includes the suitably scary horror film The Babadook for Halloween, and the Irish premier of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, a documentary charting the U.S. women’s movement between 1966-1971. All that and the profits will go to charity!

Bram Stoker Festival

Dublin is a busy place; there’s always something going on. Tonight, for instance – Tara Flynn launched her new book in the Gutter Bookshop, Women in Film and TV Ireland held their first members event in the O’Callaghan Hotel on Stephen’s Green and the Panti Bliss documentary Queen of Ireland premiered in the Lighthouse Cinema. It’s one thing choosing not to go to some or all of these wonderful cultural events, but it’s hard not to feel like you’re missing out when you’re away from Dublin.

BramStoker

I’m heading off on my holidays tomorrow, and after the dark, damp weather this week it feels like the perfect time to do with it. I’m looking forward to the sun, sea and sangria even though it means I will be miss the wonderful Bram Stoker Festival which is happening around the city from Friday 23rd – Monday 26th. It looks like my kind of festival. There are lots of free events, including Stokerland in Wolfe Tone Square, a Maser installation in Smithfield Square and the always spectacular Macnas parade on Monday evening. There are also events happening in great venues such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Freemasons Hall.

If I wasn’t going to be in sunny Spain this weekend, I would definitely be booking a ticket for the New Blood night in Project and picking out a spot to watch the Macnas parade.

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!

Irish shows at Edinburgh

One final post about the Edinburgh Festival before it wraps up this weekend. It’s really about after the festival anyway. Here are three Irish shows that are going down a storm in Edinburgh and where you can see them in Ireland.

How to Keep an AlienHow To Keep An Alien is getting rave reviews in Edinburgh, as it did in last year’s Dublin Fringe where it sold out before I got a chance to see it! Sonya Kelly’s show about getting a visa for her Australian girlfriend so she could stay in Ireland has been described as “full of lovely surreal detail and laugh-out-loud wit” and I’m looking forward to seeing it before the end of the year. I have no excuse for missing it again because it will be on all over Ireland in the autumn. There are currently 25 venues in Ireland listed on the Rough Magic website, and one in Paris! Find your nearest venue here.

UnderneathPat Kinevane’s show Underneath has got five star reviews, a Fringe First award and a Total Theatre nomination. Pat is an utterly engaging performer and his shows are a wonderful balance of funny and sad. I haven’t seen Underneath yet, and again that’s something I intend to rectify before the end of the year. It’s touring to Portumna, Cliften, Carrick on Shannon, Dun Laoghaire, Cork, Ennis and Thurles before the end of the year. Full list of tour dates here. If you’ve seen Silent, you know that you will be in for a treat.

And if you haven’t seen Silent, you can fix this by going along to Catherine’s Street Church, Thomas Street on Sept 17th. Tickets are €25.00 euro and all proceeds will go to Sophia Housing to help end homelessness. Tickets are available here. It will be a great evening’s entertainment for a very good cause.

Corn Exchange’s adaptation of Eimear McBride’s award winning novel A Girl is a Half Formed Thing is also having a great run at the Edinburgh Festival. Last week it won the Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Award 2015. As far as I know there isn’t any more Irish dates scheduled at the moment, but you can buy the playscript from Faber here.

Edinburgh or Bust

EdorBustI first became aware of the Edinburgh Fringe about 15 years ago, through a tv show on Channel 4 called “Edinburgh or Bust”. It focused on the comedy festival and followed a number of performers during the led-up to and during their month in Edinburgh. Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt were there with a show called the Arctic Boosh. Simon Munnery was on it. It was the first time I came across Jason Byrne who would later perform regularly at my college during Rag Week and Freshers Week. It made the Fringe look both terrifying and amazing. I wanted to go!

I’ve still never actually been to the festival, either with a show or as a punter but I am still fascinated with the it. I’m not sure I’d cope with the frantic pace, the endless flyering, the huge number of shows to see; not to mention the hills and the Scottish weather.

Bryony Kimmings has some wonderful words of advice for those heading the Edinburgh this August. These include things like do not flyer your own show, don’t see any other shows during the first week and eat your greens! She is in Edinburgh this year with a show about depression called Fake It ’til You Make, which I think sounds great. You can read about the making of it here.

Byrony Kimmings also gave the opening speech for this year’s festival. She talked about what the Festival means to her but also has some great tips for anyone involved in theatre, including advice on making money and making art.

In the Guardian last week, Lyn Gardner talked to artists about the cost of taking a show to the festival and what you gain by doing so. Spoiler – the gain is generally not financial. Despite focusing on the money, it’s a very upbeat article that illustrates why people do it.

FakeIt
Tim Grayburn and Bryony Kimmings in Fake It ‘Til You Make It. Photograph: Richard Davenport

And if you’re looking for some wonderful Irish shows to see in Scotland this August, I recommend Leper and Chip, How to Keep an Alien, Horsey, and Underneath.

Fabulous Marriage Equality Events

There are two lovely Marriage Equality events over the next couple of weeks that I can’t go to because I have a day job now. It’s so unfair – I feel like I’m being discriminated against! Though I suppose it serves me right for being out of the country on the day of the vote.

Most of the time, I’m delighted to have a job. Being self-employed can be hard work and it’s nice letting someone else be the boss for a change. Instead of constantly trying to keep myself motivated and deciding the best way to spend my time and energy, I just turn up and do what I’m told. It’s nice feeling like I accomplished something at the end of the day, just because I went to work. And because I did that, I know there is a pay-cheque coming along very soon. That’s nice too!

But sometimes there are fun things happening in the middle of the day and I’m sad that I’m not my own boss any more. I can’t go but if you can, you should! (Similar to my plea – I can’t vote, but you should!) These are two events that are definitely worth leaving the house for. (This is always a bit of a struggle for me when I’m self-employed. I tend to become a bit of a hermit.)

ELOVEnesesFringe are holding ELOVEneses tomorrow morning, Friday May 8th. This is their usual Elevenses coffee morning with a Marriage Equality twist! As well as hot beverages, delicious cakes and lots of theatre chat, there will be donation buckets and Yes Equality paraphendilia. Fringe Elevenes are always lovely – very welcoming and chatty, this sounds like it will be more of the same and then some!

Next week, Wednesday May 13th, the Abbey Theatre are hosting A Noble Call for Marriage Equality. I’m very sorry to be missing this. It’s at 11am on the Wednesday morning, tickets are free and available on a first come, first served basis from 10am on the day. They are promising actors, playwrights and surprise guests as well as songs from Romeo and Juliet, The Risen People and Alice in Funderland. I think it will be a total love-fest and I hope the Abbey is jam-packed for it.

VoteYesSo if you do find yourself at a loose end on either morning, whether it’s due to unemployment, under-employment, shift work or whatever, do along and have a ball.

And don’t forget to vote on May 22nd!

Live Collision 2015

LiveCollision15I am always very appreciative of festivals who bring international artists to Dublin, especially smaller, more niche performers who generally don’t tour that often. This year’s Live Collision programme is a great mix of Irish and international artists. Visiting artists are also doing workshops or collaborating with Dublin-based performers, which I think is a great way to keep a festival vibrant and meaningful to local artists and audiences. This blog post is late – Live Collision started on Wednesday, so it’s half over at this stage, but there is still lots to enjoy.

There is an Artist Salon workshop on Friday afternoon with UK artists Curious. You have to bring with you some sort of ‘information’ about your body that is invisible to the naked eye. The workshop will involve writing and movement to create work both solo and collaboratively. Tickets are €15/20 and it’s on in Fringe Lab.

There are also lunch time talks taking place in Project on Friday and Saturday. These are public discussions, with questions from the audience. Friday’s theme is We are in Public, with Nic Green and Massive Owl and it’s about artists who create participatory work. Nic Green is part of this year’s festival and also did Trilogy in the Fringe in 2010, which I participated in. Massive Owl are doing an Artist Exchange with three Dublin-based performers as part of Live Collision. Saturday’s panel, We Are Only Human with Francis Fay, Amanda Coogan, Kris Nelson & Vaari Claffey will explore current trends in live art.

Irish artist Amanda Coogan is performing Smoking in Bolero in Meeting House Square on Friday night at 7pm and it’s one of the many free events happening across the festival. Another one is Nic Green‘s Abhann Liffe on Saturday evening. The meeting point for that performance is outside Project and it will take place at low-tide, which will be around 5.15pm.

There is also a performance in the Science Gallery as part of their new exhibition Home/Sick. It’s a live, interactive installation called 97 Years and will happen on Friday and Saturday at 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm. Tickets are €8 and available from the Science Gallery website. It’s nice to see the festival spread across the city.

And of course, there’s the main events of the festival – the double bill performances in Project Cube. On Friday night these are Workshy and 27 and on Saturday you can see Stud and Dickie Beau Unplugged. Tickets are €15/13 which means you’re basically getting two shows for the price of one!

And if none of that tickles your fancy, there’s also a strand called We Are Dancing which includes 27 Club drinks in Project Bar on Friday night and Yes Yes Yes at Mother on Saturday.

So go – enjoy some Live Art! You might find it odd or irritating or inspiring but it’s worth giving it a go – it’s not scary.