Interview With Tom Creed

February 24, 2011

MIMIC, a one man play, written,  composed and performed by Ray Scannell at a grand piano,  returns to Dublin after a hugely succesful turn at The Dublin Fringe Festival in 2008. It tells the story of a boy called Julian Nearey who grows up in 1980s Ireland, in a very traditional Irish household dominated by religion. He discovers his talent for being a mimic and entertains everybody with his impressions of Morrissey and Columbo before it takes a more sinister turn, involving celebrity culture and plastic surgery, taking Julian away from home before eventually bringing him back again.

Director Tom Creed has had a terrific year, helming Absolut Fringe highlight Berlin Love Tour, Broken Croi/Heart Briste( a hit from the previous years fringe) and Barry McGovern in Watt, which enjoyed a week-long run at the Public Theatre in New York back in January. He speaks here to Caomhan Keane about how the show has become more prophetic with each staging,  how he feels Irish theatre can progress and just what they put in the Barry’s tea to make Cork such a breeding ground for theatre talent.

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In 1998 Tracey Emin presented her work, My Bed, a ‘does what it says on the tin’ style art installation that represented the suicidal depression brought about by relationship difficulties. Edwina Casey tries for a similar result with I Dreamt Tom Stoppard’s Email Address, Lydia Pryor’s eulogy to her recently deceased father, the actor Roger Pryor. Following Lydia as she repeats her morning routine over and over it is an immersive, often infuriating work, that is beautiful but often banal, as simple as it is scrupulous, which can be utterly engaging yet exultingly erudite, an effective, defective work that is ultimately affecting.

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There’s a laugh a minute contained within Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage, which runs at the Gate Theatre until the end of March. While not the worst thing in the world it means that when all is said and done anything the play might have to say about the struggle between ones intellect and ones instinct, the battle of the sexes and the ruinous effect of its remnants-the children- is swept up in the gales of laughter.

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Garry Hynes Interview

February 21, 2011

On January 27th, 2011 Druid’s The Cripple of Inishmaan began one of the longest tours by an Irish theatre company in decades with a major five-month coast-to-coast tour of the US and Ireland, including US stops in Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Haven, Washington DC, and Philadelphia and Irish stops in Roscommon, Dublin and Galway, where the final performance of this extensive tour will  come to the island of Inis Meáin itself, for the first time ever.

The Cripple of Inismaan, is about a cripple called Billy Claven, living on Inishmaan. He’s desperate to get away from the poverty and monotiny of island life and sees his chance when he hears that there is an American filmmaker who is coming to the neighboring island to make a movie about the island life. So he decides he’s going to have a shot to be in the film. To everyones surprise, he gets his shot.

Tony Award winning director Garry Hynes(the first ever female to receive the award) Garry Hynes talks here to Caomhan Keane about  the play’s appeal, the islands and about who she considers to be a forgotten “Irish” playwrite.

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An inability to talk is a common theme expressed on the Irish stage of late. From the Mark O Halloran double bill The Head of Red of Brien/Mary Motorerhead at Bewley’s Cafe Theatre to The God of Carnage at the Gate it is also central to this hangover from the Absolut Fringe Festival, Connected written and performed by Will Irvine & Karl Quinn. Ably acted and physically engaging it says nothing interesting about the new ways mankind have found to (not) communicate with one another but, like Celebrity before it, it is an entertaining, if empty, evening at the theatre.

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Love & Madness were here this time last year presenting a stripped down and hoodie friendly production of Romeo and Juliet. However bad that was, it can’t contend with their insipid Richard The Third. Arriving sans its London stars, Sadie Frost and Carl Prekopp or any sense of time, place, emotion or atmosphere. It’s not badly acted, its not acted at all. Set in the corporate world, but never clarified as to why our actors -or reciters- appear on stage in suits, suspenders and ties, double up nebulously and speak without any passion or appreciation for the text. Directed by Ben Kidd each scene meanders aimlessly into the next, dragging on and on with so sense of destination, and in spite of having seen this play twice already in the past 12 months I was unsure of what was going on a lot of the time.

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Donna Dent Interview

February 21, 2011

Having struck gold with the cut throat callousness of Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of de Laclos’ Les Liaisons Dangerous in March last year, Michael Colgan has decided to do it all over again, this time with his translation of Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage. A comedy of (no) manners, it concerns two sets of parents who meet up to discuss the events of the previous day, when one child belted the other in the face and broke his two incisors. Coffee and tarts turns to bitching and retching as the parents behavior disintegrates over one parents instance that a ‘sincere apology’ is called for while the father of the ‘savage’ child, a lawyer, insists he would never mean it. Ideologies and snobbery’s collide as facades fade and true selves are revealed. One of the shows four stars Donna Dent (the others being Owen Roe, Ardal O Hanlon and Maura Tierney aka Abby Lockheart on ER) speaks here to Caomhan Keane about the plays allure and her desire to lamp anyone who crosses her child.

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The Field @ The Olympia

February 4, 2011

It would appear that we Irish have become so enamored with taking the helping hands of our international neighbors that we are willing to do so without putting any thought into how best to use them. With the IMF bailout still ringing in our wallets the past twelve months has also seen Stockard Channing, Harris Yulin and Alan Rickman prop up the theatrical box office with much fanfare and varying results. Now Brian Dennehy’s in town taking on the Bull McCabe in Joe Dowling’s production of The Field at the Olympia Theatre. But just how much bang will you get for you buck seeing an American actor with an American accent playing one of the greatest-and most xenophobic roles in the Irish theatrical cannon?

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Having survived both the Nazi and Stasi regimes while living her life openly as a transvestite, it is no wonder that one character refers to Lothar Berfelde aka Charlotte von Mahlsdorf as ” the most singular, eccentric individual the Cold War ever birthed “. Her home in East Berlin acted as a safe haven for relics of a bygone era (which she opened to the public as a museum), as well as to the driven underground gay scene who flocked to a perfectly preserved gay bar in her basement during the 1960s. Piquing the interest of playwright Doug Wright, who summed her story up as “a slam dunk (grant) proposal”; he enshrined Charlotte’s memory in this Pulitzer Prize winning piece, a questionable valentine to an undoubted enigma.
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2009’s Spirit of the Fringe winners The Company have revived their Joycieian fable As You Are Now, So Once Were We at the Peacock Theatre. Recipient of that same festival’s Best Production award in 2010 it is energetic, entertaining and aesthetically pleasing-if a little opaque.

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