Tag Archives: 2011

Literature Death Match @ The Workman’s Club

I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but between the jigs and the reels, or work, college and family schtuff, I’m only getting ’round to it now.

Anyways, after missing Literary Death Match in June, I made sure to attend the next installment. Held, in the Workman’s Club, the match was less of the geeky and more of the giggles and silliness.

Hosted with much clever humour and lots of aforementioned silliness, by Todd Zuniga, the death match involves three judges – Trevor Byrne, Cathy Davey and Jarleth Regan this time round, and four relatively unheard of, yet very talented, writers – Sarah Maria Griffin, Simon Ashe-Browne, Philip O’Connor and Noel Sweeney. Oddly enough the two poets of the group – Griffin and Sweeney were not pitted against each other – and were instead arranged to contend with two prose writers – Ashe-Browne and O’Connor. This arrangement was left to a bizarre method of throwing pieces of paper bearing each writers names into the audience and letting the audience shout up the names they had caught.

The battles themselves involved each writer reading/performing their work, and then handing over to the judges to decide who should go through to the final. It seems a little unfair to think that writers should be judged on their performance, but actually the judges were very careful not to put too much weight on their performance and did instead judge on their work.

The night was full of laughs and general silliness, including a battle to the death between the two finalists – Griffin and Ashe-Brown, which involved scrunched up paper and a basketball ring.

Griffin did emerge triumphant in the end, and I think that from the get-go the entire audience was behind her. Her performance was very captivating, but her poetry (and I don’t even like poetry that much) was fantastic: funny, quirky and giving great observations on the trials of love. See for yourself.

In all, I’m looking forward to the next death match, whenever that is. I giggled my way through the night and got to experience new writers with fresh material and engaging performances. Clickedy click to see when the next event is on.


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Review: All That Fall at The Project Arts Centre

The multitude of bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling dim, a wall of spotlights lights up slowly, and the audience relaxes in their custom made rocking chairs complete with skull embossed cushions. The story of Maddy Rooney begins…

Last night’s performance of All That Fall was probably the most unusual piece of theatre I’ve ever been to, not in terms of content, but in terms of its method of deliverance. As I’ve previously mentioned, All That Fall is Beckett’s first ever radio play, and in my opinion, it’s probably one of his most accessible plays. Simply put, it tells the story of Mrs. Rooney who meets a variety of characters along her journey to meet her husband off the train. However, this piece of theatre is told only through the medium of sound. The actors involved have long since finished their performances in recording studios, and the performance comes to the audience through the speakers located around the theatre.

Pan Pan have really tried something new with their production, and the lighting and sound effects were really spectacular, particularly in the closing scenes – that bit really freaked the beans outta me!!

Putting together a production that relies solely on lighting and audio is a massive challenge for any theatre company, and I reckon Pan Pan had it pretty well taken care of. I do feel like the actual recording they played could have done with upping the ante in terms of the ways in which the actors delivered their lines. Nowadays audiences are used to having both audio and visual mediums to entertain them in a theatre production and when there isn’t a physical actor on the stage in front of you, it becomes difficult to tune yourself in completely to the audio in order to fully follow a story.

I spoke to a friend afterwards about this, and he put it pretty well – “they underplayed it in parts”. I think to engage an audience fully when relying on just one main medium – audio, this medium needs to compensate for the lack of the actors’ physical presence, for example stressing words stronger than you would usually or varying the tone a bit more.

My friend will kill me for publishing this, but she fell asleep during it and I spoke to another person afterwards who took a bit of a snooze also. I found closing my eyes helped me to really concentrate on the actors’ voices. I think this was because during theatre productions I’m used to following the actors around the stage with my eyes, so I was looking around too much and not listening to the audio. However, closing your eyes in a darkened room, whilst well settled into a comfy chair is likely to lead you off into the land of nod!

It was also very weird not clapping for a troupe of actors  taking their bows at the close of the performance … I think the audience didn’t really know what to do at the end and just stood around awkwardly and then gradually drifted out.

I’ve seen two of Pan Pan’s other productions, and this one came across as their most polished production to date, there were some stunning effects with the lighting and for the most part the audio was great, I just wish it had been more of an engaging production.

The production runs until Sept 2nd and you can find out more about attending on the Project Arts Centre website.

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All That Fall @ The Project

At the outset I should say that I haven’t experienced an enormous amount of Beckett – just a brief dalliance with his work as part of an M.Phil in Anglo Irish Literature course and a trip to see the magnificent Michael Gambon as Krapp in the Gate. However, I know enough of the playwright to say that I can take him or leave him.

However, the one play of Beckett’s that I really loved when I first read it is All That Fall. It’s probably one of the most accessible of Beckett’s plays and his first written for radio. I’ve heard a radio recording of it before (by the BBC I think) and it’s excellent, laugh out loud humour. So, needless to say I can’t wait to see Pan Pan’s version of it at the Project pretty soon. I read an article by Eithne Shorthall in the Sunday Times’ Culture magazine last week and it looks like a match made in heaven, with all the darkness of Beckett and the weirdness of Pan Pan. And I have heard from a very unreliable source that they’re installing super comfy chairs in the Project for the “projection performance” of the recording, designed to recreate the experience of family and friends gathering around the radio or wireless years ago.

In direct contrast to that desire for the old fashioned way of life, is the Project’s new marketing technique – discounts by tweets! If you tweet about buying a ticket to the show, you get a 10% discount (and that can even be on top of a student discount) – fantastic stuff! Click here to tweet and book, or just book. Show runs Aug 22 – Sept 2.

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