Tag Archives: devious theatre

The Revolution Has Been Youtubed

Over at Devious Theatre (where I’ve been spending most of my days this year) we just released a video peek at our first show of 2011 Scratcher.

Scratcher was the first part of our current In The Future When All’s Well season in Kilkenny Arts Office. I wrote it in 2010 when I wanted to do something short, sharp and angry and I ended up being very happy with the end result. It played Dublin and Kilkenny in February around the same time as the national elections so it ended up landing right at the perfect time to stage a play based on change and revolution. We were very lucky that it ended up playing at a time when people were just sick to death of bullshit really.

The video here mostly demonstrates our front of house set up which was done to mirror a dole office in a very heightened way and generally make our audience feel fairly uncomfortable. If you didn’t attend the play have a look see and if you did, maybe you can find yourself shuffling your feet and trying to get through the queue very quickly?

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Finishing Shifting

Shifting took it’s final bow on Saturday night to it’s sixth standing ovation and sixth consecutive sold out show.

Suffice to say, it was one of the most successful shows in the 5 year history of Devious Theatre. All the more remarkable considering it had a completely new (and youthful) cast, a debut script from a brand new writer and no name value bar any name value the company might have.

We definitely don’t take for granted that our shows will turn into red hot sell outs so we always push the promo material really hard. All the more so when you’ve got a new show to sell. We pushed it hard in terms of promo videos, posters, radio vignettes and promo images. I guess we always underestimated (as we do), the appeal of new work. Especially when we work in a town where the familiar staple is king, be it pantomime, John B.Keane or musical. However, this was the first time where we saw that our focus on new work is enough in itself. That maybe we didn’t need to push new work extra hard. We just needed to do it. And we just needed to do it because people wanted to see original work. And there’s always going to be a hunger for it.

The cast were excellent. Excellent to work with, consistent in their delivery, a joy to direct and everything you want in actors: committed, dedicated, reliable and inventive. I know I’m in danger of gush overload but they absolutely made the play and we were so proud to have them as part of our company. The cast are going to go far I think and we’ll definitely be using them again. The same goes for the teenage members of our crew who were all committed, dedicated and on the ball. I must give special praise to Eleanor Walsh, our assistant director who diligently wrote everything down and never missed one single rehearsal.

I worked with John Kennedy for the past 5 months on the script. It wasn’t the ideal amount of time for him. It wasn’t the ideal amount of time for us. It’s just how it worked out. We knew what we wanted. He knew what he wanted to write. He was delighted to be able to write plenty of ‘fuck’s’ and ‘cocks’ and have no one censor him. We found a middle ground, gave John all the resources and support that he needed and at the beginning of March he delivered a script. His very first completed play. Shifting was everything we wanted it to be and in the end it was everything a teen audience wanted. As we saw when they came rushing in to buy the opening night €5 tickets. Cheapskates. But yeah, teenagers get ‘pandered’ to or generally condescended but they rarely get spoken to, honestly and directly, in theatre. That was our main objective. And that was why we wanted a teenage writer to do that. Anything else would just be extrapolation.

The reviews have been sweet so far. You can read some of them here and also, here. It was possibly my most favourite play I’ve worked on. I’ve had an overwhelming sense of pride and joy (along with festering regret and hole poking) in everything we’ve done with Devious Theatre. But this one might have been the best. Maybe because it was the best. But maybe, because above everything, it was all about the future.

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Shifting On…

We launched the trailer for Shifting this past weekend and here it is.

     

A lovely little montage of kisses and thought processes of the characters, it was directed by Paddy Dunne and written by the writer of the play itself, John Kennedy. It’s soundtracked by a version of Morrissey’s ‘I Know Very Well How I Got My Name’ as covered by our own Jessica Walsh.

I’ve been going overtime on the play the past few weeks as we approach the opening night. I’ve found myself directing a little less, writing notes a little more and generally trying to slot the final pieces into place without dropping anything, like a game of Buckaroo. To give a precautionary evaluation of how it’s going to be, I’d say it’s going to be great. Done. Tickets are starting to fly out and flu is spreading all around No. 76. It could be something to do with all the kissing in this video but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.

Shifting opens on April 18th and runs until April 23rd. All details can be found over at devioustheatre.com

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The Shifting Posters

I’m currently directing, Shifting, the second part of Devious Theatre’s ‘In The Future When All’s Well’ series. The play is written by John Kennedy who has been working on it since the end of last year and throughout the first 3 months of our residency in Kilkenny Arts Office. It’s a funny, charming and bittersweet look at the inevitable intersection between your teenage years and adulthood. In fact, in terms of previous Devious Theatre plays I like to call this one our John Hughes. That’s kicking the hypometer up to a high point but fuck it, no harm in aiming high.

We’ve just released 3 individual character posters for Shifting as designed by Paddy Dunne, the magician behind all of our promo imagery. It’s basically 12 teenagers on a couch. What’s not to love?

Shifting plays in No. 76 John Street from April 18th – 23rd. Tickets are onsale in No. 76, online at DeviousTheatre.com or can be booked on 056 – 7794138. If anyone’s looking for discounts, the opening night is only €5!

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In 2011 When All’s Well

Technically speaking, 2011 is the future. Even though it’s in a couple of days. My plan for this futuristic time is a little project called In The Future When All’s Well.

In my role as general theatrical dogsbody for Devious Theatre, I’ll be working with our usual Devious crew and some exciting vibrant new additions to create a 6 month programme of theatre based entirely in the Kilkenny County Council Arts Office.

Mary Butler, the Kilkenny County Council Arts Officer and a lady of extreme go getting, has long being trying to get us into a building of our own. After a couple of thwarted attempts, she’s decided to use their long standing Artist In Residency programme to bring in an entire theatre company. So we were pretty damn chuffed and have spent the latter half of 2010 putting our brand new season together. The vibrant new additions to our team will function in a way that I imagine the new Ghostbusters movie will play out. With us grizzled veterans training in a group of new Kilkenny ‘Theatrebusters’. Because I’m writing this I can lay claim to being the Venkman, Ken is obviously the Stanz and Paddy is the Spengler. Angela is a sure fire Janine. And I think Eddie is most likely the Zeddmore. We will spend our days standing around planning theatre and sliding down poles in the Arts Office. Here’s what we looked like when we did it in 2007 (Ken took the photo so he’s behind you).

Who Are You Going To Call? Devious Theatre!

I’m not yet in a position to say what the plays are yet but in line with already has been announced, there’s 3 of them. And there will be another one for the radio which Ken is directing and will involve a great big bunch of writers. And there will be lots of other exciting things that will happen I’m sure. The actual announcement of what the plays are will be happening in the next couple of days once the festive season has died down. And they’re all originals. Well, by originals they either haven’t been done before or they haven’t been done before by anyone that isn’t Devious Theatre. My role in the season involves doing a whole bunch of writing, directing and acting which will make my head spin. I am hoping that the Dario Fo Season has put me in fairly decent shape for directing 3 plays in 6 months, but it’ll be a hell of a theatralathon (that’s my new word).

And why the title? Well, the 3 main plays are dealing with the theme of the future. Specifically relating to a bunch of disillusioned Irish folks in their teens, twenties and thirties. Unless something drastic happens, we won’t be setting the plays in the future with hoverboards and robot dogs (I wish). The title comes from the Morrissey track and it will no doubt be getting an airing (with a bit more from the amazing Mr. Morrissey besides)

We commence work on January 10th and I really can’t wait for it. It’s the biggest project we’ve undertaken in the (near) 5 year history of Devious Theatre and we’re hoping it kicks off our next 5 years with a solid bang. Got to look to the future after all.

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Dario Fo Season

Between September 2009 and March 2010 I spent pretty much all my spare (and often full) time working on Devious Theatre’s Dario Fo Season which saw two of the most famous works by the great Italian playwright performed in Set Theatre, Kilkenny.

I directed both Accidental Death Of An Anarchist and Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! and it was definitely a high point in the 10 or so years I’ve spent doing this theatre lark. The reviews were lovely, the audiences were great and best of all, I got to work with a superb cast and crew on two plays by one of my absolute favourite playwrights. Happy out. We did a fairly comprehensive rundown on the entire season which can be read here. It’s taken me a while to get around to posting this but here it is. It’s a video compilation of some bits and pieces from both shows. Enjoy!

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