Category Archives: Dublin

Opening night

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When you are working as the director on a play, you tend to become superfluous on opening night. The actors have their lines and blocking learned. The set is ready. Sound and light design has been handed to the technical people. You have to surrender your baby to the cast and tech team, and hope that they are kind, loving adoptive parents. You’ve told them what you want. They have practiced. But if they decide to deliver Hamlet’s soliloquy through the medium of modern dance and jazz hands, without telling you, then, there’re not really a lot you can do.

If you are both the writer and director then the wrench of offering up your baby to the masses is even worse. That play has come from the pit of your mind and you are donating it for public consumption. People tend to judge writers from a moral viewpoint more so than they do directors or actors. Those people are interpreters. The writer is the creator of the idea. Therefore slightly more of a morally dubious character.

Last night was opening night of Firedoor Theatre’s ‘Uncut summer 2017’ – a showcase of original short plays.

My offering this time is ‘Mother’s Little Holiday’. It’s the show finale – which in my mind is quite prestigious. It’s a low down, vulgar comedy about thrashy people living thrashy lives. While dressed in leopard-print. In Tenerife. It’s not high art I grant you, but people seem to find the adventures of Maureen (a woman with notions as dark as her fake tan) and her vinegar lipped sidekick Carol, entertaining. This latest chapter in their sordid lives is the sequel to my February play ‘Mother’s Little Treasure’ which saw Maureen all aflutter in her new IKEA kitchen, as she awaited the release from prison of her cruelly misjudged white collar criminal son Gary (pronounced ‘Gorry’). This new update sees our intrepid pair in hot pursuit of Gorry to the Canaries – to where he had fled upon his release – with his low-down, devious, good for nothing tart of a girlfriend Rosario. But where is Gorry? And why is the bar he purchased with the proceeds of his embezzlement called ‘Casa Rosario’? You’ll have to come to the Pearse Centre for 8pm on Friday and Saturday to find out. Continue reading Opening night

Theatre times: ‘Jimmy’s Hall’

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On Wednesday evening I attended ‘Jimmy’s Hall’ in the Abbey Theatre.

I purchased the tickets six months ago, not knowing anything about the play- aside from the fact that the true story was an adaptation from a 2014 film by Ken Loach. As ‘early bird’ tickets were available for ten euros, for the Saturday night Dublin preview (the play had already had its world premiere shows in Leitrim a week earlier), I booked a pair of front row seats. Saturday in the Abbey, darling. Sure what else you would be doing?

Festering in my pit, one Saturday morning, some weeks ago, I received a call from the box office.  Apparently the stage was larger than anticipated, meaning my front row preview seats were  no longer available – in fact my front row no longer existed. Would I be interested in swapping them for full price tickets during the run – at no extra cost to myself? My answer was swift, and in the affirmative. Continue reading Theatre times: ‘Jimmy’s Hall’

My glittering writing career

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Rehearsals are well under way for the new Firedoor Theatre showcase called ‘Uncut’.

On a twice yearly basis this group invites writers and directors to submit new, or previously performed, pieces. If selected, a number of them get staged over a series of nights in a theatre in Dublin. In addition to the showcases the group also stages a full length theatrical extravaganza (also known as a play) a couple of times a year.

Firedoor Theatre is the name of the city based theatre group in which I am a member. I got involved, upon arrival in Dublin in late 2015. I had been a member of both the InPlayers English language theatre group, and the Badhuis group in Amsterdam, prior to my departure from that city. Always as an actor though. I joined this Irish group, partly to maintain my interest in drama. More realistically however, I wanted to meet new people. I was quite the Billy NoMates when I first landed in Dublin, after decades away. I thought that mingling among people with active ‘jazz hands’, would ease my re-entry into the Dublin social whirl. Continue reading My glittering writing career

An unplanned evening

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The trouble with modern technology is also one of its strengths. It makes you accessible.

Long gone are the days when you’d make a plan to meet on Saturday night – in front of Brown Thomas on O’Connell Street – two days in advance. If something came up, then you’d call on Saturday afternoon, hoping you’d be able to speak to the other person, in order to cancel. Occasionally you’d end up, waiting, like a marriage proposal that never arrives. You’d hope the person was just late. And you’d stand there. Waiting. Half an hour was about my limit. Days later you’d get a phone call – on the landline – with the other person apologising profusely, explaining that they’d been unable to reach you,. Alternatively they’d say ‘ My bike had a puncture in the tyre, so I had to walk, you weren’t there when I arrived.’ Continue reading An unplanned evening

Top Tips: Public transport etiquette

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I mopped the flop sweat from my brow as I arrived at the office. I was flustered beyond measure. My experience on the bus was unpleasant this morning. Nothing more than usual I would guess, but with my sugars low my rational mind was on a little break. I logged on to the computer (so people would know that I was in the building) and dashed downstairs for a slice of toast, a boiled egg and a banana (as always, a creature of habit). To address the sugar crisis, I added a cheeky bowl of porridge to my tray – purely in the interest of restoring my mental equilibrium.

As I was wolfing down my bowl of gruel, I got to thinking about my daily journey to work and how it could be improved. The two obvious solutions are not currently possible – working from home (which would eliminate the need to commute) is a luxury not allowed to us plebs. Management seem to believe that this grim and hostile industrial estate is good for our souls.  The other alternative – driving my very own automobile  – might be an option one day, if I ever pass my driving test. For the moment I use the bus.

There are some simple ground rules however – not just for my journey on the bus, but for all public transport adventures – that would make for a far more pleasant trip. I am sure there are many more, but these are my personal Top Tips for Public Transport users. Continue reading Top Tips: Public transport etiquette

Murphy’s Classic Movies: ‘Roman Holiday’ (1953)

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Some weeks ago I attended the Hepburn Season at the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield, and spent a sophisticated evening of film watching Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in the camp classic ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ by Tennessee Williams. (Read about it HERE… Liz Taylor gave an impressively melodramatic performance in that movie – ‘We PROCURED for him Violet. We were BAIT… They DEVOURED him’. Continue reading Murphy’s Classic Movies: ‘Roman Holiday’ (1953)