Archive for February, 2012

Drama Without Plot Wins Out

28/02/2012 Comments off

Laundry by Anu Productions has won The Irish Times best production award for 2011 Irish Theatre. The pity is that so few people got to experience this exceptional piece of drama as the audience entered the former Magdalene Laundry in Sean MacDermot Street, Dublin, in groups of just three people during the 2011 Dublin Theatre Festival.

When I emerged from a Laundry performance into a bleak, wet, Saturday morning on Sean MacDermott Street, last year,I knew that I had experienced a performance that would never leave me. And it was a drama that was almost – but not entirely – without words. It relied on the sensory experience of the place and the almost mime-like performances of the actors to convey some of the experiences of the Magdalene Laundry. But it did not scream or throw blame in one’s face but, rather, invited you to immerse oneself in the building’s haunting history.

Theatre critic Peter Crawley has put it well – Landry has let ‘a shameful national history bleed into a vivid present’.

From the Dress Circle to the Drains

20/02/2012 Comments off

I have belatedly been reading  More Lives Than One by Gerard Hanberry from the Collins Press.  It tells the fascinating story of Oscar Wilde, his ancestors and descendants, and the massive contradictions at the heart of the family. It is also an intriguing mapping of the Wilde west of Ireland lineage from Castlerea, Co Roscommon, through the Ballymagibbon estate at Cong, to Moytura House at Lough Corrib.

Reading the book I was reminded of feeling a certain sadness before Christmas on hearing the account of the restoration of Oscar Wilde’s tomb in Paris  and realising that, due to the protective barrier at the tomb, ‘kissing Oscar’s tomb’  would now be no more. At the unveiling event for the restored tomb, the actor Rupert Everett spoke of the contradictions in Oscar Wilde’s life: ‘From the dress circle to the drains, his life was his greatest work of art and an inspiration to anyone who has ever felt outcast.’

Oscar Wilde wrote in De Profundis: ‘When first I was put into prison some people advised me to try to forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realising what I am that I found comfort of any kind.’ More Lives Than One deepens our insight into who and what Oscar Wilde was by situating his story in the context of an intriguing family history.

The Veiled Woman of Achill

12/02/2012 Comments off

I have been absent from this blog while getting the book over the finish line. The Veiled Woman of Achill will be published by the Collins Press in April. There will be a launch in my home city of Limerick in late April and a launch / reading at the Valley House, Achill in early May.

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