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An Taibhdhearc to stage epic Murphy play for Arts Festival

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Arts Week with Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

A powerful, epic drama written by Tom Murphy and translated into Irish for the Taibhdhearc stage will be accessible to everyone, including non-Irish speakers, thanks to the introduction of sur-titles in English in the newly refurbished theatre.

It is only the second time ever the play, The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant, will be staged and it’s the first time in Irish. An Tíoránach Drogallach has been translated by Macdara Ó Fatharta, of Ros na Run fame, who also acts in the play.

It is the story of a mother consumed by greed who loses her fortunes in the downturn and has to depend on the charity of her favourite son. Its director, Anne McCabe, describes it as a King Lear in reverse with a mother and three sons. The tragedy of the story, says Anne, is that the mother chooses the wrong son as her beneficiary.

There are family dynamics of greed, betrayal and hypocrisy, and Anne says it is a very appropriate play in the current economic climate.

Tuam-born playwright Tom Murphy wrote the drama, basing it on a Russian novel and when it was first staged (for the only time as yet) in Dublin in 2009, it starred Marie Mullen as the mother.

In the Abbey production it was presented a period costume drama, but for An Taibhdhearc, Anne has decided to strip back the stage to make it a stylised, timeless piece. And though obviously in a rural setting, there will be nothing to indicate where exactly or when the action takes place.

“Tom Murphy tends to be naturalist in the Irish way and though it’s based on a Russian novel from the 1880s, I wanted to make it less about the costumes and furniture and more about the big issues it raises. This is an epic, powerful drama dealing with darkness but with a few touches of comedy. There has to be when it’s about a servant and ruling class.

“My own interest in directing the play was because of its keen resonance of our time – property no longer makes us happy. Another reason I was attracted to it was because it’s an absolutely fantastic part for a woman. The mother here is played by Mairéad Ní Chonghaile and she is completely committed to her craft,” she said.

Anne is backed up by what she describes as “a fantastic cast”. There are 12 in all, half of them from TG4’s Ros na Rún, who have all worked with Anne.

“But this is different from directing in TV where it’s all about camera angles. I am enjoying spending so much time with the cast (a four-week rehearsal period) as it gives more time for character development.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Reverberate – exploring migration and memories

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Joselle Ntumba of Éireann and I, the collective that is presenting the show at Galway Arts Centre, pictured with her family.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

A new exhibition, Reverberate, by Éireann and I, will open at the city’s Galway Arts Centre this Saturday, December 3, at 2pm, and will run until December 22.

Reverberate is an oral history project developed by Éireann and I, a black migrant community archive, in collaboration with members of Galway’s African diaspora.

The organisers invited Black migrants who have settled in Galway to recount their journeys to Ireland, their relationship with the city and county, and to reflect on whether they have developed a sense of belonging.

The testimonies in Reverberate come from eight people of varying age and from different places. The many subjects they deal with include parenting, politics, the effects of the asylum system on lives and the communities and organisations they have built.

Some of their shared background is immediately obvious, but there are deeper connections too and these demonstrate how all humans are affected by the global and local tensions that cause people to leave their homelands and build new lives elsewhere.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Songs of Celebration at Galway Cathedral

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Composer and clarinettist Emma Johnson will join Vox Orbis.

Galway’s Vox Orbis, a female choral ensemble directed by Mark Keane, is joining forces with internationally renowned clarinettist Emma Johnson to present her Songs of Celebration. The concert will take place in Galway Cathedral next Friday, December 9

Emma Johnson, who won the BBC Young Musician of the Future at the age of 17, has since gone on to become one of the world’s biggest selling classical artists, celebrated for her diverse repertoire. The choir will present two of her compositions as well as her Variations on We wish you a merry Christmas with Annalisa Monticelli, piano.

The programme will also include Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, accompanied by concert harpist Aisling Ennis. Aisling has recently released an album of harp solos, Folly of Melancholy, and will perform a solo on the evening too. Galway based soprano Noreena McDonagh will join the choir for seasonal favourite, O Holy Night, newly arranged by conductor Mark Keane.

Vox Orbis promotes the work of female composers, and the programme will include Snow Angel by the contemporary Canadian composer Sarah Quartel, with Nickie Geddes, cello. They have also commissioned leading Irish composer, Rhona Clarke, to compose a set of carols, Sweet the Song, which will also be premiered on the evening.

Tickets at €20 are available on Eventbrite and at the door on the night. Visit voxorbis.ie for more information.

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‘Potato People’ pays homage to victims of Great Famine

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Artist and sculptor Joe McCaul

The Potato People, an exhibition of sculptures based on the Irish Famine of 1845-49, will open in the foyer of Alcantara, one of the new buildings at the city’s Bonham Quay, this weekend.

It’s the work of artist and sculptor Joe McCaul, who lives in Ballinderreen.

These ceramic figures, fired in clay, “tell the harrowing stories of the lives and deaths of our ancestors during the Great Hunger”, he explains.

The exhibition has already had an eight-week run in Kinvara where it was very well-received, Joe adds.

Joe became fascinated by the Great Famine in recent times and with the many different accounts of those tragic years.

This fascination began in earnest when he read The Truth Behind the Irish Famine, by Kerryman Jerry Mulvihill.

“I began to feel a strong affinity with the people in these stories, their tragedy and the horrendous suffering they endured. I felt compelled to find a way to honour the millions who died of hunger and disease – and emigration; the countless stories forgotten in the Famine graveyards all over this country.”

Joe used his knowledge of working with paper clay to express this need. The process was intuitive and experimental, he says, as he worked without pre-planning or pre-drawing.

The resulting figures, which were formed by draping paper clay over armatures of chicken wire and steel bars, “just emerged from my fingertips. I sculpted feverishly for many months, one horrific figure leading to the next – so many stories to be told”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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