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Druid create magic with epic Shakespeare work

Judy Murphy

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Derbhle Crotty as Henry IV and Aisling O'Sullivan as Prince Hal in DruidShakespeare.

REVIEW BY JUDY MURPHY

English history and English wars are the subject matter of Richard II, Henry IV (Parts I and II) and Henry V, which have been abridged by Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe for Druid’s latest undertaking, Druid Shakespeare. These kingly names are not ones that trip lightly off Irish tongues – we know little about England’s history prior to the reign of the Tudors, at which point it becomes bitterly entwined with our own.

So at first, it might seem daunting for an audience to enter this messy world, which involves English monarchs constantly looking over their shoulders and trusting not even their closest family.

But, while this is English history, the characters and themes of these plays are universal and DruidShakespeare, directed by Garry Hynes, is a wonderful achievement – frequently dark and often hilarious.

It opens at breakneck speed as Richard II intervenes in a row between his kinsman, Henry of Bolingbroke, and Sir Thomas Mowbray. From the get-go there is skulduggery and deception and when Richard makes an ill-judged call to exile the pair, his fate is sealed.

The drama that unfolds over the first three plays is largely confined to England. Bolingbroke returns from exile and, with the backing of various noblemen, overthrows Richard who is off fighting a war in Ireland. Claiming the crown, Bolingbroke becomes Henry IV, and the following two plays, Henry IV Parts I and II, deal with his attempts to reign and retain power. All the time, he despairs over his son and heir Prince Hal, a drunkard and a wastrel who is given to mixing with London’s lowlife. But when a serious crisis strikes and Henry IV’s former allies attempt to seize the throne, Hal comes good. In the 1403 Battle of Shrewsbury, he kills his namesake, Harry Hotspur the Earl of Northumberland and the greatest threat to the Crown.

Hal goes on to become a force to be reckoned with, and in Henry V, this once errant prince succeeds in his bid to reclaim England’s lost territory in France at the 1415 Battle of Agincourt.

Mark O’Rowe’s adaptation of the four plays has cut out many extraneous characters and subplots, while remaining faithful to their essence and interlinking stories. It is a fair achievement and Druid has more than done justice to the script.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Druid paints picture of life and works of poet Eavan Boland

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A photo of Eavan Boland from 1992. PHOTO: JOE ST LEGER, IRISH TIMES.

Druid’s next production, a drama about poet Eavan Boland, entitled Boland: Journey of a Poet, will be livestreamed from the company’s Mick Lally Theatre between Thursday, April 22, and Saturday, April 24.  With words written by the late poet herself and edited by novelist Colm Tóibín, the 60-minute piece will feature actor Siobhán Cullen and will be directed by Druid’s Artistic Director, Garry Hynes.

Boland: Journey of a Poet explores the mind and imagination of one of Ireland’s great poets, courtesy of Colm Tóibín, who describes himself as “privileged” to have been commissioned by Druid for this project on Boland, who died on April 27, 2020. He hopes “this production will remind us of her stature as a major poet”.

Garry Hynes describes Boland as “an extraordinary Irish poet and essayist”, adding that “her standing only grows with time”.

Performed by Siobhán Cullen whose previous productions with Druid include Once Upon a Bridge, The Cherry Orchard and Richard III, this world premiere examines Eavan Boland’s relationships with family, poetry, memory, womanhood and national identity.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

KAVA Presents puts spotlight on Anne Korff

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Roses of Hope by KAVA member Ann Korff.

Anne Korff is the latest artist to feature in KAVA Presents, the new online project from Kinvara Area Arts Group. It’s a series of short videos, in which members of the group share their work practice, with a new episode being released every second Monday on KAVA YouTube channel and social media platforms.

Anne is a German-born professional artist who has lived and worked in the area for many years.  She has travelled extensively and influences of this travel can be seen in her creations.

KAVA’s online introduction to Anne and her work will be available from next Monday, April 12 from 10am.

This series has been running since February and all the videos are three minutes or shorter in length.

■ More information at www.kava.ie

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CITY TRIBUNE

Film of Sarah’s self-powered global trip to thrill armchair adventurers

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Sarah Outen in Alaska in 2014 during her trip of almost 25,000 miles which was a mostly solo journey. PHOTO JUSTINE CURGENVEN.

The Irish Adventure Film Club, which usually holds screenings in venues throughout the country, including Galway’s Town Hall Theatre, is launching a series of virtual screenings.

The first is Home: An Outward Journey, which will be screened next Wednesday, April 14, followed by a live Q&A with adventurer Sarah Outen and the film’s director Jen Randall.

This documentary tells the story of Sarah Outen’s solo, self-powered expedition around the globe between 2011 and 2015, during which she was brought to the brink, physically and mentally, by a violent ocean storm. For the expedition, London2London: Via the World, Sarah was the engine, travelling by bike, kayak and rowing boat across Europe and Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and finally the Atlantic.

She clocked up nearly 25,000 miles on her four-year odyssey. As she travelled between cultures, climates and landscapes under her own power, Sarah’s mostly-solo voyage was followed by thousands.

But the months of solitude and extreme elements also took their toll.

This documentary, which was created from hundreds of hours of footage, captures Sarah’s journey honestly and unflinchingly: the kindness of strangers, the wonders of the wild, the savagery of the elements, the near-death experiences, the demons of her emotional trauma and PTSD, and her discovery of love for a farmer called Lucy.

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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