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Fine production of dated melodrama

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REVIEW – The Colleen Bawn – Druid Theatre

Stage Irishry is to the fore again in Druid’s latest production, Dion Boucicault’s The Colleen Bawn, directed by Garry Hynes which opened on Tuesday night in the city’s Black Box Theatre.

The play, which got its first outing on Broadway in 1860, before going on to become the toast of London in the winter of that year, and later wowed Dublin, is based on a true and tragic story from Limerick in 1819, in which a young woman was murdered on her husband’s instructions. But Boucicault’s The Colleen Bawn, being a melodrama, has a happy ending, despite a few darker moments.

There’s love between members of different social classes and the problems that brings, confusion as to who is having an affair with whom, issues of money, social status, murder and an abundance of cute Irish hoors.

That this play provoked such hilarity in Victorian London and Dublin less than 13 years after the tragedy of the Great Irish Famine speaks volumes about that particular era. From that point of view, it’s an interesting piece of dramatic history.

But remove it from that context to today’s setting and it’s a pretty fluffy piece of work, for all its enjoyable linguistic gymnastics.

The landed Hardress Cregan (Marty Rea) is in a dilemma, having secretly married a peasant Irish girl, the eponymous Colleen Bawn (Kelly McAuley), an impetuous act which has put his family fortune in jeopardy. Marriage to his wealthy cousin Anne Chute would offer an ideal solution – but she doesn’t know he already has a wife. Besides, her heart belongs elsewhere.

An answer to Hardress’s dilemma is offered by his loyal manservant Danny Mann – played by Aaron Monaghan, who seems destined to be cast as Druid’s resident cripple. Throw in Hardress’s protective mammy, an archetypical Irish priest, an old crone and a few more stock characters for good measure and there’s room for lots of confusion and laughter, as well as one shocked intake of breath.

Druid’s production is terrific with fine performances from its ensemble cast, some of whom double up in roles. Aisling O’Sullivan as Anne Chute, after a rather low-key entrance, is especially good. She huffs and puffs around the stage as the wronged woman and her linguistic acrobatics are fantastic.

Rory Nolan as Myles-na-Coppaleen, the roguish poacher and poitín maker, who turns out to possess both integrity and intelligence, also turns in a fine and funny performance, as does Maeliosa Stafford as the sleeven land agent, Mr Corrigan. 

Francis O’Connor’s modernist set, Ben Ormerod’s intense lighting and an ensemble performing live music add to the experience.

But these lavish production elements – with bells, whistles and shillelaghs – only serve to highlight the fact that this play is one step up from pantomime; if someone had shouted out ‘he’s behind you!’ at certain points, it would have come as no surprise.

There’s no question but this is a fine production. The more salient question is why such energy and resources went into staging this particular drana at a time when theatre could play a more useful and unique role by dramatically – even melodramatically – addressing issues facing contemporary Irish society.

CITY TRIBUNE

Ceramic artist who found her creative home in Galway

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Tatiana Dobos...creative space in Galway.

A ceramic artist who made her home in Galway a decade ago is one of twelve creative pioneers to feature in a new series of abstract short films available for viewing on the TG4 Player.

Samhlú Croí Cruthaitheach is a season of twelve commissioned abstract short films featuring artists and creatives – among them Moldovan born Galway-based ceramic artist Tatiana Dobos.

Tatiana was born in 1982 in Bujor, and studied all kinds of ‘numbers’ till she was 27, when she discovered clay accidentally while doing sculpture in an art studio.

She describes it as being like arriving home for the first time. She had to quit my job, erase everything she studied and start her forever journey with clay which, since then, is a constant learning and discovering process.

She came to Ireland in 2010, and Galway felt like home from the first walk on its streets.

“Ten years later I can say that Galway is the true and only home to me,” she says.

“My studio is located in Knocknacarra, very close to the sea where I cycle almost every day for refreshing swims, and also close to Barna Woods, a place for reflection and reconnection. It feels really inspiring to be so close to Connemara and Burren, places that invite to rediscovering oneself,” she adds.

From her little studio, Tatiana creates ceramic artworks inspired by human emotions.

She seeks to materialize in her works the mechanisms of the inner battles, at the same time exploring the anatomy of the aftermath.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Land, Sea and Mind at heart of Kinvara show

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Some of the works from a new exhibition by Patrick Kenneally, set for the KAVA Courthouse Gallery in Kinvara

An exhibition of new work by artist Patrick Kenneally opens at the KAVA Courthouse Gallery in Kinvara, on Saturday week and runs until Sunday, August 8, from 10am to 4pm daily.

Of Land, Sea and Mind is a new series of oil paintings by the artist which is inspired by the mind’s adaptation and reaction to the restrictions placed on the mind and body by lockdowns over the past year.

“As an artist, being in and with the landscape is a vital stimulation for the creative process. You listen to the silence and vastness of the Burren. You take in the salty air of the Atlantic breeze,” he explained.

“The mind, without the direct stimulation of the environment you are so used to being in, will stitch you a new patchwork of colours, compositions and perspectives based on memory, thoughts and feelings. These “mindscapes” allow me to revisit the places that are restricted to me,” he added.

The paintings are a reflection of the self in isolation; a boat on the horizon, a windswept tree in the Burren, a single cloud in the sky, a rolling wave. The self is not present in the landscape but is present with the landscape.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway-made box office hit returns home to Film Fleadh

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Galway hit…a scene from Two by Two Overboard!

A Galway-made animation movie which outshone the big-budget studios at the box office is making a homecoming of sorts this weekend – in the open air.

Two by Two Overboard!, produced in Galway by Moetion Films, was the number one film at the UK box office in November 2020.

The film has also proved a big hit at home with top three spots in all Irish cinema during Christmas 2020.

This weekend, Galway audiences will be treated to a special showing during the Galway Film Fleadh on Saturday at noon, in the specially constructed open-air cinema located in Father Burke Park.

Distributed by eOne Entertainment, the film opened in multiple locations across the UK in late October 2020 – but now as restrictions ease, it is set for release in France, Spain, Germany, Norway, Denmark and Estonia and elsehwere.

Made in 3D animation, the film tells the story of young Nestrian Finny and his best mate Leah, a Grymp, who accidently fall off Noah’s ark and are swept out to sea.

Adrift on a flood, the two misfit castaways struggle to reunite an unorthodox family, out-run a volcano, and negotiate a peace deal on a creaking Ark.

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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