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High drama in store as Druid take on the Bard

Judy Murphy

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“The neighbourhood is gone to hell,” was the reaction from several locals when Druid Theatre moved into its Chapel Lane premises off Quay Street in the late 1970s.

And, says the company’s Artistic Director Garry Hynes happily, it will be “going to hell” again in May, when Druid present a specially commissioned, abridged production of Shakespeare’s History Plays in the ambitiously titled DruidShakespeare project.

Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe was the man tasked by Druid with reshaping Richard II, Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2), and Henry V, retaining their historic continuity but cutting them drastically for this endeavour. If performed in full, they would take more than a day, explains Garry, who is directing this new version.

The DruidShakespeare project, which has been in gestation for “five or six years”, may seem like an unusual one for the Galway company, but not so, according to Garry.

I don’t think there’s anybody working in theatre who doesn’t consider Shakespeare at one time or another. He is the most performed writer in the world,” she says. Druid has only ever tackled him once before in its 40-year history – with Much Ado about Nothing in 1981, but DruidShakespeare is totally different.

“It’s the history of our nearest neighbour, one that’s entwined with our own,” she says.

“In the context of history between Ireland and England and the difficult relationship between the countries, it’s a story of the making of a nation, and of kings and queens,” she adds. The plays, about the rise of England’s House of Lancaster cover events in that country from the late 1300s to the early 1400s, and were written by Shakespeare in the late 1500s. Ireland only features occasionally as a troublesome place, filled with uncouth and troublesome people, and a breeding ground for rebellion – a reflection of attitudes in the Elizabethan era, when Shakespeare was firing out his plays.

As for abridging the plays, Garry feels that’s perfectly reasonable.

“Shakespeare was first and foremost about theatre and actors and so he was about editing and shaping and chopping and changing,” she says.

CITY TRIBUNE

Big questions brought to book beautifully in Anne’s new novel

Stephen Glennon

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Anne Griffin: 'I wanted to write from a female point of view, about a woman who was struggling with who she was.'

REVIEW BY STEPHEN GLENNON

Through her prize-winning debut novel, When All is Said, Dublin-born author Anne Griffin established herself as an engaging storyteller with an innate ability to weave a tale stitched together with intriguing characters, tumultuous emotions and a sense of place.

Now, in her follow-up book, Listening Still, Anne conjures up more absorbing figures, not least the protagonist Jeanie Masterson. A 32-year-old married woman working in her father’s funeral home, Jeanie has a gift of being able to hear the dead and it falls upon her to relay their last messages to the living.

This, quite often, puts Jeanie in awkward positions because it’s easier for the dead to make their last confessions when they don’t have to suffer repercussions – at least not on this earth. In true Anne Griffin style, the situations that arise can be as much funny as sad.

Anne, who workshopped the original draft of her first book When All is Said when undertaking an MA in Creative Writing in UCD in 2015, admits she had fun exploring death in Listening Still – a story that had been “knocking around in my head for a while”.

“Even when I was writing When All is Said, I had a short story I wrote when I was in UCD where I was trying to work out what I wanted to do (in Listening Still),” says Anne, speaking from her adopted home in Mullingar.

“I knew I wanted to set a story in the funeral director business because, like with anybody, I am really drawn to the mystery of this world. Also, in school, there was someone in our class who lived in the house in our local graveyard in Dublin. Her father worked (as caretaker) at the graveyard and I used to think she was so special and different.”

What has grown out of that memory is a book that centres around a character who lives on the edges of things – be it death, relationships, love or the truth. “With this book, I wanted to write from a female point of view, about a woman who was struggling with who she was,” says Anne.

“I suppose, there was quite a bit of myself in here, of the struggles of getting to know who you are, from a 16-year-old right up into your 20s and even your 30s, when you are really only getting to know yourself.

“I always feel sorry for people at 18 who are expected to figure out what college do they want to go to. What is it they want to be in life? So, I wanted to capture the struggle that I had with that.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Amhráin’s musical journey showcases best of Galway

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Tracy Bruen...featured artist.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Over the month of March, Citóg Records teased colourful stills and clips from their latest project across social media – a tour de force through some of Galway’s finest musical talents…past, present and future.  The faces and locations evoked a strange sort of nostalgia – not least because many of the people involved have been noticeably absent from local stages for over a year now and the chosen venues, a series of iconic landmarks around the city, have never felt so sentimental.

What arrived on April 17, then, was an appropriately emotive piece of work that slotted seamlessly into the canon of local music it set out to honour.

Amhráin – a Galway 2020 Small Town Big Ideas initiative – sees members of the Citóg collective reimagine songs written by fellow Galway artists, past and present.

Produced by David Boland with Hob Junker on sound and Alison of AMW Visual on video, the film meanders around the city, making stops at Bell, Book & Candle, The Blue Note, The Corn Store, the Róisín Dubh and the Galway Arts Centre.

Emma Lohan’s cameo from an arts space in the Balearic Islands is the only exception but her delicate performance of the Stunning’s Half Past Two is firmly rooted at home. As she explains, the song was her anthem at the age of twelve.

Donal McConon of the Curly Organ opens proceedings with a floating, high-praising monologue ahead of an a cappella, harmony-heavy version of Eoin Dolan’s Caesar’s Palace outside the track’s casino namesake.

Eoin himself follows with a slow, stripped back cover of New Pope’s We Were Young. The longstanding relationship between the two is testament to the sense of community that runs throughout Amhráín. There is a feeling of inclusivity about the Galway scene right now and that camaraderie is reflected in the piece.

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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Connacht Tribune

Opening the door to next generation of arts-workers

Judy Murphy

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Oisin Parslow.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Three students at NUIG, Lisa Mannion, Oisín Parslow and Emily White, have been chosen by Galway’s Town Hall Theatre to curate a series of events for Lasta, a national festival for young people and children that will take place next month.  The three are among 21 young curators who’ve been brought on board by NASC, the network of eight Irish regional theatres that’s involved in creating Lasta – the Irish for ignite. The Town Hall is a key player in NASC.

The innovative Lasta project is part of Brightening Air (Coiscéim Coiligh), a series of events taking place across the country from June 11-20 that’s being funded by the Arts Council. The curators selected for the eight venues were chosen through an Open Call process.

Here in Galway, Lisa, Oisín and Emily will be mentored by theatre artists, Maisie Lee and Fionn Foley, as they join forces to deliver an ambitious line-up of events as Town Hall Manager Fergal McGrath explains.

The result should be “a fresh, fun, diverse, accessible and exciting festival of events”. That’s the short-term goal. There’s a long-term plan too.

“This pioneering project, with multiple disciplines reflects the diversity of modern Ireland and offers a unique opportunity to develop our future arts programmers and producers,” Fergal says, adding that 70 young people responded to the Open Call.

“The standard was excellent, making selection almost impossible – we had intended to select two, but went to three and, even then, there were 67 others who were more than capable of being on the panel.

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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