Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Entertainment

Surreal take on rural life from Little John Nee at Town Hall

Published

on

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Sparkplug Callaghan, vintage mechanic and blues man, comes to the Town Hall Theatre next week, courtesy of the one-man powerhouse that is writer, actor and musician Little John Nee.

Sparkplug is a surreal comedy featuring original blues music, which Little John was commissioned to write by the Earragail Arts Festival in 2012. The central character, Sparkplug Callaghan who lives in Tullyglen in rural Donegal, also appeared in Little John’s previous show, The Mother’s Arms.

Sparkplug, which was a highlight of last year’s Dublin Fringe Festival and won an Irish Times Theatre award in February, was in gestation for a while, Little John explains. He’s had two radio plays on RTÉ based on the same character – Sparkplug and Wee Black Bees.

Sparkplug lives in his dead uncle’s disused barn and has got a bad dose of the blues. Everyday there’s another funeral, Joe Duffy is on the radio and the banks are putting people on the side of the road. But across the meadow he sees a vision of a better life. He falls for a bohemian Belfast artist, living in her late father’s dry-docked boat, but discovers he has a rival in the form of an ex-cop.

Little John, who has a great ability to write surreal comedy, loves the notion of exploring a contemporary rural life that’s every bit as culturally rich as city life, but, at the same time, is in touch with the rural landscape, “where the past meets the present”.

He loves developing ways of telling stories, using contemporary narrative techniques and looped music alongside the tradition of the seanchaí or storyteller. 

Because Sparkplug is a blues man who is into vintage cars and machines, he marries the past and present perfectly.

“For years I’ve been doing shows and got to wondering what would have happened if I’d stayed on the one theme and focused on developing one character?” Little John says of this show. “That way you can really spend a lot of time developing their world.”

Tullyglen is a place with many eclectic characters and John describes the show as “a rural blues comedy, because there are lots of comedy elements in it. But the music might be more melodic than in others of my work”.

Little John has composed and performs all the music and songs on an eclectic array of instruments from cigar box guitar to harmonium.

He also designed the show’s unusual set. Niall Cranny, of Earragail Arts Centre who previously worked with Druid, lit Sparkplug. Otherwise Little John did everything.

“It was a really low-budget sort of job and a challenge getting it to every stage it got to.”

It got excellent reviews from The Irish Times and Irish Theatre Magazine when it played at the 2012 Dublin’s Fringe Festival and was the subject of an article in The Irish Times by writer Michael Harding, who compared the piece to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magic realism style of writing.

Then Sparkplug was nominated in the Irish Times Theatre awards for Best Sound Design – and it won.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

TG4 to broadcast Sina’s lockdown Town Hall gig

Published

on

German-born Sina moved to Ireland in 2015 to pursue her musical dream.

A concert by German born, Irish-based singer-songwriter Sina Theil, which was recorded at the Town Hall Theatre in December 2020, during lockdown will be broadcast by TG4 this Saturday night, February 4.

This energetic and hardworking artist is currently touring Ireland as special guest with rising folk singer Dan McCabe.

She has previously been named Hottest Act in Irish Country Music (female), won Song of the Year at the Hot Country TV Awards and the Rising Star of the Year 2022 Award at the American Celtic Listener Supported Music Awards. She’s also had 17 number one singles in the Irish Country charts and a number one in the mainstream Irish charts with her latest self-penned song.

Sina relocated to Ireland in 2015 on her own in what she calls “an act of blind faith” to pursue her dream of making music. She knew nobody here as she began funding her musical education by busking on the streets of Dublin, sometimes making just enough in the morning to cover bills that had to be paid in the afternoon.

Sina’s independently released album, Live at THT Galway, for which she crowdfunded more than €16,000 with the help of her loyal online following (50,000+), reached number three in the mainstream Irish charts and songs have had thousands of plays on Irish radio.

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.

 

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Stories, drama and improv at Moth and Butterfly Festival

Published

on

The Moth & Butterfly International Festival of Storytelling & Improvisation will take place in Galway City, County and online from this Friday to Saturday, February 3-5.

Events will include improvisational theatre events, children’s storytime, a virtual global story chain, a music workshop and an audio experience in Connemara, according to Artistic Director Órla Mc Govern.

The Moth & Butterfly group have been running monthly events in Galway for 12 years, as well as collaborating with festivals and events globally. Following two successful digital and hybrid festivals in 2021 and 2022, theyre now bringing their first fully live festival to Galway and beyond.  It has a wide range of events for all ages, many free or via donation.

Land of Stories will run from this Friday to Sunday at locations in Connemara and online. In this selection of recorded stories and conversations, local artists discuss their practice and connection to the landscape. It involves recordings being ‘placed’ in various places, using location-based software, so the stories are activated by being in a specific area. Remote access is available via an online map, for those who can’t travel.

At 11.30am this Friday, storytellers Catherine Brophy and Máirín Mhic Lochlainn will be at Galway City Library to present a free, bilingual event, Stories For Children / Scéalta do Pháistí.  At 3pm Tales of Mischief and Magic will be at Oranmore Library, when Antrim storyteller Liz Weir will lead participants on an interactive journey through the imagination. It’s for ages 6+ and is free.

At 8pm, Parenthetical, an improvised theatrical performance with The Jess’ss’ss will be in the city’s Blue Teapot Theatre, Munster Avenue, for audiences of 18+. It’s based on the theme of ‘Parent’.

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.

 

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Artist Gertrude in flying form at Kenny Gallery

Published

on

Eat Drink and Be Merry

A collection of 40 original paintings and graphics by renowned German artist Gertrude Degenhardt, will open at The Kenny Gallery in the city’s Liosbán Retail Park on Saturday, February 11th at 3pm.

The show, Flying Melodies, features new and retrospective works and is described by the gallery as something of a Greatest Hits, featuring many images which will be well-known to her Irish fans.

Gertrude Degenhardt, who is one of Germany’s leading painters and graphic artists, first came to Ireland in the early 1970s when she was commissioned to prepare illustrations for a German edition of a book of short stories by Liam O’Flaherty.

She has produced several exhibitions for the Kenny Gallery over the years, including Women in Music –  a series of 70 images of female musicians – Vagabondage, Passes By, Paradise Lost, Dancing Couples and It’s About Time.

Degenhardt, who was born in 1940, is a keen observer of people. Song and wine feature frequently in her distinctive work, as do revolution, vagabonds, dance, musicians, Ireland and her late husband, Martin.

Flying Melodies will be officially opened by renowned fiddle player Frankie Gavin at 3pm on Saturday, February 11, at The Kenny Gallery, Liosbán Retail Park. All are welcome.

The exhibition will run daily from 9am-5pm, Monday to Saturday, until St Patrick’s Day in the gallery and online at www.thekennygallery.

 

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending