Solidarity Books are presenting Jerry Levy in Howard Zinn’s ‘Marx in Soho’ and Wallace Shawn’s ‘The Fever’ over the next few days in Cork City. The last time actor and activist Jerry Levy graced these shores he had sell out shows across the country and so it will be this time around as he performs these two seminal works.
Together the plays illustrate the humanity, care and frailty that lie at the heart of struggles in solidarity for justice and equality. His one person performance are simply brilliant as Jerry brings to life the nuances and contradictions in both Zinn and Shawn complimentary pieces.
Come see them yourself and you’ll be talking for ages as Jerry himself often rejoins the audience after the show to break down the barriers between performers and consumers.
First up is a full day workshop in Theatre of the Oppressed techniques in the Cork Circus Space on Albert Quay. It runs from 10am – 5pm and there are still some spaces available. It’s €40 for the day. Theatre of the Oppressed describes a range of theatrical forms that the Brazilian theatre practitioner Augusto Boal first elaborated on in the 1960s. Boals techniques use theatre as means of knowledge and transformation of reality in the social and relational field. In the Theatre of the Oppressed, the audience becomes active, such that as “spect-actors” they explore, show, analyze and transform the reality in which they are living.
From 10am – 12pm we’re delighted to be hosting teenage poetry readings in the Cork Central Library. ‘Why Can’t you Write Something Happier’ is the second book of poetry and prose from the young members of the Colaiste an Phiarsaigh creative writing group which has been facilitated by Cork poet Kathy D’Arcy since 2011. So why not pop in and listen to these talented young writers read their sometimes hilarious, sometimes thought-provoking work.
Solidarity Books on Douglas Street are hosting a day of talks beginning at 10am with ‘Time Banking’. At 12pm there will be a discussion on Autonomy and the financial system, at 2pm a talk on Counter-culture and counter-power in the 18th century and at 3.30pm a workshop about building a personal and collectively more sustainable resistance. Veg Out, a vegan café, will be doing food during the talks and discussions.
Bloom Boom is a street performance piece that will be ongoing throughout the afternoon on the streets of Cork City centre. Kathryn Crowley will be bringing the colours of nature to the concrete and spreading some smiles, giving out flowers, positive quotes and poetry.
At 4pm at The Roundy Round House Productions will be showing their one woman show, ‘Magazine’. A show about city life, the media, living the ideal and coming to terms with loss and grief.
At the same time as the theatre show we’ll be hosting two workshops at The Camden Palace Hotel. The first is a Comedy Workshop at 4pm presented by comedian Aidan Killeen and the second is a Spontaneous Speech Workshop at 4.30pm, in the same venue, and run by Dave Rocks.
At 6.30pm in The Roundy the wonderful Pearse McGloughlin and the Nocturnes and special guest Justin Grounds will be performing a chilled out set inbetween the madness of the Rugby European Cup Final and the Football Champions League Final.
Then more theatre at 8pm in The Camden Palace Hotel where Crooked Wheel Productions will be performing ‘Couch’. It’s a short play about Rachel, Leah and the people in their life. The focal point of the play is the couch – both Rachel’s and Leah’s. Rachel has one but disdains it while Leah’s couch is colonised, soiled and ultimately swapped for something she really doesn’t want but is compelled to take. At only 50 minutes it’s well worth checking out. Best of all it’s donations only.
So tomorrows line up for our DIY Arts Festival is a really full programme of events with everything from circus to comedy, spoken word to theatre and film to music.
Kicking off at 6m at The Triskel Arts Centre are the Lords Of Strut, Ireland’s hardest working Man – Band . They’re premiering their new show, ‘Sell Out Tour’, which I’m assured will blow your minds and bring you to your knees laughing.
So who are these kings of comedy, these clowns of manlihood? Well they’re a two man band; Famous Seamus and his bumbling younger brother Seantastic who seems to be – in the eyes of Seamus – the only reason they’ve not reached the heights of fame which Seamus expects of his untouchable talents.Expect satire, surrealism and silly comedy with flashes of surprising acrobatic skill and dance routines.
At 7pm we have our seventh Mutant Shorts Film Competition at The Roundy. This time round we decided on the theme of ‘Lego’ so it’ll be interesting to see what the filmmakers have come up with. And as always a big thanks must go out to the Cork Film Centre who have donated a prize of three days free film equipment rental.
At 8pm Terry Dineen will be performing her one woman show, ‘The Birth Day’ at The Camden Palace Hotel. It tells the story of a woman who plunges herself into an emotional journey through life. On the way significant scenes are depicted from her birth, through her youth, to middle age. We follow her life as she discovers the joys and pains of sex, love and work in her struggle to come to terms with herself and the world she lives in.
This is a text based work explored through visual images, music, movement, puppetry and clown.
At 9pm is our Mutant Cabaret – the chance for all mutants to perform at The Roundy. We have a great line up all MCed by the fantastic Tina Pisco. On the bill are: Dave Rock, a poet and performer based in Galway whose stage poetry comes in many flavours but is sure to involve high-energy joyous physical works and works of raw emotion and possibly some freestyling. Aidan Killian, a banker turned comedian…nothing apparently funny about that but it is. Very funny. Kathy D’Arcy a young writer whose first poetry collection, Encounter, was published by Lapwing in 2010. She has worked as a doctor and a teacher and is currently involved in youth work with homeless teenagers in Cork. She is also a playwright and part of a performance group of four women, Catch the Moon, who have appeared in Cork and at the Durrow and Flatlake Literary Festivals. Deirdre Tunney is a young performer who loves to sing and is going to join in wherever possible. Horsemen Pass By (formerly known as Beastmen B-Side Sessions) are a two – piece band playing original soundtracks to recut forgotten films. Using guitars, electronic beats, sampled horns, strings and the occasional choir their show promises weird visuals set against spaghetti western, Soviet sci-fi, 50s documentary and zombie horror sounds. Anja Bakker is a recorder player, harper, singer and conductor who lives in West Cork and will be performing with Tina Pisco who asides from being the MC is also a published writer and poet.
Last Friday was the 106th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Beckett whose prose and plays are among the greatest modernist works of the 20th Century. So on this blog we’re celebrating with ‘Waiting For Godot’ and some memories from Harold Pinter.
First, the film version of my all time favourite play, ‘Waiting For Godot’. It’s a wonderful film version of the play. It so happens that I was fortunate enough to have seen these two actors – regarded as the greatest exponents of Becketts work, Barry McGovern, who plays Vladimir and Johnny Murphy as Estragon - many years ago in The Gate Theatre in Dublin. It was a very special birthday present from my wife. An unforgettable production.
The video comes from a series of adaptions of all of Beckett’s 19 plays called Beckett on Film which was organized by Michael Colgan, artistic director of the Gate Theatre in Dublin. The director of this film version, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, described ’Waiting for Godot’ as being “like Mozart–too easy for children, too difficult for adults.” He goes on:
The play is what it is about. Samuel Beckett would have said it’s about two men waiting on the side of the road for someone to turn up. But you can invest in the importance of who is going to turn up. Is it a local farmer? Is it God? Or is it simply someone who doesn’t show up? The important thing is the ambiguity–the fact that it doesn’t really state what it is. That’s why it’s so great for the audience to be part of–they fill in a lot of the blanks. It works in their imaginations.
Skills exchange members, Roundhouse Productions, are producing a development piece called ‘The Ecstasy of Life’ on Friday 6th April at The Triskel Arts Centre, Cork City.
The project is an exploration of child-loss and identity, based on three distinct voices: one of these is a woman and her story: the experience of losing a baby. Another is, in a sense, the voice of eternal life, a burst of energy, a sperm perhaps, the essence of life on an explosive journey, the journey to the womb, etc. The third is the voice of society/religion/science/textbook-education, the unhelpful voices in the experience that don’t accommodate the truth of the Woman’s experience.
Over this week a combination of performers and artists: actors, musicians, physical theatre/dancer/movers, and visual artists and of course, the writer Jennifer Rogers will be working on the piece at The Triskel Arts Centre with a public sharing of the work at 6pm. So why not sheck it out if you’re about Cork on Friday.
Have you got a story that you want to write? An idea for a play, a movie, a novel or short story that you want to get started on but can’t? Have you got a first draft that isn’t quite right, but you don’t know what to do with it now?
I’m running a writing workshop at the Triskel Theatre Development Centre in Cork, on the 13th – 17th of February. The workshop is for writers who need a space to experiment, who want to get inspired, or just need a little encouragement to start putting pen to paper.
Exercises will be focused on finding inspiration in the world around you, or in your everyday experiences, on experimenting with how limits and changes in your writing environment can impact on the work you produce, as well as how participating in other creative art forms (movement, visual arts) can then be fed back into your writing.
At the end of the week, we will choose one or two pieces from each writer to be performed by actors in front of a friendly audience, allowing writers another perspective on their work.
Sometimes I think that having someone to play with can make all the difference to how successful you are as an artist. Of course some art forms are by their nature solitary such as; writing, composing, painting, sculpture and so on however the desire to engage, debate, question and explore is always better shared. Living in a bubble never does anyone any good. Nothing good comes out of a bubble. This question often pops into my head when I find myself floating through a gathering like a ghostly apparition as I was on Friday evening at the launch of the Theatre Development Centre in The Triskel Arts Centre, Cork.
The Centre is in my view a huge step forward for the arts in Cork. A space dedicated to the development of new work, a free space for practitioners to investigate, experiment and collaborate on new work, new ideas. Most importantly the centre insists that artists perform their work in progress before an audience at the end of their weekly residency. This single rule gives artists an impetus, a discipline and much needed feedback and constructive criticism. It can only be a good thing.
I was at a meeting last night for a development that is currently underway in the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork. Corcadorca Theatre Company are setting up a New Theatre Development Centre in the venue. It’s an exciting venture for both the theatre community in the city as well as for the Triskel Arts Centre which, to be frank, has languished in the past number of years. Corcadorca are only one of three companies moving into the building the others being the independent record shop, Plug’d Records and The Black Mariah Gallery. All good news
It was an interesting meeting. I haven’t been to a collective meeting for some time as I find they’re often full of hot air and bluster with little being accomplished. Last night was not the case. A small number of people made the case for their practice and how they saw themselves fitting into the centre working while others made suggestions on how the centre might be run – ideas that were based on previous experiences in other venues across Ireland and elsewhere.
I was there to offer our online resource as a means to get things done in terms of creative input, production, management and marketing. I am not involved in theatre but the idea of an open space for play, development and experimentation plays a large part in what our skills exchange is all about and I was keen to push that point home. We shall see in due course what happens.
The day before the night of – yes, yes, yes, the Trash Culture Revue is upon us. I’m unusually calm, drinking tea and nibbling biscuits as if there’s no tomorrow. Everything is sorted, in its place – well, I think it is, it appears to be anyhow. Now it’s just a matter of being prepared to put out fires that are bound to flare up (not literally) and enjoy the cabaret, poetry, magic, music, film, sound installations and theatre that’s going to be running over the next three days and nights.
In some ways the Revue has already started, beginning last night on National radio. What a blast, a privilege, fantastic, superb, special, exciting. In a purely egocentric way it somehow compounded the value of what we’re doing, trying to achieve. It made me feel good, still does, took some of the burden off my shoulders, the weight of hopelessness that I always seem to carry with me as I stumble forwards trying, pushing, to make myself heard above the din of the cultural industry, the arts sector, the consumer ravaged arts landscape that we all work in. Being on national radio is a sign, an indication, that there are people who care, feel that what we’re doing is important, are listening and that all the hard work that those in mutantspace.com do is not wasted, that we’re not all screaming into a vacuum.
The arts show, Arena, on which we had a one hour live special has been the most supportive programme for mutantspace.com and the Trash Culture Revue. The producer of the show is brilliant and to see how she creates an arc, some sort of narrative out of what is essential a random collection of events by a wide and varied mix of people is really quite extraordinary. The amusing aspect of doing the live special is that it is the first time that many of the members of mutantspace.com meet each other in real space. I don’t know who they are and they have no idea of who I am nor anyone else. Up until the moment we introduce each other I am email@example.com nothing more. I am a cipher, an email, a profile made up of bytes. It is this transference of cyber space into real space that I am most taken aback by. By the time the show is over everyone is having a laugh, nattering away and drinking pints as if they’ve known each other for years. For what brings them together is a commonality, a knowledge that they are all people who believe that collective action can and will make a difference, that through the sharing of resources we’ll all do better, all get further and most importantly that those within mutantspace.com will support them, will listen to them, will keep their back. For me that is quite profound.
So, back to my tea. If you’re reading this and are around Cork over the next three days or know people that live here, are visiting, please send them to a Trash Culture event. There is something for most people and I promise you the vibe will be great – it’s a party, a get together, a celebration of human connection and co-operation. For more info go to http://www.mutantspace.com/the-trash-culture-revue/
our next DIY arts festival, the Trash Culture Revue, will take place sometime towards the end of the year. So if you want to create, produce, get involved, play, experiment, try stuff out, have fun, design, administrate, organise, volunteer or just come along then let me know
we provide free creative and production skills for your arts projects and events through our skills exchange so you can experiment, fail, make and play no matter who you are, where you are, what you do or when you do it