Young Critics Panel Discussion at Dublin Theatre Festival 2017 (Full Audio)

The Young Critics Panel discussion took place at Project Cube on Sunday Oct 8th as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Listen to full audio here are our panelists discuss three shows in front of a live audience.  Chaired by Helen Meany.

 

Our Panelists were:

The Second Violinist

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Young Critics Panelists for The Second Violinist

Tadhg Carey – Celbridge Youth Drama, Co. Kildare 

Molly Foley – Activate Youth Theatre, Cork

Cian McGrath – Free Radicals Youth Theatre, Tralee, Co. Kerry

Aaron Dobson – Leitrim Youth Theatre Company, Carrigallen

 

Class 

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Young Critics Panelists for Class

David Quinn – Monaghan Youth Theatre 

Sean McManus – Dublin Youth Theatre 

Lara Coady – Explore Youth Theatre, Leixlip, Co.Kildare 

Caoimhe Kenny – Roscommon County Youth Theatre

 

Hamnet

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Young Critics Panelists for Hamnet

Luke Murphy – Lightbulb Youth Theatre, Mallow, Co.Cork

Vanessa Byrne – Mayo Youth Theatre 

Kiara Toal – Monaghan Youth Theatre 

Ella McGill – Complex Youth Theatre, Dublin

 

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Youth Theatre Ireland Young Critics at Dublin Theatre Festival 2017

Youth Theatre Ireland’s Young Critics Set For Dublin Theatre Festival

With the Dublin Theatre Festival starting today we are gearing up for  Youth Theatre Ireland’s Young Critics  to return once again to the DTF.

Since April, the Young Critics have been honing their critical  skills through workshops and online discussion with the support of professional theatre critics and facilitators. They have also been seeing lots of theatre, collaborating  with a group of Scottish  Young Critics and creating  their own criticism in familiar and unusual forms…

The Young Critics, representing youth theatre from all over Ireland, come together from Oct 6th – 8th, to see a number of shows, and take part in the Young Critics Panel on Sunday Oct 8th. 

The three productions the Young Critics are going to see are:

 

 

 

With Young Critics representing Kerry, Kildare, Cork, Leitrim,Dublin, Monaghan, Mayo and Roscommon there are workshops, lively discussions and the Young Critics Panel itself. Here the Young Critics will get the opportunity to voice their considerable opinion on the work of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

 

Join us Oct 8th at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin at 1pm. This year’s panel will be chaired by Helen Meany.

Young Critics International Exchange by Luke Murphy

Creative Commons is a 2-year project funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme.  It provides Youth Theatre Ireland and  Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, our sister organisation in Scotland, with the opportunity to share best practice across sectors and build new resources in Young Critics practice and Young Leader mentorship and skills development.

The Young Critics International Exchange brought 24 together from Ireland and Scotland for five days in Dublin. During the Easter holidays, the group took part in workshops and saw a number of professional productions at theatres across the city.

Luke Murphy from Lightbulb Youth Theatre in Mallow, Co. Cork was selected to take part in the programme.

Here Luke reflects on those five days in Dublin. 

“Youth Theatre Ireland’s Young Critics International Exchange  2017 was a fantastic experience that both provided skills in forming critical opinions on theatre, as well as exploring the different means of doing so. What resulted was five enjoyable days in Dublin city.

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Young Critics Aaron Dobson (L) and Luke Murphy (R)

Arriving at the GPO, I met up with 13 other Irish youth theatre members, as well as some of the staff from Youth Theatre Ireland. Immediately I was faced with a whole group of friendly people who seemed just as excited for the week’s events as I was. We travelled to the Marino Institute, which was where our workshops and accommodation were located. Upon arriving, we met an additional ten youth theatre members from Scotland. This were all members of  groups affiliated to Youth Theatre Arts Scotland. One of the things that impressed me the most about the experience was how well everyone got along, and how quickly friendships formed.

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Theatre Critic Gareth Vile workshops with the Young Critics

Of course, the workshops were a great way of achieving this. We would each get our own time to express opinions of the various productions we saw, as well as what we were expecting prior to the performances. I found that discussing theatre can be just as exciting as watching it live. It was incredible to see the different perspectives from which people approached the shows we saw. The best thing about the workshops, was how they felt at the same time both a focused discussion on a piece of theatre, and a casual chat about a play.

The shows in question were The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Silent, and The Train. I think overall everyone enjoyed the productions, whether it was viewing them or discussing their reactions afterwards. The plays were very diverse in themes and style, from one man shows to musicals. This allowed us to review different types of theatre, and the elements that these consisted of.

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Theatre Critic Karen Fricker (L) listens on as the Young Critics give their opinions

We were guided by a professional group of leaders, who each had their own experience in theatre. They helped us structure reviews, and explore modes of reviewing other than writing, for example vlogging and podcasts. They were very friendly and approachable, accepting questions on how to improve our own skills.

Each day held a new experience. The workshops were unique, each focusing on particular skills crucial to a critic. We also had the chance to explore parts of Dublin city, and enter some of the most famous theatres in the country, such as The Abbey and The Gaiety. I’d never been to any of these theatres before, so getting to see productions in them was a great experience.

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Luke Murphy and fellow Young Critics enjoying some social time in Dublin

I can genuinely say the I made great friends and memories at Young Critics 2017 and I hope to continue the experience in the months to come, between discussing theatre online, and meeting up with the other young critics once again at the Dublin Theatre Festival. I am delighted to be involved in this project, and it has really peaked my interest in theatre, as well as how to critique it.”

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The 24 Young Critics from across Ireland and Scotland at the Abbey Theatre

 

Luke and his fellow young critics will be seeing some shows at their local venues over the summer. They will be making critical responses and we will be posting a selection of them here over the coming months.  You can follow the exploits of the Scottish Young Critics here 

 

 

 

 

Young Critics International Exchange 2017 – Applications Now Open

Creative Commons: Working together to support youth theatre development

Young Critics International Exchange 2017 - Applications Now Open

Young Critics International Exchange 2017

NAYD are looking for 14 young people, aged 16 – 20, with an interest in learning about and developing skills in creative criticism in theatre.

NAYD is delighted to be partnering with Youth Theatre Arts Scotland to run a 5-day Young Critics International Exchange in Dublin. Part of a 3-year joint project called Creative Commons supported by the European Union via its Erasmus+ programme, the exchange will support each young person to develop their individual critical response process, their understanding of theatre and an individual voice.

When?   Monday 10 – Friday 14 April 2017
Where?  Dublin
Cost?     FREE

CREATIVE COMMONS PROGRAMME

As a Young Critic, you will join 13 other young people from all over Ireland and 10 young people from Scotland in Dublin from April 10th – 14th.

Over the 5 action-packed days, participants will have fun getting to know each other, attend theatre productions, participate in a series of workshops and discussions as well as exploring the theatres and city of Dublin.  Accommodation and workshops will be based at the Marino Institute of Education.

Participants are given the opportunity to see quality productions and develop their critical silks under the mentorship of professional theatre critics Dr. Karen Fricker and Gareth Vile. Workshops will be facilitated by NAYD’s Youth Theatre Officer Alan King and YTAS Theatre Practitioner Amy Watt.

In addition, there will be Young Critics activities taking place in the months after the International Exchange.  Participants will continue the critical conversation on the Young Critics Blog where they will be encouraged to see, and make critical responses to, local productions.

The Irish group will come together in a similar way in October as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.
The Scottish group will come together again for a weekend in August to take part in a series of workshops and to see productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to build and hone the critical and creative skills developed in April.

At the end of the project, participants will qualify for a Youthpass, which is a European award recognizing non-formal and informal learning in youth work.

No prior experience is necessary, just an enthusiasm for learning and collaborating!  We are looking for young people who are comfortable meeting new people, working in a highly focused way and are not afraid to share their thoughts and opinions with each other.

ELIGIBILITY

• Applicants must be aged 16 – 20 on 1 April 2017.

• Applicants must be a current member of an NAYD affiliated Youth Theatre.

• Selected participants must be fully available from Monday 10 – Friday 14 April 2017 inclusive, willing to continue the critical conversation online and attend a follow up weekend event as part of Dublin Theatre Festival in October (dates tbc).

HOW TO APPLY

In order to offer individual advice and guidance on developing each young person’s critical skills, places on the programme are limited to 24 (14 from Ireland and 10 from Scotland)
We are looking for young people who are comfortable meeting new people, working in a highly focused way and are not afraid to share their thoughts and opinions with each other.

For full details on how to apply please  download our information pack and application form here  . Please provide us with the information asked for on the form and post your application no later than 5pm on Monday 6 February 2017. You can answer the application questions in writing or if you prefer via a video or voice recording (no longer than 2-3 minutes).

If you have any questions, please contact Alan King

Dates

April 10-14

Venue

Dublin

Bookings

Closing Date For Applications is 5pm Monday 6 February 2017

NAYD Young Critics at The Dublin Theatre Festival by Pierce McNee

It’s almost two month since the Young Critics panel discussion at the Dublin Theatre Festival. Pierce McNee from Dundalk reflects on three action packed days in Dublin. 

Friday Oct 7th 2016 

It was an eventful afternoon in Dublin, as ever.  Across the street a drum was was being beaten and a group of dancers performed to a large crowd. We were all reunited at the GPO and it felt like an age since the last time we had all seen each other. A great feeling came upon us all as we knew we were in for an absolute treat of a weekend.

 We could not wait!

We made our way to the Dublin Fringe Festival Lab, where we had our first workshop discussing what the Dublin Theatre Festival is, the different elements of the festival and what makes it different from going to see a play which is not running at a theatre festival. We also discussed the Project Arts Centre and its history.

After having some tasty pizza and further discussions, we headed over to the Project Arts Centre to see our first show of the weekend: Wishful Beginnings. This was a show that I think we can all safely say we will never forget! 

After the show we made our way back to the Marino Institute of Education whilst having intense post-show discussions as a group about Wishful Beginnings. This was by far the most interesting discussion I’ve had about a play as every single one of us had a different opinion. Some people loved it and some people hated. Not only that but everyone had their own ideas in regards to the themes explored in the show and how they were explored.

We returned to Marino and got ready for bed. Not one of us could cease to ponder on Wishful Beginnings.

Sat Oct 8th 2016

The next morning we had our second workshop where we discussed the history of the two most well known theatres in Ireland: The Abbey Theatre and The Gate Theatre. We talked about the nature of the plays they showcase and their target audience, as well as many other areas.

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In preparation for the Gate’s production of The Father by Florian Zeller. Photo Credit: Alan King


We would be going to see a play in the Gate that day. The play was called The Father. We discussed this play as well as our second play of the day: Alien Documentary, which was a piece of documentary theatre. This was something that I had never seen before.

After this, we went to see The Father. We also had the opportunity to meet with some of the stars of the show, Owen Roe, Fiona Bell and Peter Gaynor backstage. We had the chance to ask them some questions about the show. 

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Backstage at the Gate Theatre Dublin with the stars of The Father- Owen Roe, Fiona Bell and Peter Gaynor. Photo Credit: Alan King


We then had lunch in the NAYD offices. This was hugely interesting as we got to see the workplace of the people who are in charge of all youth drama across Ireland.

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The Young Critics got to visit the engine room of NAYD. Number Great Georges St. Dublin. Photo Credit: Alan King


Next it was off to the Jervis shopping centre for a quick spot of window-shopping and hot-chocolate drinking. It was then time for Alien Documentary. This was was being staged in the Project Arts Centre. When we got there I proceeded to take a quick trip to the toilet. As I was about entering the toilets, who did I meet? None other than PJ Gallagher himself. The famous Irish comedian and actor. He would be starring in Alien Documentary.

I will now be known by him as “that lad I met coming out of the jacks”!

When we got back to Marino, we all contributed eagerly to conversations on the plays we had seen that day. We also indulged in a few delicious chocolate treats to fuel our talks.

Sunday Oct 9th

On Sunday morning, we had one final workshop where we discussed each play we had seen and gave our opinions on them. We then prepared ourselves for our final Young Critics task: taking part in the  NAYD Young Critics Panel.

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Dr. Karen Fricker in discussion with Young Critics Pierce McNee and Jack Synnott. Photo Credit: Alan King

This was where we were split into groups based on which of the three plays we wished to speak about. I decided that that I would like to speak about The Father. We would be giving our opinions and discussing the play in front of an audience of roughly fifty people and Dr. Karen Fricker would chair the discussions.

First we participated in a mock panel with Karen in order to become familiar with what the proceedings would involve. I was slightly nervous but I knew that I would have my Young Critics colleagues as well as Karen and Alan there to support me.

We concluded the panel with an opportunity for audience members to ask us, the Young Critics, any questions they had regarding the plays we had seen or any element of the Young Critics experience.

As soon as the Q&A session ended, we all came to the realisation that our time on the NAYD Young Critics Programme had now finished. We all had an immensely melancholic feeling. However, we knew that we would all remain friends and chat regularly. We also knew that we would keep in contact with Alan King and the NAYD. Our time as NAYD Young Critics might have come to an end but our time as young critics outside of the programme had only just begun.

This has been a truly incredible experience for me. I would like to thank Alan King and Dr. Karen Fricker. As well as Debbie, Graham, Ciara and everyone at the NAYD for making the programme possible. I would recommend the NAYD Young Critics Programme to absolutely everyone.

Pierce McNee is a member of Dundalk Youth Theatre and was an NAYD Young Critic for 2016

Town is Dead – A Podcast Review by NAYD Young Critic Méabh Hennelly

Way back in June, NAYD Young Critic Méabh Hennelly took a visit to the Peacock Theatre to view Town is Dead by Philip McMahon.

In this podcast Méabh is joined by her friend Isabel Horner to cast their critical eye on Town is Dead.

CREDITS

Méabh is an NAYD Young Critic for 2016 and a member of Dublin Youth Theatre. 

Méabh was also a participant in NAYD’S Watching the NationOnStage and this review is also posted on Watching the NationOnStage Blog.

Wishful Beginnings Reviewed by NAYD Young Critic Emily McGee

The NAYD Young Critics came to Dublin from the 7th – 9th of October for the Dublin Theatre Festival. They attend three productions as part of the Festival. Here Young Critic Emily McGee reviews Verk Produksjoner’s Wishful Beginnings at Project Arts Centre.

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Wishful Beginnings . Photo Credit: http://verkproduksjoner.no/

Wishful Beginnings

Wishful Beginnings: undoubtedly a show with the power to start the revolution that our world today needs most.

Upon entering the theatre of the Project Arts Centre on the 7th of October 2016, the audience suddenly, with or without realising, became immersed in the concept that Verk Produksjoner placed before us. The first thing that you can’t help but notice is the towering plywood wall reaching from the floor upwards, seemingly with no end. This wall was placed at the front of the stage, leaving the actors with a stage approximately no more than two metres in width. Seemingly random costume and prop items lined the outer aisles, where the actors waited to begin.

Between the towering wall of the set, and being entirely surrounded by five actors in various stages of curious costumes, to an extent, the audience couldn’t help but feel somewhat enclosed within the space. This made a very bold and effective addition to the performance as it really aided in exposing the concept of the piece.

Wishful Beginnings is not your traditional piece of theatre, but that’s precisely what I loved most about it. It was more of a conceptual, contemporary, abstract piece of theatre. It took an in-depth look at our world and our society at this present moment in time, and explored through means of improvisation and symbolic or metaphorical scenes, what our future will look like if we continue as we are.

Verk Produksjoner touch on topics such as; fashion and popular culture, mental health and self-harm, industrialisation, LGBTQ+ rights, and animal cruelty. These topics were approached in a rather artful way by using metaphors and symbolism, truly advocating the “show, don’t tell” technique. However, as this technique was so well put to use that, on the surface, it almost seemed as though none of these topics were covered. It was only when the symbolism (ranging from the use of costume, prop, script, and lighting tools) became fully understood, did these topics, or “social issues” and the concept of the piece, become the plot.

 

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Wishful Beginnings. Photo Credit: http://verkproduksjoner.no/

The acting from all of the actors was to a very high standard. It was very natural and credible. Espen Klouman Hoiner, in one scene in particular, gave an outstanding, powerful and moving performance portraying a painful death. The performances overall were very impressive, especially so when taking into account that parts of the show were improvised. Despite this, the show flowed seamlessly, the improvised scenes becoming almost indistinguishable from the rehearsed, adding to the authenticity of the entire production.

Overall, Wishful Beginnings was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It was truly a powerful and moving artwork. However, as enjoyable and powerful as I found it to be, I understand that this show is not suited to everybody, as it may be difficult for some to fully grasp the concept, and therefore, the “plot” of the piece. Wishful Beginnings is most definitely a show that I’m glad not to have missed.

Cast and Creative Team: 

With and by Fredrik Hannestad, Saila Hyttinen, Tilo Hahn,  Signe Becker, Solveig Laland Mohn,  Håkon Mathias Vassvik, Per Platou,  Anders Mossling, Espen Klouman  Høiner, Pernille Mogensen,  Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk,  Jon Refsdal Moe, Agnes Gry

Project Arts Centre  as part of Dublin Theatre Festival

Co-production by Black Box TeaterBIT-Teatergarasjen and Teaterhuset Avant Garden.

Emily McGee was a Young Critic for 2016 and a member of Kilkenny Youth Theatre 

Review of The State Of The Nation by NAYD Young Critic Rita Havlin

In the run up to the Young Critics Panel as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival on Oct 9th, we’ve been publishing a series of written reviews by our Young Critics.

In our final review, Rita Havlin from Donegal Youth Theatre reviews The State Of The Nation by Conor Malone

Reviewed 4 June, 2016
Written by Conor Malone, directed by Charlie Bonner
Balor Developmental Community Arts
Balor Arts Centre, Co. Donegal

The State Of The Nation is a political satire questioning Ireland’s progress since the 1916 Rising. The play is set during a poker game in the afterlife, during which four famous figures of Irish politics, Thomas Davies (James Lawne), Jim Larkin (Peter Byrne), Michael Collins (Cillian O’Gairbhí), and Charlie Haughey (Conal Gallen), discuss the changes in the country over the last hundred years and the issues it still faces. I found this to be a very interesting way to frame this debate, literally asking “Is this the Ireland the revolutionaries dreamed of?”

A simple set design helps the audience focus on the content of the play. The action takes place on a raised white platform around a large table; a hat stand and a sideboard with decanters of whiskey stand at either end of the platform. Dim lighting and smoke set the scene for a classic game of poker, while a green backlight gives a supernal feel. This worked extremely well in balancing the realistic with the non-naturalistic.

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Conal Gallen, James Lawne, Peter Byrne, Cillian O’Gairbhi in rehearsals for The State Of The Nation. Photo Credit: Mark Fearon

The actors did a superb job in balancing the speech and mannerisms of different points in history, making no word or action feel out of place while also managing to maintain realistic and strongly recognizable characters. Their only downfall, which was perhaps a fault of the play itself, was a lack of movement, as the actors only left the table to refill their whiskey.

Indeed the writing is where The State of the Nation falls short. The play is meant to be comedic, and while no lines fall completely flat and some earn a hearty laugh from the audience, many jokes are overused or too similar to previous ones, and quickly lose their punch. The play touches on many important issues such as government salaries and corruption, the introduction of water charges, and the cost of education, but brought up in such a short space of time each issue begins to sound the same and each discussion seems half-baked. There is no suggested solution for any issue, and so no debate feels complete before the play moves on to a new topic.

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Poster design by Alan Reid

Staged as part of the Donegal County Council’s 1916 Commemoration, the play aims to celebrate Ireland as the country grows and develops, which it does to a degree, but it felt a little too critical of the nation to do this fully. The play fails to address the rich culture and art that Ireland has to offer, or the ways in which Ireland has progressed farther than many countries, focusing instead on the country’s political failings. However I must compliment the cast and crew as this production, despite its weaknesses, left me feeling satisfied, appropriately patriotic, and chuckling as I left the theatre.

Come join Rita and all our Young Critics on October 9th at 1pm at Project Arts Centre. 

They will be critiquing three productions as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2016. 

Shakespeare’s Globe Taming Of The Shrew. Reviewed by NAYD Young Critic Pierce McNee

In the latest in our series of Young Critics reviews, Pierce McNee from Dundalk Youth Theatre traveled to London to see The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe.

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, directed by Caroline Byrne

Cast: Aoife Duffin, Amy Conroy, Louis Dempsey, Imogen Doel, Colm Gormley, Aaron Heffernan, Genevieve Hulme-Beaman, Raymond Keane, Gary Lilburn, Edward MacLiam and Helen Norton

Performed at Shakespeare’s Globe; reviewed on Monday, 18th July 2016

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Set against the backdrop of Dublin 1916, this is a classic play with an alternative twist, featuring an all-Irish cast. This choice of setting — one hundred years after the events that sparked Ireland’s drive towards independence — makes the staging of this production extremely significant. Katherine (Aoife Duffin) appears on the stage at the start of play and sings, passionately, an Irish ballad written by Morna Regan (dramaturg and lyricist) especially for the production. This firmly establishes the 1916 setting and showcases Duffin as a standout performer and a force to be reckoned with.

The Taming of the Shrew tells the story of two sisters, Katherine and Bianca. Bianca is intensely keen on being married off to a handsome suitor. Katherine has no ambitions to become attached to a man. There is one problem: Bianca cannot marry before Katherine, a.k.a. the shrew, is herself paired off.

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Going in, I was rather sceptical as to whether or not the production would cater for only an Irish audience, but it does not overly enforce the 1916 theme, which only becomes apparent on a few occasions. For example, a small fraction of the history is played out in the lyrics of Katherine’s two ballads. This make the theme subtly present throughout the performance but the production is kept grounded overall in the original story.

Caroline Byrne’s production is full of side-splitting antics whilst still exposing the serious and sometimes poignant aspects of the play. The misogynistic elements are portrayed with the earnest tone they deserve. The comedic facet is aided in particular by Aaron Heffernan as Lucentio, with his incredible physical comedy and natural wittiness.

Other notable performances include Edward MacLiam as Petruchio, who offers a truly gritty portrayal of the character. He brings an amazing sense of tension with Katherine and this really keeps the audience on the edge of their seats for the intense scenes between them. Helen Norton as Grumio plays her character with great jocularity but also sincerity in the more sombre scenes.

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The set, designed by Chiara Stephenson, starts with the traditional Globe stage design with its balcony and pillars. A large black structure is built into the opening at the upstage centre of the stage. This opens up at various points to reveal a staircase. At certain moments during the first half, the stage becomes a 1916 classroom as a prodigious abacus and an anatomical skeleton hurtle onto the stage. A pit of dirty water also appears at the downstage centre of the stage in which Katherine stands while singing one of her ballads.

The costumes, also in Stephenson’s more than capable hands, are eminently satisfactory and greatly fitting to the production. Many of the costumes are 1916-inspired with the women’s pieces heavily influenced by the Gibson Girl look. This also introduces the theme of women’s rights one hundred years ago and also in today’s society. The final speech, delivered by Katherine, allows us to reflect on how much has changed in terms of women’s rights since 1916, when women were so poorly treated.

Pierce is an NAYD Young Critic for 2016 and a member of Dundalk Youth Theatre in Co. Louth.

Come join Pierce and all our Young Critics on October 9th at 1pm at Project Arts Centre.  They will be critiquing three productions as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2016. 

 

 

 

 

Invitation to a Journey. Reviewed by NAYD Young Critic Ciara Lummis

Invitation to a Journey

CoisCéim, Fishamble, Crash Ensemble & Galway International Arts Festival

Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar

Reviewed on 21 July 2016

€22 million – the figure Eileen Gray’s Dragon Chair sold for in 2009. That’s all most people know about her. This production uncovers a great deal more than this fact, exploring the personal encounters in Gray’s life and sharing the accomplishments of this Irish artist with the Irish public.

Invitation to a Journey explores Gray’s life in vivid detail, from her colourful relationship with Damia, her French lover (portrayed powerfully by Kate Brennan), to her innovative career as an architect and designer. It is a co-production of Fishamble: The New Play Company, CoisCéim Dance Theatre, the contemporary music group Crash Ensemble and Galway International Arts Festival, and is written and performed in a groundbreaking way. The roles of the three dancers, three actors, and four musicians are melded to the extent that in some scenes it is difficult to tell them apart, especially in one scene where Damia and the dancers fight over a chair, all essentially becoming dancers.

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Invitation to a Journey. Photo: Ros Kavanagh

 

The musicians wear costumes suited to the era and have their hair crimped in a ‘20s style, which connects them to the dancers in particular, as they have the same hairstyle. (In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that my mother Deirdre O’Leary was involved in this production as one of the musicians).

The show opens with the three dancers offering their interpretation of Gray’s architecture through movement. Half a dozen nine-foot-tall doors on either side of the stage are then flung open by the remaining cast members, which segues into the auction of the dragon chair. As the cast bid for the chair, Ingrid Craigie — the actor playing Eileen Gray — sits in a chair behind them and becomes fleetingly visible as the bidders exit the stage and the lights dim. Her presence becomes much stronger as the show progresses, although at times that presence is overshadowed by the sheer amount of things going on onstage.

Halfway through, the show enacts the construction of e.1027, the iconic house Gray designed for herself and her lover the Romanian architect Jean Badovici. String outlining the foundations is taped to the stage by one of the dancers as Gray struts around the stage carrying blueprints. Only shortly afterwards, Le Corbusier (played by Ronan Leahy) paints lewd murals on the pristine walls of e.1027, nude.

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In an era when most women were married off, Eileen Gray was openly bisexual, almost insanely driven, and creative. She was modern when it wasn’t mainstream and this show echoes that crazy creative determination that possessed her. While this show ambitiously melds the roles of dancer, actor and musician, it would be interesting to see what the difference in dynamic would be if the musicians had more dialogue with the rest of the cast and if Gray was more involved in scenes with the dancers. The mixture of concrete and abstract information presented through the different art forms gave a strong impression of someone’s personality. It seemed to be trying to express an inner creativity and drive that I now associate with Eileen Gray.

 

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Ciara is an NAYD Young Critic for 2016 and a member of Fracture/ Play Youth Theatre in Tipperary

Come join Ciara and all our Young Critics on October 9th at 1pm at Project Arts Centre.  They will be critiquing three productions as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2016.