Radiohead – An NAYD Young Critic’s Review of Glitch. Review by Louis Flanagan

As the Young Critics hit the stage of the Dublin Theatre Festival  on Oct 9th , we will publishing a series of written reviews from our Young Critics.  

In the first of our reviews Louis Flanagan from Droichead Youth Theatre reviews  Calipo Theatre Company’s production of Glitch by Martin Maguire

Glitch by Martin Maguire

Produced by Calipo Theatre Co.

Directed by Darren Thornton

Cast: Martin Maguire & Grainne Rafferty

Droichead Arts Centre

June 22nd- 24th  2016

Calipo Theatre Company’s return to theatreland has been a long time coming. Nearly five years after the success of Pineapple by Philip McMahon at the 2011 Drogheda Arts Festival, the troupe recently pounced back on our stages with a fresh and authentic piece of work called Glitch.

Time may have passed but the Calipo team remains as strong as ever, with director Darren Thornton – currently in the spotlight for his acclaimed feature film A Date For Mad Maryand writer/performer Martin Maguire reigniting a theatre partnership that stretches back almost twenty years.

Glitch has a simple plot – it follows the story of broadcaster Mike Adams (Maguire), whose drivetime radio show has dominated the landscape for nearly fifteen years but whose popularity is diminishing. Everything appears to be changing – the politics, the technology, the public opinion. The media has become increasingly fast-paced and suffocating and Mike is under fierce pressure to change as well.

Constantly in denial and trying to escape his commitments, Mike is faced with a crisis when Jesse (Grainne Rafferty) emerges – a bitter and stubborn caller, who ends up alone on the air with Adams, following a technical glitch. For rest of the piece, we see Mike and Jesse engage in a battle of wits. Amazingly, these two characters never come face-to-face, which Jesse positioning her battle station behind Maguire, which spends most of the performance downstage.

On paper, Glitch does not make a striking impression. However, this production was not only executed sharply but had an incredibly original and innovative design. Kieran McNulty’s set was spacious and vibrant, comprising of an orange desk and vertical fluorescent lights emerging from the polished, black floor.

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Martin Maguire in Glitch. Photo Credit: Calipo Theatre Company

While the set was imposing and eye-catching, it was the sound design by Jack Cawley which made the greatest impression. Cawley successfully compiled over fifty voiceovers to create an array of different characters, from frustrated callers to newscasters to the people prominent in Mike’s life. Despite just two actors onstage, the flawlessly executed sound design created the illusion that there were many more.

Glitch is Maguire’s first play in nearly ten years. In fulfilling the challenging task of being both writer and performer, Maguire’s nerves were evidently visible onstage on the night I saw the show, and his delivery was sometimes unclear and unsteady. However, he maintained an excellent chemistry with Rafferty, who herself gave a robust and fiery performance as a single mother caught up in the struggles and prejudices of modern Ireland.

Tough on the surface, through lengthy and passionate conversations both Maguire and Rafferty’s characters’ softer, weaker sides are revealed. Both are isolated and have problems, and both have continuously disappointed the people in their lives. Through some particularly heartfelt monologues, we learn about Mike’s relationship with his elderly parents and his father’s final hours alive.

Overall, Glitch was a highly enjoyable production. Thornton’s ability to make the audience become invested and engrossed in Mike and Jesse’s strained lives demonstrates his excellence as a director.

Louis is an NAYD Young Critic for 2016 and a member of Droichead Youth Theatre 

Come join Louis 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. 

Conor McPherson’s The Weir – A Young Critics Video Review

As part of the NAYD Young Critics Programme 2016,  the Young Critics were tasked with seeing a production in their local venues and were then asked to create a critical response vlog. The Young Critics

They were encouraged to utilise their own programming eye and select work that they would then be able to create a critical response to. These critical responses take the form of  short video blog reviews or podcasts, where they discuss the shows.

Since the start of May, the Young Critics have been seeing work and then writing, shooting and editing their own individual critical response vlogs. Some of these take the form of straight up critical responses, while others utilise comedy, drama and other techniques to respond to the work.

Two of the Young Critics, Mary Condon O’Connor from Fracture/ Play Youth Theatre in Tipperary and Colm Maye from Activate Youth Theatre in Cork reviewed The Weir by Conor McPherson.

Presented by Decadent Theatre Company, the show toured Ireland in June 2016.

First up is Mary’s Review:

Watch this space where we will be uploading Colm’s review very soon.

Come join us on October 9th at the Project Cube, Dublin, where the Young Critics Panel will be critiquing three shows as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival 2016

Brokentalkers – The Blue Boy – A Critical Response by Jack Synott

As part of the NAYD Young Critics Programme 2016,  the Young Critics were tasked with seeing a production in their local venues and were then asked to create a critical response vlog.

Jack Synott from Droichead Youth Theatre saw Brokentalkers production of The Blue Boy at the Droichead Arts Centre as part of the Drogheda Arts Festival.

Watch Jack’s very insightful film here

Find out what NAYD Young Critics have been doing over the summer months. 

Our Summer of Shows 2016 – NAYD Young Critics

For the last three summers the NAYD Young Critics have been given the task of selecting a professional theatre production to see over the summer months.

The aim is to encourage them to see more theatre independently of the NAYD programme and create a culture of theatre going not only amongst the Young Critics, but also their wider youth theatre community.

Ideally it should be on in their local arts centre or venue and they are encouraged and supported to make a group booking for their own youth theatre to attend also.

NAYD, along with the participating local arts centres support this initiative through discounts, youth theatre group rates and the NAYD Go See YT Fund.

They were encouraged to utilise their own programming eye and select work that they would then be able to create a critical response to. These critical responses take the form of  short video blog reviews or podcasts, where they discuss the shows.

Since the start of May, the Young Critics have been seeing work and then writing, shooting and editing their own individual critical response vlogs. Some of these take the form of straight up critical responses, while others utilise comedy, drama and other techniques to respond to the work.

What did they see?

Summer Shows 2016

In the last two years there were a  large number of One Man/ One Woman shows touring the country.This year there were more medium scale touring productions on offer, perhaps suggesting that there is a broader range of work on offer. Or perhaps companies are being better funded then in previous years.

Decadent Theatre Company led the way with their production of The Weir by Conor McPherson, which was seen by three Young Critics in venues in Cork, Kilkenny and Limerick.

Chapterhouse Theatre Company from the UK toured their production of Sense and Sensibility to stately homes in Kilkenney and Kerry was reviewed by two of our Young Critics.

Following his Olivier Award winning success, Pat Kinevane’s Underneath continues it’s extensive tour with Fishamble.  It was viewed and reviewed by two of our Young Critics at the Townhall Cavan and Droichead Arts Centre.

Another show at Droichead Arts Centre was Brokentalkers highly acclaimed The Blue Boy. You can view Young Critic Jack Synott’s critical analysis here

Touring to Sligo was The Everyman, Cork’s production of God Bless The Child, which caught the attention of our Young Critic from Sligo Youth Theatre.

For our two Dublin based Young Critics, Philip McMahon’s Town is Dead proved a popular choice at the Peacock Theatre.

Also in Dublin, was the Gate’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee, which was reviewed by one of our Young Critics

Regionally, local productions included Lovely Leitrim at the Ramor Theatre Virginia, Romeo and Juliet at An Tain Dundalk, The State of The Nation at The Balor Arts Centre, Co. Donegal, and The Dark Kingdom at the Granary Theatre as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival.

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Through the month of August we will be sharing a selection of their critical responses across the Young Critics Blog.

In September we will be sharing some written reviews of work in the run up to the Young Critics Panel as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

It has been a really productive few months for the NAYD Young Critics and we look forward to sharing our responses to the work with you all.

A big thanks to all the venues and companies who continue to support the initiative through discounts and group rates.

 

 

From the Mourne Mountains to the Marino Institute. One Young Critics’ Journey by Pierce McNee

I was about to embark on what would be one of the best weekends of my life!

I had been hiking in the Mourne Mountains twenty four hours before this with my school and now I found myself on a bus to Dublin. I was about to embark on what would be one of the best weekends of my life!

I arrived on O’Connell Street an hour later and headed straight for McDonald’s where I waited in anticipation for what was to come.

We all met at the GPO. I was somewhat nervous at first as I didn’t know anyone, but after just a few short minutes I felt like I had known these people my whole life.

We then traveled to the Marino Institute of Education where we met with the rest of the group.

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Next we got settled into our accommodation after which we had our first workshop in one of the lecture halls, playing games to get to know each other. We then had some extremely interesting discussions with Dr. Karen Fricker,  a professional theatre critic, on topics such as what theatre is, the different jobs within theatre and what an outing to the theatre is like.

Later that night we sat and talked in the common room. We also had some tasty snacks and numerous cups of tea. I really enjoyed this as there was such a relaxed atmosphere and it was really easy to talk to everyone. We all got along so well.

On Saturday morning we were up and out bright and early for our second workshop where played games relating to movement in theatre and which emotions certain poses represent . We also played memory games. After this we researched the plays by studying photographs, casts, where it had been staged before and other elements of the plays. I found this to be very useful and greatly informative, as it gave me a greater understanding of the plays.

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Kate Stanley Brennan as Nora in The Plough And The Stars. Photo: Abbey Website

Then it was time to make our way into the city centre to see our first play, “The Plough and The Stars”, by Sean O’Casey in the Abbey Theatre. It was a magnificent piece of theatre. There were also modern elements such as contemporary clothing in that specific production, as well as elements from the period in which the play is set. It was a hugely significant time to go to see the play as it was the one hundred year anniversary of the 1916 Rising and it was also the weekend of the actual Rising when we were in Dublin.

Afterwards we got to meet one of the lead actresses in the play which was just amazing. She told us about her experience of being in the play and talked to us about her career and how she feels about acting. We also got to ask her questions on those topics. Next we went for dinner and had some utterly mouth-watering pizza.

The time then came to see the second play of the evening. It was called: “Tina’s Idea of Fun”. I truly loved this play. It was a new play which was performed in the Peacock Theatre and it had only opened that Tuesday.

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An image we used as part of our research into Tina’s Idea of Fun. This photo is from the Queen’s visit to Ireland in May 2011. Photo credit: Tim Hales/ Associated Press

Alan, the Youth Theatre Officer at the NAYD, had told us before the play began that we would be staying in the auditorium for a few minutes after the play had finished and I didn’t think anything of it at the time. However, when the play came to an end, Alan informed us that we would be meeting the whole cast! I was absolutely flabbergasted.

They sat on the stage and talked about how they got involved with the play and their feelings towards the play. We then got the opportunity to ask them questions. I asked them if they had any advice for aspiring actors and they all gave me the best advice that I could ever have asked for. This was probably my favourite part of the weekend as we were given a brilliant insight into the life of a stage actor and it definitely inspired me to just keep pushing myself as an actor.

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The Plough and The Stars Photo credit: Ros Kavanagh

On Sunday morning we had our final workshop. In this workshop we discussed the productions we had seen the previous night. This was again very insightful and useful in coming to a conclusion as to my opinion on the the plays and the way in which I interpreted them.

Our last activity of the day was  finding out what our project for the coming months would be. It will involve going to see a play with our youth theatres and then critiquing the production in the form of a video blog. I have already started working on the project and I am really enjoying the process of putting each component together to complete it.

This weekend was honestly a weekend that I will never forget. I learned so much about critiquing theatre, met lots of new friends and had such a magnificent time overall. Finally, I would like to thank Alan King,  Dr. Karen Fricker and the welfare officers for a truly incredible weekend and I would like to thank the NAYD for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity.

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

NAYD’S Young Critics hit Dublin for 1916/2016 by Jack Synnott

Young Critics was an absolutely unforgettable weekend filled with everything a theatre loving 16 year old could ask for.

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NAYD’s Young Critics 2016. Photo credit: Alan King

Upon arriving at the Marino Institute of Education, our temporary lodgings for the weekend, we were treated to two great introductory workshops with co-ordinator Alan King involving a wide variety of drama games, helping us to get to know each other. After that we had some enlightening discussions with the fantastic theatre critic and scholar Dr. Karen Fricker, about every aspect of theatre and criticism from the making of theatre and its function to the duties of the theatre critic.

We then journeyed back to the common rooms for some late night chats and cups of tea before we hit the proverbial sack to get some much needed rest.

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NAYD’s Young Critics enjoying the sunshine at The Marino Institute of Education. Photo credit: Alan King

The next morning we embarked on what was probably the most unexpectedly enjoyable part of the weekend: the research. This involved rooting through a variety of articles on the themes, settings, context and creative teams behind each of the two shows we would be seeing that afternoon.

This really helped us to get a solid grasp on what to expect from the plays and it was interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two. We also did some work on the differences between objectivity and subjectivity and the importance of description, through more drama games, which was a fun way to hone these invaluable skills.

That afternoon we took the bus into Dublin to see the first of our two plays, Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars on the Abbey Stage. This was a really interesting take on an Irish classic, with director Seán Holmes really pushing the boundaries and gleefully playing with our expectation of such a revered piece.

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Janet Moran (Mrs. Gogan) meets the Young Critics after the matinee of The Plough And The Stars. Photo credit: Alan King

Afterwards we had the honour of meeting Janet Moran, the actor who played Mrs. Gogan. Through our discussion with Janet we gained a huge insight into the play, and how many of its ideas took form throughout production.

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NAYD Young Critics enjoy some intense post show discussions over dinner. Photo credit: Alan King

After a brief excursion to the Jervis centre and a gorgeous dinner, we returned to the Abbey Theatre to take our seats for the new play showing on the Peacock Stage, Tina’s Idea of Fun by Sean P. Summers.

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NAYD’s Young Critics arrive at the Peacock Theatre for Tina’s Idea Of Fun. Photo credit: Alan King

Set against the backdrop of Queen Elizabeth the Second’s visit to Ireland in 2011, this very funny  play asked questions about modern day republicanism while simultaneously examining the difficulties of motherhood and the dangers of isolation.

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Cast of Tina’s Idea of Fun by Sean P.Summers. Photo credit: Ros Kavanagh

Andrew Connolly (Paddy), Sarah Morris (Edel),Keith Hanna (Dave), Josh Carey (Bundy), Hilda Fay (Tina) and Scott Graham (Aaron) in Tina’s Idea of Fun by Sean P. Summers. Directed by Conall Morrison.

Featuring excellent, honest performances and a subtle, quiet script, this piece directed by Conall Morrison was hugely enjoyable. Immediately afterwards we were treated to a Q and A with the entire cast, an amazing opportunity that was both great fun and incredibly informative.

We finished off our action packed day with a group selfie on the bus and the wonder of cake before we retired once again to bed.

Sunday, the final day of the weekend was filled with emotional goodbyes and happy reminiscing, but we still found time for two panel discussions, dissecting each of the previous day’s productions.

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A Young Critic’s thoughts on The Plough And The Stars. Photo credit: Alan King

This was a brilliant morning, as we really got to get into the meat of what we had seen, debating every element of each of the shows and occasionally being shown an entirely new angle on certain aspects. It was great to be able to discuss the plays in such detail, with a group of people just as interested in them as you, and I left that workshop with a much deeper understanding of the plays than I had going in.

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Dr. Karen Fricker listens on as NAYD Young Critic Jack Synnott gives his thoughts on the productions under discussion

All that was left was for us to learn our assignment for the summer, to create a video blog reviewing a production in our local venue, and to say our goodbyes. It was sad to leave everyone behind, but we knew that we’d be back again in October.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the weekend at Young Critics, I saw some great plays, met some amazing people and learned some invaluable things. Roll on October!

 

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Jack Synnott is a member of Droichead Youth Theatre  in Drogheda, Co.Louth and an NAYD Young Critic for 2016

NAYD Young Critics Announced for 2016

A big thank you to everyone that applied for Young Critics.  This year the number of applications was an even bigger increase on last year’s applicants. We got a record breaking 47 applications for just 16 places.

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NAYD Young Critics 2011 at Project Arts Centre 

We are happy to announce that the Young Critics for 2016 are:

Colm Maye Activate Youth Theatre
Jane Byrne CYT – CYT – Cabinteely Youth Theatre
Savana Bartual Smyth Cork Institute of Technology – CIT
Rita Havlin Donegal Youth Theatre
Meabh Hennelly Dublin Youth Theatre
Jack Synnott Droichead Youth Theatre

Louis Flanagan Droichead Youth Theatre
Pierce McNee Dundalk Youth Theatre
Patrick Joy Footsteps Youth Theatre
Clodagh Healy Free Radicals Youth Theatre
Kate Brady Gonzo Youth Theatre
Emily McGee Kilkenny Youth Theatre
Ryan Finnegan Leitrim Youth Theatre Company Carrigallen (LYTC)
Ciara Lummis Play YT / Fracture Youth Theatre
Mary Condon O’Connor Play YT / Fracture Youth Theatre
Mathew Whitehead Sligo Youth Theatre

The Young Critics will be coming together for the first weekend from April 22-24th.

The first two productions they will be going to see are :

The Plough and The Stars 2016  by Sean O’Casey . Directed by Sean Holmes at the Abbey Theatre.

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Tina’s Idea of Fun by Sean. P. Summers. Directed by Conall Morrison at the Peacock Theatre. 

International theatre academic and Toronto Star theatre critic Dr. Karen Fricker  will work alongside NAYD’s own Alan King to explore the fundamentals of theatre criticism over the coming months.

The Young Critics will be making  vlogs and writing reviews and you can follow their exploits here