For our latest Young Critics podcast, four of our Young Critics sat down to discuss The River of Forgetfulness.
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.
Watch Jack’s very insightful film here
Young Critics was an absolutely unforgettable weekend filled with everything a theatre loving 16 year old could ask for.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Jack Synnott is a member of Droichead Youth Theatre in Drogheda, Co.Louth and an NAYD Young Critic for 2016
Following our call out for applications at the end of January, we are delighted to announce that the Young Critics have been selected for 2015. We received a huge amount of applications for the 16 places from across the country and we were able to offer places to a broad selection of youth theatres nationwide.
The Young Critics for 2015 are:
Thomas Caffrey – Droichead Youth Theatre
Dara Eaton – Co.Carlow Youth Theatre
Somhairle Brennan – Letterkenny Youth Theatre
David Ronan – Co. Wexford Youth Theatre
Ryan Doherty – Donegal Youth Theatre
Vinnie McBrien – LYTC Carrigallen
Maeve Doyle – Footsteps Youth Theatre
Christine McNamara- Footsteps Youth Theatre
Aisling Clark – Duisigh Youth Theatre
Marie Lynch – Backstage Youth Theatre
Niamh Elliott Sheridan – Dublin Youth Theatre
Niamh Murphy – Co.Wexford Youth Theatre
Maryanne Brassil – Free Radicals Youth Theatre
Aisling Sargent – Dublin Youth Theatre
The first weekend of Young Critics will be happening from April 10-12 and promises to be an action packed weekend of shows, workshops, discussions and fun.
The two productions we will be going to see are:
Pals – The Irish at Gallipoli by ANU productions, at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks. Directed by Louise Lowe.
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, at the Gate Theatre. Directed by Wayne Jordan.
Under the watchful eye of Dr. Karen Fricker and NAYD’s Alan King, the Young Critics will be guided through the elements of theatre and the art of criticism.
We will be keeping you posted about this year’s Young Critics as it happens.