Theatre: The Shitstorm (The Tempest)

Shitstorm

The Shitstorm is a hallucinogenic West Kerry riff on Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest, written by Simon Doyle and directed by Maeve Stone.

Miranda’s been stuck on the island with her dad Prospero for a while now and things have been pretty bad. His threats to give up his magic have always been hollow, until now… He’s run out on her and things have gotten a whole lot worse.

Ariel is out of a job, Caliban is dangerously bored, and Miranda is a teenage girl with no supervision. When the real storm hits she finally starts acting like one.

In this new play, Shakespeare’s characters find themselves in an entirely different context. The Shitstorm is a modern mash-up with some fierce female music and a new girl at the microphone.

A Maeve Stone production.
Developed with the support of the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

Contains use of strobe lighting, partial nudity and adult themes.

Booking Information


Dates: 8, 9, 11 – 16 September
on the Peacock Stage

Preview: 8 September

Time: 9pm
Tickets: €16 – €14 Conc. / Preview €11

To book for a group of 6+ call (01) 87 97 266

Taken from: www.abbeytheatre.ie/whats-on/the-shitstorm/

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Call for Papers: British Shakespeare Association, Queen’s Belfast, 2018

CALL FOR PAPERS

Shakespeare Studies Today

Queen’s University Belfast, 14-17 June 2018 (BSA2018@qub.ac.uk)

The Belfast Tempest

Shakespeare Studies is one of the most rich and dynamic areas of interdisciplinary enquiry. It embraces historical explorations of Shakespeare’s canon, ranges across four hundred years of world theatre and performance history, and is continually renewed by Shakespeare’s iconic status in contemporary culture, film and media. Shakespeare draws together academics, teachers, theatre professionals, practitioners, readers and enthusiasts. At the same time, Shakespeare is a global commodity, reinvented in every culture and nation, meaning that his work prompts world-wide conversation. Following on from the 2016 celebrations, the 2018 BSA conference offers an opportunity for academics, practitioners enthusiasts and teachers (primary, secondary and sixth- form teachers and college lecturers) to reflect upon Shakespeare Studies today. What does Shakespeare Studies mean in the here-and-now? What are the current and anticipated directions in such diverse fields of enquiry as Shakespeare and pedagogy, Shakespeare and race, Shakespeare and the body, Shakespeare and childhood, Shakespeare and religion, Shakespeare and economics, Shakespeare and the law, Shakespeare and emotion, Shakespeare and politics, Shakespeare and war and Shakespeare and the environment? What is Shakespeare’s place inside the curriculum and inside debates around theory, queer studies and feminism? Where are we in terms of editing and materiality, and where does Shakespeare sit alongside his contemporaries, male and female? How does theatre practice, performance history, adaptation, cinema and citation figure in ever evolving Shakespeare Studies? In particular, this conference is keen to explore the challenges facing Shakespeare Studies today and to reflect on newer emergent approaches. Reflections on past practices and their reinventions for the future are also warmly welcomed.

Plenary Speakers include: Prof. Pascale Aebischer (University of Exeter), Prof. Clara Calvo (University of Murcia), Prof. Richard Dutton (Queen’s University Belfast), Prof. Courtney Lehmann (University of the Pacific) and Prof. Ayanna Thompson (George Washington University).

UK Premieres include: Veeram (dir. Jayaraj, 2016), a South Indian film adaptation of Macbeth, and Hermia and Helena (dir. Matías Piñeiro, 2016), an Argentine adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

BSA 2018 also includes: Q+As with theatre director Andrea Montgomery (The Belfast Tempest, 2016) and film directors Jayaraj and Matías Piñeiro.

There are four ways to participate in BSA 2018:

  1. Submit an abstract for a 20-minute paper. Abstracts (100 words) and a short biography to be submitted by 1 October 2017 to BSA2018@qub.ac.uk
  2. Submit a proposal for a panel session consisting of three 20-minute papers. Abstracts for all three papers (100 words each), a rationale for the panel (100 words) and short speaker biographies to be submitted by 1 October 2017 to BSA2018@qub.ac.uk
  3. Submit a proposal for a performance / practice or education workshop or a teachers’ INSET session. For a workshop, submit a summary proposal outlining aims and activities and a biographical statement. For an INSET session (either a one-hour event or a twenty-minute slot), submit a summary proposal and biographical statement. All proposals to be submitted by 1 October 2017 to BSA2018@qub.ac.uk
  4. Submit an abstract to join a seminar. The seminar format involves circulating a short paper in advance of the conference and then meeting to discuss all of the papers in Belfast. Abstracts (100 words), a short biography and a statement of your seminar of preference to be submitted by 1 October 2017 to BSA2018@qub.ac.ukSeminars include:

Digital Shakespeare: Histories/Resources/Methods’ led by Dr Stephen O’Neill (Maynooth University);

Shakespeare and Act/Scene Division’ led by Dr Mark Hutchings (University of Reading);

‘Shakespeare and the Book Today’ led by Prof. Emma Smith (Hertford College, Oxford);

‘Shakespeare and his Contemporaries’ led by Dr Lucy Munro (King’s College, London);

Shakespeare and Early Modern Playing Spaces’ led by Prof. Richard Dutton (Queen’s University Belfast);

‘Shakespeare and Europe’ led by Prof. Andrew Hiscock (Bangor University) and Prof. Natalie Vienne-Guerrin (University of Montpellier III-Paul Valéry);

Shakespeare and Film’ led by Dr Romano Mullin (Queen’s University Belfast);

‘Shakespeare and Marx’ led by Dr Matt Williamson (Queen’s University Belfast);

‘Shakespeare and Morality’ led by Dr Neema Parvini (University of Surrey);

‘Shakespeare and Pedagogy’ led by Dr Lindzy Brady (University of Sydney) and Dr Kate Flaherty (Australian National University);

‘Shakespeare, Performance and the 21st Century’ led by Dr Erin Sullivan (Shakespeare Institute, the University of Birmingham);

‘Shakespeare and Religion’ led by Dr Adrian Streete (University of Glasgow);

‘Women, Shakespeare and Performance’, led by Prof. Liz Schafer (Royal Holloway, University of London)

A number of Postgraduate / Practitioner / Teacher Bursaries will be available to cover the conference fee. When you submit your abstract / proposal, please indicate if you would like to apply for one of these and if you would like to attend all of the conference or Saturday only.

 

The BSA is proud to announce its next the locations, institutional partners and themes of its next three conferences:

Shakespeare Studies Today, 14-17 June 2018, Queen’s University, Belfast

Shakespeare: Race and Nation, July 2019, Swansea University

Shakespeare in Action, July 2020, University of Surrey

The BSA is pleased to invite proposals to host our 2021 conference.

To apply, send a completed proposal form to events@britishshakespeare.ws

Download the Proposal Form

More info: http://www.britishshakespeare.ws/conference/

Theatre: Hamnet, Abbey Theatre

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Hamnet

An Abbey Theatre and Dead Centre Co-production

From the Abbey website:

Grief fills the room up of my absent child
King John, Act III scene IV

William Shakespeare had one son. He named him Hamnet. He then left home to pursue his career in the theatre, effectively abandoning his family. In 1596, he was told that the boy – who was then eleven years old – was seriously ill. By the time Shakespeare reached Stratford, Hamnet had died.

In 1599, Shakespeare wrote a play called Hamlet.

Hamnet is too young to understand Shakespeare. And he is one letter away from being a great man. We are too old to understand Hamnet. How close are we to greatness? We meet in the middle, in a theatre, in purgatory: youth reaching forward to a life it will never know, an audience reaching back to a life it has forgotten.

A solo work for an eleven year old boy, Hamnet uses live video and dead video to bridge the gap between two generations, asking each other what they want to pass on and receive.

BOOKING INFORMATION FOR HAMNET

Dates: 26 September – 7 October
Previews: 26 & 27 September
On the Peacock stage

Times: Mon – Sat 8pm, Matinees Sat 2.30pm
Tickets: €18 – €25 / Conc. €16 – €20

To book for a group of 6+ call (01) 87 97 266

More information: https://www.abbeytheatre.ie/whats_on/event/hamnet/

New IRC opportunities for early/mid-career – Laureate Awards

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Laureate Awards Programme: CALL NOW OPEN

A consensus has emerged in recent years that Ireland’s research and innovation framework contains a significant gap, namely opportunities for exceptional researchers to conduct frontier basic research across all disciplines beyond postdoctoral level. Innovation2020 affirms the existence of the critical gap in the Irish landscape and recommends the establishment of a frontier research funding programme, to be administered by the Irish Research Council.

Funding to launch the first iteration of the programme was made available by the Minister for Education and Skills under the 2017 budget. For the first iteration of the Irish Research Council Laureate Awards programme, the Council is inviting applications at the early and mid-career level (Starting and Consolidator). Funding will be awarded on the basis solely of excellence, assessed through a rigorous and independent international peer-review process. Laureates will enhance their track record and international competitiveness. As well as the benefits for the laureate and their team, it is anticipated that the award will enhance the potential for subsequent ERC success as a further career milestone; indeed it will be a requirement of all laureates that they make a follow-on application to the ERC.

The aims and objectives of the Irish Research Council Laureate Awards programme are as follows:

  • To enhance frontier basic research in Irish research-performing organisations, across all disciplines.
  • To support exceptional researchers to develop their track record, appropriate to their discipline and career stage.
  • To build the international competitiveness of awardees and Ireland as a whole.
  • To leverage greater success for the Irish research system in European Research Council awards.
  • To retain excellent researchers in the Irish system and to catalyse opportunities for talented researchers currently working outside Ireland, to relocate to Ireland.

Deadline: 29 June, 2017

Further details: http://www.research.ie/scheme/laureate-awards-programme

 

Seminar Series: Trinity Centre for Early Modern History

The Trinity Centre for Early Modern History promotes understanding of the culture, society, economy, religion, politics and warfare of early modern Europe. The Centre organises seminars, conferences and public lectures on the early modern history of Ireland, Britain and Continental Europe, as well as on relations between European and non-European states and cultures.

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Below is the programme of Seminars held every Monday at 5pm in the Trinity Long Room Hub:

  • 23 January 2017 | Brian Brewer (TCD) | Quixotic Economics: Early Modern Economic Theory and Political Economy in Cervantes’s Don Quixote.
  • 30 January 2017 | Robert Appelbaum (Uppsala University) | Early Modern Terrorism: an Introduction.
  • 6 February 2017 | William O’Reilly (University of Cambridge) | The emperor who wanted to be king. HRE Charles VI in Spain and Germany, 1685-1740.
  • 13 February 2017 | Joel Halcomb (University of East Anglia) | The Dublin Convention of 1658 and the Fall of the Protectorate.
  • 20 February 2017 | Aileen Douglas (TCD) | Round Hand Character: script, commerce, and nation, 1690-1750.
  • 6 March 2017 | Alexander Wilkinson (University College Dublin) | Book History and the Digital Humanities.
  • 13 March 2017 | Malcolm Gaskill (University of East Anglia) | Witchcraft, Emotion and Social Change in Seventeenth-Century New England.
  • 20 March 2017 | Michael Braddick (Sheffield University) | The sufferings of John Lilburne (1615-1657): martyrology and the freeborn Englishman.
  • 27 March 2017 | Sophie Hingst, (TCD) | One phenomenon. Three perspectives. English colonial strategies in Ireland revisited, ca. 1607- 1680.

For further details of the Trinity Centre for Early Modern History, please www.tcd.ie/history/research/centres/early-modern/

The Centre also helpfully archives many of their talks, available on the website

Digital Humanities Tool: Personæ

The aim of these visualisations is to use the XML files from the New Variorum Shakespeare edition of The Comedy of Errors to create a resource for exploring patterns of speeches by and mentions of characters in Shakespeare’s work. Visualising the frequency, extent, and position of dialogue relating to a particular character presents users with a simple and immediate measure of that character’s prominence within the play. The tool enables users to select and visualise individual characters’ involvement, producing a novel means of exploring large-scale structural, narrative, or character-focused patterns within the text.

Value of the Tool

This tool is intended to facilitate character-based analysis and reveal structural patterns at the scale of the play. It is primarily exploratory, and is designed to allow users to customise the visualisation according to their particular interests or to follow a more speculative and disinterested reading of the play’s character-based features.

This deliberate aim emerged from the heuristic development process described below, and a desire to produce an extensible exploratory tool for dramatic texts. From an initial focus on using digital tools to visualise the tangling and disentangling of character names and identities in The Comedy of Errors, our interest broadened into exploring the potential for using character data to visualise larger structural and narrative patterns.

We were also motivated by the use of network analysis and visualisation for Shakespearean scholarship, including work by Grandjean, Moretti, and Stiller, et al. These analyses are similarly character-based and have yielded many interesting insights. But in the reduction of the textual data to nodes and edges (characters and their interactions), network analysis has obscured the temporal. By preserving characters’ locations within the space of the text, this tool enables analysis of the dramatic time and structural duration of the play.

Moreover, a major part of the tool’s value is its extensibility. It may be used to create character visualisations for any play which is XML-encoded according to quite minimal specifications, and offer the opportunity to undertake comparative analysis of structural, narrative, and character-based patterns in different plays.

As a point of contrast, we have generated a second visualisation for The Winter’s Tale from the code initially developed for The Comedy of Errors.

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Personæ can be found here

Review: Reason in Madness, Draíocht Theatre

Reason in Madness: A Devised Reworking

Draíocht Theatre, Blanchardstown, Dublin, 29-30 November 2016.

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Directed by Aisling Byrne. Design: Ciaran O’Melia; Dramaturgy: Oonagh Murphy; Sound Design: Susie Birmingham; Costume: Kate Bauer.

Cast: Mark Smith as Lear; Jane Ryan as Goneril; Ella-Jane Moore as Reagan; Michelle Brennan as Cordelia; Wesley Fairbrother as Kent; Maurice Coll as Gloucester; John Egan as Edmund; Paul O’Neill as Edgar; Kate Bauer as psychologist; Sean McPartland as the Fool; Bert Coster as Cornwall; and Conor Begley as Oswald.

Reviewed by Stephen O’Neill

 

It has sometimes been claimed that Irish theatre can’t quite do Shakespeare or that it has an attenuated relationship to Shakespeare for a variety of reasons that are cultural, historical and ideological. The absence of Shakespeare from the Abbey’s 2017 programme is likely to reactivate such claims. And even 2015’s DruidShakespeare, which gave the lie to such arguments, nonetheless ended up being ghosted by them, as critics located the production in the context of how previous Irish productions had faired with Shakespearean verse and themes, and determined that Druid had Gaelicised or Hibernicised Shakespeare’s English history plays. However, such broad and ultimately improbable claims about the national theatre scene risk overlooking more local theatre and community based productions of Shakespeare. Reason in Madness: A Devised Reworking of Lear gives the lie to the notion that Irish theatre productions must be filtered through questions of cultural nationalism. In this production by Run of the Mill Theatre, a 16 strong ensemble cast of artists with disabilities, bring us into Lear’s kingdom, but not as we know it.

 

The pre-scene features the cast on stage, awaiting the arrival of Lear: “The King is on his way”, the announcer explains, followed by the customary instruction to the audience to turn off mobile phones. The cast themselves hold phones, a visual cue to the dominance of technology and social media in this production, with tweet updates from @CourtGossip, or images of a bounded and blinded Gloucester displayed on a screen above stage. The use of social media, along with pop music, is not gimmicky but serves the story world and amplifies its themes. Under Aisling Byrne’s direction, the major concerns of Shakespeare’s play – the family, mortality, the vulnerability of the human being, the fragmentation of a political order – take on a more particular resonance in the context of a performance by actors with intellectual disabilities.

 

Theatre can importantly shift normative structures of viewing and representation, disrupting audience and indeed wider cultural assumptions about how value is assigned to particular bodies and identities, and how, by extension, it is denied to others, or doled out in a limited way. The work of Run of the Mill Theatre, founded in 2014 by Aisling Byrne and the participants of the drama and theatre training programmes within St. John of God Community Services, realises the capacity of theatrical performance to alter ways of seeing and release a dispersal of representational value. Blue Apple Theatre, established in the UK in 2005, have being doing similar work with actors with learning difficulties. Lawrie Morris, who played Claudius in the Blue Apple’s 2012 Hamlet, captures what the production means to him: “I think people out there in the world need to see that people are capable of doing Shakespeare, even with a learning disability like we’ve got”. In America, similar initiatives are to be found. Project A.B.L.E (Artists Breaking Limits and Expectations), founded by Kate Yohe, features a group of actors with Down Syndrome and other developmental needs in Twelfth Night at Chicago’s Shakespeare Theatre. Run of the Mill’s Reason in Madness importantly contributes to increased representational visibility and opportunity; the Arts Council’s support of such work, valued internationally, is welcome. There is no sentimentality to this production; instead, the cast produce something that makes meaning on its own terms. Striking is the sense of a collective, of a directorial hand operating with a lightness of touch, of actors helping each other onto and off the stage, and having lots of fun in doing so. But there are also stand out performances: Mark Smith as Lear is all kingly deportment, then disintegration as Goneril and Regan vie for power; Ella-Jane Moore as Reagan revels in mock royal waves as she takes to the throne; Jane Ryan’s Goneril is busy tweeting about court intrigue; John Egan plays Edmund with a maniacal, pantomime laugh.

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For a small theatre company, this is an ambitious production. Run of the Mill make good use of Draiocht’s large stage, filling it with the ensemble cast, with hooded figures that haunt Lear, or by creating a distinct performance space stage right, where a psychologist, played by Kate Bauer (who also gives subtle onstage assistance to the performers) tests Lear’s memory loss. The Director’s note offers the audience one way to interpret such extra-diegetic elements, plot additions and the wider implication of Reason in Madness. Byrne notes “that the rate of developing early onset dementia stands at an estimated 75% greater risk for adults with Down Syndrome was a sobering reminder of the pertinence of a story where the gift of growing older can come with a price; and one that seems so steep and unfair for individuals who have already fought long to have their voices heard in society”. However, on a Wednesday evening in a packed Draiocht Theatre, the play’s sense of endings – of plot, of life, of political power – become a celebration of life and of community. As an audience member, you cannot but be aware of the family, friends who are there to support and cheer on the actors.

 

Reason in Madness is a cacophonous, energetic and reassembled Lear. The spoken word converges with dance, with now iconic pop tracks (from Icona Pop’s “I Love It” for the opening love test to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” to capture Goneril and Regan’s relationship with Edmund), with social media and news images. Shakespeare’s tragedy is defamiliarised, in ways that recall Elaine Feinstein’s Lear’s Daughters (1987), another production that emerged out of theatre workshops, and which pared back the main plot to reveal a dark nursery rhyme about the symbolic power of fathers. Byrne and the ensemble cast are very much in touch with current trends in Shakespeare performance studies, where the energy of a Shakespeare play in production is understood as residing in post-textual, adapted and remediated responses. Experienced as fragments, from alternate perspectives, or with and through other media, the Shakespeare play reforms in our minds as a dazzlingly new theatrical experience. The programme note makes reference to the production’s repackaging as a “gift” to Shakespeare in this, the year of the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. Reason in Madness rewards all of its participants, actors and audience alike, because the Shakespeare it produces is not a site of privilege or some inherited entity that, in an Irish context, is to be revered or feared. Rather, it’s the catalyst for a dynamic theatrical experience.

 

Dr Stephen O’Neill is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Maynooth University Department of English. He is the author of Shakespeare and YouTube (Bloomsbury, 2014), Staging Ireland: Representations in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama (Four Courts, 2007) and several essays on Shakespeare and popular culture. With Janet Clare, he co-edited Shakespeare and the Irish Writer (UCD Press, 2011). Twitter: @mediaShakes