Theatre: Hamlet, Dublin Theatre Festival, Gate Theatre, 27 September – 13 October

This production of Hamlet is a very exciting inclusion in this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival, with Ruth Negga playing the title role. Tickets seem to be selling quickly so don’t delay if you’re interested.

Hamlet Online

Dublin Theatre Festival

Hamlet | Gate Theatre | 27 Sept-13 Oct Book Tickets

The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!’

A murdered King. A remarried Queen. A state on the precipice. When society starts to collapse, do we fight or flee?

Hamlet is one of the most revived Shakespeare plays in the Gate’s 90 year history (1928–2018). In celebration of the theatre’s pioneering founders, Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir, Shakespeare’s iconic story of politics, vengeance, madness and murder is reimagined in a ground-breaking, visionary Gate Theatre production for today’s audience.
 
Oscar-nominated Irish actress, Ruth Negga, makes her Gate stage debut in the title role of Hamlet, joined by a cast of Ireland’s finest actors. Award-winning director Yaël Farber heads an exciting creative team including Tony Award-winning set and costume designer Susan Hilferty, lighting designer Paul Keogan and composer Tom Lane.

‘The dilemma “to be or not to be” has held us in its thrall for centuries – and has never seemed more potent and urgent. A Hamlet for our time.’ — Yaël Farber, Director

This production is funded by the Arts Council.

Cast and Creative Team
Cast includes: Fiona Bell, Gavin Drea, Aoife Duffin, Nick Dunning, Peter Gaynor, Steve Hartland, Mark Huberman, Gerard Kelly, Conor Madden, Barry McKiernan, Ruth Negga, Owen Roe, and Gerard Walsh
Directed by Yaël Farber
Set and Costume Design: Susan Hilferty
Lighting Design: Paul Keogan
Sound Design: Tom Lane
Movement Director: Muirne Bloomer
Voice Director: Andrea Ainsworth
Associate Director: Marc Atkinson
Textual Advisor: Ben Power

Information and Tickets
Venue: Gate Theatre
Dates: 27 & 28 Sept, 1 & 2, 4 & 5, 8 & 9, 11 & 12, Oct, 7pm
29 Sept, 3, 6, 10, 13, Oct, 1.30pm & 7pm
Tickets: €25-€55
Duration: Approx. 3 hrs. incl. interval.

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Theatre: Much Ado About Nothing, 3 – 7 July, St Enda’s Park, Rathfarnham

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From dlr Mill Theatre Dundrum:

Balally Players Summer Shakespeare will be performing Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare outdoors in the beautiful walled garden of St Enda’s Park.

This witty and most popular comedy deals with the stormy loves of two couples: the confirmed bachelor Benedick and the spirited Beatrice, and the naive and innocent Hero and the gullible and hot-tempered Claudio.

While ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’, in Much Ado it is helped and hindered by friends and villains alike. As Hero says ‘some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps’.

Full of wit and banter, fools, clowns and music, it has been described as “Shakespeare’s greatest sex-war comedy” (The Telegraph, 2017)

 

Book tickets online, or visit or phone the box office (+353 01 296 9340).

British Shakespeare Association Conference at Queen’s University Belfast, 14-17th June

[Quoted from BSA website.]

2018 BSA Conference – 14-17th June 2018 at Queen’s University Belfast

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. 

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.

For more information contact BSA2018@qub.ac.uk

For details on the programme,etc. and to register, see QUB website here.

[Quoted from BSA website.]

[Image from The Belfast Tempest (dir. Andrea Montgomery, 2016), Terra Nova Productions. Courtesy of Neil Harrison (models Sean Brown and Louise Parker).]


 

Theatre: Much Ado About Nothing now playing at Smock Alley, Dublin

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Arclight Drama Studio

29 May – 2 Jun | 8PM | Boys’ School

Weaving wit, romance and comedy, Much Ado About Nothing is a whirlwind race to the finish line of “happily ever after”.

It is said that love conquers all, but not without a few battles along the way! Arclight Drama Studio have had a wonderful relationship with Shakespeare and have previously performed acclaimed productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Macbeth and As You Like It.

They are delighted to bring one of the bard’s most enduring comedies to the Boys’ School stage at Smock Alley.

Running Time : 90mins + Interval

WRITTEN BY: William Shakespeare
DIRECTED BY: Paul Cullen
LIGHTING DESIGN BY: Brian Nutley
COSTUME DESIGN BY: Ciara Phelan
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Ellen Barnes
WARDROBE: Sia McManus
ORIGINAL MUSIC: Darragh Cullen

CAST: Raven Aflakete, Bruna Allen, Ellen Barnes, Laura Bracken, Eoghan Byrne, Mark Byrne, Ally Courtney, Darragh Cullen, Elaine Cullen, Eve Cullen, Paul Cullen, Ronan Cullen, Sarah Farrell, Rachel Fennell, Martha McKinney Perry, Coley McManus, Alan Nolan, Chloe O’Hanlon, Aoife O’Rourke, Ciara Phelan, Karl Timmins


Founded in 1992, Arclight have produced more than 60 plays in Ireland and have also performed internationally. This is their fourth time performing in Smock Alley after previously being here in 2013, 2016 and 2017 with their acclaimed productions of Macbeth, As You Like It and Our Town.

Tickets available at the Smock Alley website.

The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane at the Abbey Theatre now

Abbey Theatre

Pan Pan Theatre

23 – 26 May 2018

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In Pan Pan’s purgatorial presentation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, you the audience are faced with a choice: who is going to be, or not to be, Hamlet?

Actors compete to play the title role but as we enter the graveyard world of this icon of individualism can anyone escape playing the Dane? Aren’t we all the main part?

Highly innovative and visually breathtaking, this is an audacious and irreverent riff on Hamlet that does not so much update or deconstruct the play as explode it. Playing fast and loose with our familiarity and expectations, the onstage Director rations out Shakespeare’s text, knowingly excavating its layers in a series of theatrical devices and conceits that focuses the large cast, and the audience, on the existential plight of its characters.

Even the stage is a Hall of Mirrors and the play-within-a-play, enacted by a troupe of Dublin Youth Theatre members, is Hamlet itself.

Dates: 23 – 26 May
On the Abbey Stage

Times: Wed – Sat 7.30pm, Matinee Sat 2pm

Tickets: €13 – €45 / Conc. €13 – €30

Running Time: 2 hours including an interval

Review: Julius Caesar – National Theatre Live

The National Theatre’s Julius Caesar, screened in cinemas around Ireland on March 22nd, opened with the usual live screening announcements. Microphone in hand, the announcer informed us of the running time, advertised upcoming NT events, and cautioned us about the show’s use of strobe lighting. Rather than being bland or routine however, these pronouncements were presented in the manner of a roving reporter caught in the middle of Caesar’s raucous political rally. Standing amongst the audience, and almost drowned out by the rock band playing in the background, the announcer even signed off by declaring that she was “off to join the rabble. Hail Caesar!” With the camera moving amongst the audience, the action seemed immediate and pointedly familiar. From the get go then, this production of Julius Caesar was captivating and creative.

The early scenes smoothly introduced the main players. A triumphant Caesar entered surrounded by flags and banners espousing his campaign slogan “Do this!”. Sporting a leather jacket and baseball cap, and assuredly pressing the flesh, Caesar resembled the American presidential candidates we’ve seen on our screen in recent years. Wearing a “Do this!” t-shirt, Marc Antony was clearly in Caesar’s camp and had a strong filial bond with the elder statesman. Brutus, ever the intellectual, signed copies of his book, worked late in his study, and emphasised his thoughts on tyranny by gesticulating with his spectacles.

Michelle Fairley as Cassius - Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre - Photo Credit Manuel Harlan

Michelle Fairley as Cassius – Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre – Photo Credit Manuel Harlan

As strong as these performances were, by David Calder, David Morrissey, and Ben Whishaw respectively, Michelle Fairley’s Cassius was an absolute revelation. Fairley will be familiar to many as Catelyn Stark in Game of Thrones, and her performance as Cassius was no less compelling and formidable. On several occasions, Cassius’ scenes were the stand out moments of the production. The gender switch enabled Caesar’s complaints about Cassius in 1.2 to assume new significance. Cassius rolled her eyes as Caesar, for the umpteenth time we imagine, commented openly on her appearance and qualities, begging to have “men about me that are fat” rather than slim women who think too much and are hungry for freedom. Meeting the sardonic Casca, played by Adjoa Andoh, the conspiring pair seemed to channel both the femme fatales and hard-bitten heroes of film noir to produce a scene heavy with gloom and menace. When Cassius and Brutus squabbled after the assassination, they recalled the Macbeths, dismayed at the turn of events and unable to wash the blood from their hands. (In the squalor of their ruined shelter, Brutus still found time to apply some hand-sanitiser!) In her suicide, Cassius was as proud, defiant, and pitiable as Cleopatra in her death.

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David Morrissey as Antony – Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre – Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

As Brutus ascended the stage of the Forum to explain the conspirators’ actions, it seemed his work would be cut out for him. Citizens – co-opted members of the audience and stagehands – waved posters of Caesar and shouted their displeasure. Gradually though, as Brutus’ speech continued, the posters were lowered as if the protesting citizens were won over or, more likely, the audience was simply tired holding the images aloft. Whereas Brutus had gripped his microphone like a TV evangelist, Antony quickly discarded it, preferring to speak his eulogy directly to the audience. In his pose as a simple man reluctantly moved to defend Caesar, Antony was wholly convincing. Only later, when he was pleased at the citizens’ planned “mischief” and when he swaggered in his combat gear with Octavius, did Antony suddenly seem two-faced. With deafening gunfire, the debris of urban warfare, and the uniforms and weapons of modern armies, the production’s battle scenes recalled those of Fiennes’ Coriolanus (2011). These action scenes came to a swift end as Antony and Octavius discovered the bodies of Cassius and Brutus. With victory secured, Octavius showed himself to be every inch the arrogant commander. Standing at the stage’s highest point, he stripped off some of his combat gear and, Nixon-like, gave peace signs to his people as celebratory balloons fell. The production ended as it began, with a PR exercise by a savvy politician and Rome’s fate standing on shaky ground.

It was evident that the NT Julius Caesar gripped the theatre and the cinema audience from beginning to end. With superb performances from the main players, supporting cast, and the co-opted audience members (volunteers? victims?) and with a running time of just over 2 hours, this is a pacey and timely production certain to entertain.

There will be encore screenings of the National Theatre’s Julius Caesar at:

Light House Cinema, Dublin, on Tuesday 27 March.

Cork Opera House on Wednesday 28 March.

For tickets here and in other locations, see the NT Live website here.

Theatre: “Macbeth” by Icarus Theatre Collective – touring now

[From Icarus Theatre’s Macbeth press release]

The vicious, barbaric undercurrent in Shakespeare’s fear-filled tragedy erupts in Icarus Theatre’s kinetic and blood-thirsty production. Unrivalled on the battlefield, Macbeth is rewarded with rank and favour by a grateful king but the war has left its scars. With each enemy Macbeth butchers, his lust for power takes a more menacing grip. Spectres slaughtered on the battlefield drip poison in his ear, and passions erupt as he ferociously seizes the throne. But, violence breeds violence, and a reign born in blood quickly spirals out of control as Macbeth’s demons return to destroy him.

Set in the 11th century and culminating in an epic battle filled with revenge, justice, and beheadings, Icarus Theatre blends the traditional and the physical to bring to life some of literature’s most vibrant language and characters.

This production centres around the idea that Macbeth himself is suffering from PTSD. Director Max Lewendel comments:

“War is hell, and medieval warfare even more so. There is something in the psychology of PTSD that resonates here in a very Hitchcockian kind of way. This world is a supernatural nightmare for Macbeth and I wanted to explore the idea that the horrors of what he has done and seen lurk in every shadow, in every corner.”

In addition to this new psychological element, many of the traditional male roles are here cast as female characters, stressing the importance of gender parity on stage. This is a patriarchal world, but one that is being challenged by powerful women pushing forward change.

For more information and to book tickets, see the Icarus Theatre Collective website here.

Lawrence Stubbings (Macbeth), James Heatlie (Banquo)

Lawrence Stubbings as Macbeth and James Heatlie as Banquo  [Image credit: George Riddell and Icarus Theatre]