Theatre: The Merchant of Venice at St. Enda’s Park, Dublin

merchant-of-venice-poster-250px

21–24 June 2017, 8pm

Balally Players takes Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice to St. Enda’s Park Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin for its Summer Shakespeare 2017 presentation.

The play, directed by Fiona Walsh, will be performed outdoors in the Walled Garden, St. Enda’s Park from 21 to 24 June 2017. The performance starts at 8pm each evening and tickets (€14/€12) may be booked at the Mill Theatre Box Office (01-296 9340) or on the Mill Theatre website.

For further details go to www.balallyplayers.com

Advertisements

Review: “Measure for Measure – Ireland 1916” at Dublin Castle

Review by Edel Semple

The conjunction this year of the centenary of the Easter Rising and the quadricentenary of Shakespeare’s death have proved fertile ground for arts, culture, and scholarship across the island of Ireland and further afield. In the spring, for example, Ger Fitzgibbon’s talk in UCC and Andrew Murphy’s talk at the Pearse Museum provided fascinating insights into the place and uses of Shakespeare in Irish history and literature. In London, the all-Irish Taming of the Shrew has just completed its run at Shakespeare’s Globe; the production was set against the backdrop of the Rising, though this was mostly in evidence via Katherine’s embodiment of the fighting spirit and eloquence of her rebel foremothers. (The cause of the suffragettes hovered over the production too, and on this note, a follow up production of The Tamer Tamed, Fletcher’s proto-feminist “sequel” to Shakespeare’s comedy, would have worked superbly – but I digress.) Since July, Fortune’s Fool Productions has toured some of the country’s most beautiful historic sites – Athenry Castle in Galway, Castletown House in Kildare, and Dublin Castle – with its open-air production of Measure for Measure – Ireland 1916.

Dublin Castle - Dubh Linn gardens

Dublin Castle – Dubh Linn gardens and Norman tower in the background

The director’s notes remark that Measure for Measure has been designated a “problem play” but that this production approaches and presents the material as comic. Despite the weighty moral problems the play tackles and the production’s setting in a period of socio-political turmoil, this Measure was indeed light-hearted and humorous. Notably Angelo – a man so uptight and unfeeling he reportedly pisses ice – was rendered so comical that he lacked any menace whatsoever. His frustrated passion was cartoonish; while thinking of Isabella, Angelo was hilariously overcome by desire and had difficulty walking, and he repeatedly smacked a Bible off his head when the novice misunderstood his hints in 2.4. The buoyant energy of these scenes, Angelo’s silly antics, and Isabella’s relative calm, meant that the audience were in little doubt that somehow all would end well.

Aidan Moriarty as Angelo - Fortune's Fool

Aidan Moriarty as Angelo (Photo credit: Fortune’s Fool’s promo video)

Adding to the brisk pace and comic atmosphere was Elbow, played as an Irish Yosemite Sam wholly unable to keep up with the urban criminals. The poor officer was neither physically or mentally as quick as Pompey – his Bugs Bunny – and fruitlessly pursued him around the garden. Later, in a Laurel and Hardy moment, Pompey sat upon Elbow’s back and boldly conducted his business with Madam Lucia. When interviewed by Escalus, Pompey was engaged in some horseplay with Elbow and turning to find the officer’s crotch in his face, he was forced to agree with the lord that his occupation did indeed stink. The play’s dénouement was in keeping with the spirit of the production. The Duke was paternally benevolent and his proposal to Isabella was met with a shy but pleased smile, while Angelo and Mariana seemed satisfied with one another, and even Lucia looked content with her lot.

Johanna O'Brien as Isabella - Fortune's Fool 2016

Johanna O’Brien as Isabella (Photo credit: Fortune’s Fool promo video)

Measure for Measure – Ireland 1916 included some cross-gendered casting and gender swaps; the Provost was played by a woman while the gallant Lucio became Madam Lucia. This latter change worked well as Lucia, it was claimed, had borne a child thanks to Pompey; the reasons behind Lucia’s refusal to bail Pompey, her necessary independence, and her jaded view of the world became clear and this minor character became a real force in the production.

MM 1916 - Lucia and others

A gentleman (left), prostitute (centre) and Madam Lucia (right) in the Monto

The play’s action was relocated to Dublin and references to Irish places, culture, and history were commonplace. For example, Mariana sang the folk song “I Know My Love”, Barnadine was now “Belfast-born”, and Countess Markievicz was an inspiration for the Provost’s costume and some of the character’s interests (see the programme for details). There was an ownership and consideration of our past at work here, as the production acknowledged Ireland’s complicated history with Britain, with the Church, and with its own citizens. The thousands of women who were condemned to the Magdalene Laundries, operated by the Catholic Church, were embodied by a lone pregnant mother who scrubbed a shirt under the watchful, unforgiving eye of a nun. Mistress Overdone and her women hailed from Monto, a section in the north inner city infamous in the early twentieth century as a red-light district that drew much of its business from the nearby British army barracks. Measure focuses on the Duke and the dilemmas of a well-to-do sister and brother, but this production drew attention to the lives of other, ordinary citizens. When the Duke, Angelo, Isabella, and Claudio took centre stage, the fortunes of the working class poor were pointedly played out on the margins of the space; a poor country girl sought help at the castle door (it remained shut), prostitutes advertised their wares to the audience on the streets (garden paths), while civil and church servants went about their business in the prison and government offices (walled areas). All of this worked well but the shift from Vienna to Dublin meant that some early modern terms, such as “bawd” and “punk”, stood out; changing the odd word to Irish slang would have strengthened the clarity and humour of some lines.

Dublin Castle - Dubh Linn gardens Coach House

Dubh Linn Gardens and the Coach House – Dublin Castle

Performed in the Dubh Linn Gardens, in Dublin Castle, Measure took advantage of the garden space, which had surprisingly good acoustics, and the twenty or so actors made full use of their green stage. (Seriously, a tip of the hat to Fortune’s Fool’s cast and crew as it took some energy to master and traverse the wide space and project words and emotion for two hours in the damp air and to compete on occasion with the rowdy seagulls.) The audience always had something to look at and turn to as characters entered from and exited to different locations; the space in front of the Coach House was used as Angelo’s office, the prison was a walled area, the lawns and paths were the city streets, and so on. Overall, this production was a pacey and fun rendition of Measure – it was worth braving the Irish summer weather for and it makes a fine contribution to the commemorations of 1916 and Shakespeare 400.

 

Measure for Measure – Ireland 1916 runs in Dublin Castle until Sunday 14th August 2016. The production is part of the British Council’s “Shakespeare Lives” programme. The show is approximately two hours long and there is no interval. The production’s programme is available here. Social media: #ShakespeareLives and #M4M-Ire1916

For more on Shakespeare 400 in Ireland see earlier posts and on Twitter: #ShaxIrl400 #Shakespeare400 #ShakespeareLives

Theatre: Hamlet, Mill Productions, 5–28 October

Venue: Mill Theatre, Dundrum, County Dublin
Date: 5–28 October
Show time: 10am Mon–Fri, Tuesdays at 1.30pm, Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7.30pm
Admission:  €20/€18
SCHOOL GROUP BOOKINGS: €15 per student
banner_2
From the website:

Mill Productions present Shakespeare’s HAMLET

After our highly successful run of KING LEAR last October we are very happy to announce our next Shakespearian production of HAMLET.

This traditional production, directed by Geoff O’Keeffe, remains faithful to the original text and will find resonances with Leaving Certificate students. Give us a call today to book your preferred date as we have quite a few dates fully booked already.

Wednesday 5th October to Friday 28th October
from 10th October: Monday to Friday at 10am
Afternoon performances every Tuesday at 1.30pm

BOOKING INFORMATION

• Call us on 01-2969340 or email aoife@milltheatre.ie

• €15 per student

• 1 Teacher per 20 students goes free

• 20% deposit required to secure booking

• Full payment due 2 weeks before performance date

BOOK EARLY TO SECURE YOUR PREFERRED DATE!

VIEW PROMOTIONAL VIDEO HERE!

https://youtu.be/4UcOQ66iBOQ

Concert: ‘Shakespeare 400’ New Dublin Voices

ndv-shakespeare-concert-poster-page-001-e1464897609904-600x400

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin 8

Sunday 12 June 2016, 7.30–9.30pm

Tickets €16/€12 available from www.newdublinvoices.com/store and at the door

International award-winning chamber choir, New Dublin Voices, mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with beautiful settings of his work by composers such as Mäntyjärvi, Carpenter, Harris and Vaughan Williams.

Theatre: Othello at the Abbey, 5 May – 11 June

at_othello_banner

‘Beware, my lord, of jealousy: It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on’

Othello is a powerful man. The protector of Venice, he has won many battles. But victory comes at a cost. Despite his apparent loyalty, Iago works in the shadows to orchestrate Othello’s downfall. Just how far will these men go in the pursuit of power?

On the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we are proud to present this contemporary thriller, featuring Peter Macon as Othello.

Internationally acclaimed Joe Dowling returns to the Abbey Theatre to direct this story of love, jealousy, betrayal and revenge. Come experience one of the greatest plays ever written.

BOOKING DETAILS FOR OTHELLO

5 May – 11 June
Previews 5 – 10 May
on the Abbey stage

Times: Mon – Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Sat 2pm
Tickets: €13 – €45 / €13 – €23 Conc.

Sign Language interpreted performance: Thursday 9 June, 7.30pm
Audio-described and captioned performance: Saturday 11 June, 2pm

Book tickets at abbeytheatre.ie.

 

This is part of the ‘Shakespeare Lives Across Ireland’ programme, which can be downloaded here. More #Shakespeare400 events can be found on the blog using the tag #ShaxIRL400. Follow us on Twitter at @ShakesinIreland.

Theatre: Romeo & Juliet

Gate Theatre

Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare

Previews from Thursday 26th March
Opening Night Tuesday 31st March

Tickets from €25 on sale soon

“Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”
Romeo

Shakespeare’s tragedy of teenage passions and civil strife comes crashing across The Gate stage next spring. Romeo and Juliet, from two rival families, turn their back on their parent’s ancient feud and embark on an intense and secret love affair, that ignites within them a depth of feeling that explodes in some of the fieriest writing about love in the history of the stage. With their families at war, the lovers risk everything to be together, in a fierce and famous drama of love and revenge.

Director Wayne Jordan
Set Design Ciaran O’Melia
Costume Design Catherine Fay
Lighting Design Sinead Wallace

Rodin – ‘The Kiss’

From the Gate website.

Theatre: In Acting Shakespeare, Pavilion Dun Laoghaire, 16 October

In Acting Shakespeare, a free adaptation by James DeVita of Ian McKellen’s play, will be performed at the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, on Thursday 16 October at 8pm. Tickets are €18/16.

 

From the Pavilion theatre’s website, where you can also watch video clips:

In Acting Shakespeare

Pemberley Productions and The Lime Tree Theatre

Written by and Starring James DeVita
Freely adapted from the play “In Acting Shakespeare”, compiled and written by Sir Ian McKellen
On tour from the USA and direct from Off-Broadway comes the funny, touching and uplifting story of one man’s discovery of Shakespeare, acting and language.
Based on Sir Ian McKellen’s “Performing Shakespeare”, James DeVita tells his own story of a young fisherman searching for a new career.
“A good one-man show leaves the audience wanting more, which is exactly what happens.”
The Huffington Post
“In Acting Shakespeare is a splendid, delightfully personal comedic concoction”
Backstage.com
James DeVita’s fun, fervent tribute to his journey with the world’s greatest poet deftly weaves Shakespeare’s life with reminiscences of James’ own days on a Long Island fishing boat (and nights as a classical actor).