RSS

‘Zeitgeist’ – New writing from Bernard Field

Irish theatre has proven through much of the twentieth and into the twenty-first century that it very truly has more than just a passing flair for history. Irish culture is dominated by an oral tradition of stories, laments, experience and memory that ties in with the past, the dead, ghosts and place. Brian Friel, Tom Murphy, Marina Carr and Conor McPherson are just a few names that echo this eminence of the ‘historic’ in their writing. Even as far back as Yeats and Gregory, there was an air of mysticism, of legend and myth – of history, about Irish theatre. I’m not sure we have ever shrugged that off.

Over the next decade an inevitable and unprecedented level of historical analysis and evaluation will take place with centenaries of events from the 1913 Lock-Out, Home Rule, World War I, the Anglo-Irish Treaty trough to the Civil War and into Independence all taking place. These, (mostly Irish) examples will look at how perspectives of these major social and political events have changed or perhaps remained unaltered as the years have gone by. These perspectives are born out of experience and later, by memory.

Zeitgeist is a new play written by Bernard Field and currently being staged at the Town Hall Theatre, Galway and will be travelling to the New Theatre, TempleBar, Dublin in May 2012. It is the story of Ludwig, a now elderly German man who in his younger days was a trained doctor and also a member of the Nazi Party and later a camp guard in the death-ground that was Auschwitz.

Now in his twilight years, Ludwig is living out his life with the company of his wife Frieda in the comfort of his home and in a routine of daily naps, cake, classical music and in adoring his butterfly collection.

This shy and retiring homestead vista is upended by the impending arrival of an interviewer determined to exorcise the past and repressed memories and life of Ludwig and also Frieda. As Ludwig outlines: “We are the past. We are repositories of knowledge”.

Playwright Bernard Field bases the play on a real and past interview he read in a German newspaper where a retired Nazi concentration camp guard offers his perspectives on his life’s work for the brutal and barbaric regime. For that man and for Ludwig, the perspective was similar: no regrets. Accountability does not begin with admittance, it requires acceptance.

For the rest of this article please see Writing.ie here

For tickets and further information on the production of Zeitgeist at the New Theatre, TempleBar, click here: http://www.thenewtheatre.com/tnt_php/scripts/page/reading.php?reading_id=14&gi_sn=4f955be07489a%7C0

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Auschwitz, History, Theatre

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

‘Ranks’ – A New Exhibition by Limerick City Archives

Ranks

Ranks – A Limerick Industry (Exhibition)

The Limerick City Archives in collaboration with the Hunt Museum has launched a unique exhibition this evening (Tuesday) on the former Ranks Flour Mills titled Ranks A Limerick Industry.  This exhibition is a collaboration between Limerick City Archives and the Hunt Museum and is based on the stories, memories and contributions of former Ranks workers and their families.

Ranks Flour Mills and grain ships were a crucial part of Limerick life over a span of several decades and it’s legacy provides an excellent example of life and work in Limerick’s recent past.

Through interpretative panels, installations, photographs, documents, industrial equipment and memorabilia the story of the working and social life of the Ranks workers is told. The exhibition will run from 13th March – 31st May 2012 at the Hunt Museum on Rutland St.

The acquisition of the Limerick Mills by Ranks in 1930 was hugely controversial as Ranks was a British company. However the company grew to the biggest or second biggest flour mill in the state during the Emergency. The mill gained further profitability during the 1960s but in the 1970s the company began to lose market share as Ireland’s accession to the EEC opened up the Irish flour market to cheap imports.  Rank eventually closed in 1983.

An Oral History Project was organised with the assistance of Mary Immaculate College, staff and students. Through a series of interviews Limerick City Council sought to record the experiences of those employed by Ranks.

City Archivist, Jacqui Hayes said “Over the past year Limerick City Council have conducted a series of oral history interviews and received material from former Ranks workers including an old wheat shovel, an old bastible for baking bread, a clock that was a given as a retirement present & even a high Nelly bicycle!”

Ranks reached into every home in Ireland with its products and advertisements. Its marketing strategy and brand awareness made it a recognisable household name. Traditionally Ranks was regarded as a good place to work, one that paid good wages, even contractors or casual workers were relatively well paid.

From an early date the Shannon Mills offered their employees benefits that few other workers locally or nationally received including the introduction of a pension scheme in 1947.

Tony Clohessy, a former employee remembers, “It was a happy-go-lucky place. Industrial relations were very good compared to other places a lot of companies around town were bad- never strikes there-everything was negotiated- the management contributed to the atmosphere- it was all first names unless you wanted it otherwise…Ranks was different- a pleasure.”

Future plans for the Ranks story are already in place. The City’s Archives commitment is to not just to record and preserve the people’s history but to bring our heritage to as wide an audience as possible. Alongside the publication of a book- the archives are opening a website dedicated to Ranks history and in co-operation with the Hunt Museum will host an exhibition dedicated to the Limerick Mills.

For more information or to enquire about guided exhibition tours, school workshops and lunchtime lectures please contact The Hunt Museum contact the Hunt Museum on +353 61 312833.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Archives, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Apt Apps for Book Lovers

When looking at your reading habits of late, chances are there is a sizable balance between reading the page and screen. The same can be said of your writing habits – be it sitting in your armchair with your laptop or notepad or else on the bus or train and typing a few lines into an app on your smartphone to keep safe for when you get home.

In fact, if you look around on your morning or evening commute (perhaps not you drivers – keep those tired eyes on the road) you will see more and more people glued to the screen of their kindle, ipad or smartphone. Well, for all the bibliophiles among them, there must be something worthwhile that is keeping them from picking up and carrying around their latest paperback or hardback volume. Interestingly, it is not just reading a book or news that are a primary function of these devices as they are becoming much more active and indeed an everyday part of the routine of a reader and/or writer.

There are literally thousands of apps that are very functional and practical for book and word lovers as well as the growing few that are simply just good fun. I have included a selection below of some of the best, most useful and also just good for passing some time on that commute. These are, of course, a tiny fraction of what is out there so if there are apps you use and swear by for all about the written word and e-reading and writing then leave a comment and join in the conversation.

  • Kindle App – Android, Iphone, Ipad (Free)

Perhaps the king of the e-book/e-reading revolution, this allows you to take your kindle library on-the-go on your smartphone. Very functional and a handy substitute should you leave your Kindle at home or forget to charge it.

  • Ibooks – Iphone, Ipad (Free)

As you would expect from Apple, this is a slick and good looking, user friendly e-reading app. Allows you to purchase and download to your device and read on the go. As with most of these types of apps (smartphone, ipad, tablet etc) there is a backlight that can tire the eyes

  • Aldiko – Android (€2.99)

E-reading device app that allows for adjustable font type, size, colour and line spacing. Download directly from online store direct to your phone or tablet – a good android alternative to ibooks.

  • Bookcrawler – Iphone, Ipad ($1.99)

A great app for the book anaoraks. It allows you to create your very own personal library catalogue. Using your phone or Ipad 2 camera you can scan the book barcode and Bookcrawler will generate the relevant catalogue information. You can add tags, collection information, custom fields and decimals (to note the location of books in a personal library). There’s also an option to link it to a book in the iBooks, Kindle, or Stanza apps, and you can even mark a book that you’ve loaned out. Simples.

  • Audible – Android, Iphone (Free)

A much loved and widely used app that makes listening to digital audio-books on the go a doddle. It’s layout is easy to navigate and also includes chapter navigation, annotated bookmarks, sleep mode, stats (who doesn’t love stats?) One pity is you can no longer download direct from your phone but Wifi transfer from your computer-based Audible account works well. Put on your headphones and enjoy.

  • Dropbox – Iphone, Ipad, Android (Free)

One of the great file storage and docu-portable apps that allows up to 2 gbs (Free!) of storage. You can sync across devices that you have Dropbox added to so you can write in your phone, view it on your tablet and email it from your desktop. Life A.D. (After Dropbox) is so much simpler.

  • Evernote –  Android, Iphone, Ipad (Free)

Another app that, like Dropbox, you can sync across multiple devices, you will never be stuck when out and on the move when inspiration strikes. Write directly into Evernote and save for access later. A great feature allows you to record and save audio notes and photographs via your phone’s camera directly into the app. Another real beauty of this app is the organisation it allows, start various ‘notes’ for various stories or chapters or ideas, or even the shopping list.

  • Goodreads – Andoid (Free)

A solid all-rounder. Goodreads allows you to scan book barcodes to catalogue and save your library, to always have your personal library catalogue with you. You can search across Google and Amazon for prices, reviews and ordering. Build your own profile and join in groups. Good reads is very good.

Just for Fun:

  • miTypewriter: The Amazing Typewriter App – Iphone, Ipad ($3.99)

The most expensive of the apps shown here but just great fun! This is a good old-skool typewriter gone digital. There is just something about that font and type that makes want to nip down to your granny and beg for that typewriter buried in the attic.  Your typed master pieces can be emailed for printing later. All you are missing is the ‘clack’ and ‘ding’ of the real thing.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Books

 

Tags: , , ,

‘Over the Edge’ – New Writing in Galway

Over the Edge public reading

Over the Edge public reading

A quick croissant and a coffee is just about enough to keep Kevin Higgins seated long enough for what would be a really insightful account of not just teaching writing skills through the Galway based Over The Edge group but also of writing and publishing in Ireland. He dashes from one class to another with an hour to spare in between. As someone who has given just under two-hundred individual sessions to writers and students of all levels over the past year, he is in a prime place to know how emerging writing and writers are doing.

This Thursday (19th January) marks the ninth anniversary of the Over the Edge writing group based in Galway. Set up as an initial idea by his wife and fellow published author, Susan Millar DuMars, the group gave their first public reading in January 2003. It occurred as a response to the few platforms and lack of forums for emerging writers in Ireland. The idea was simple: three readers (one established and two emerging) a reading time of fifteen minutes each (no exceptions) and then an open-mic for others to throw their literary hat into the ring.

The system has served them well with a consistent and loyal audience that always attracted newcomers at each public reading who embraced the democratic nature of the whole thing: everyone had a voice and a story to tell. Higgins outlines, “Susan and I had no real end plan for this when we set it up. It was to give writers and audience alike a forum to challenge the hierarchy that can be evident in Irish writing circles. There were a lot of closet writers with potential and we wanted to make the development and public reading setting a lot less reverential, less like Sunday mass. There can be questions and challenges.”

For the rest of this interview with Kevin Higgins of Over The Edge click here to see it on Writing.ie

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Books

 

Tags: , , , , ,

A Closer Look – Drawing Dublin’s Theatres

When you walk past a theatre do you ever stop and take a moment and really look at the building? Is there a particular way a theatre should look? If there were no signage would you instantly know you are outside a theatre? It is an interesting question. Perhaps to truly get a sense of what the facades of Dublin’s theatres form and represent you have to create your own images of these buildings. That is exactly what Kate Brangan did.

“I am a graphic designer and illustrator from Dublin. The theatre drawings were undertaken for a self directed project I did last year. I have worked in the design industry in Dublin for three years and when my most recent job ended last year after the company I worked for went in to liquidation, I found myself looking for work. A three month freelance contact with the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival was advertised and the idea blossomed from there”. Abbey_pic“I was aware that the role was a coveted one I wanted to apply to the position with a unique CV, so I decided I would draw each of the theatres listed on their website (16 in total) and create a booklet that would also display the drawings. Motivated by the deadline that the Festival applications had to be in by, I took a rare sunny evening out last June and cycled a full circle of the city, visiting 13 of the 16 theatres. (I visited the remaining three at different times as they were in the suburbs.) I spent a bit of time at each theatre, taking photos from all angles before cycling on to the next.”

“The reason I mention this at all it that I really want to share what an amazing and enjoyable way it was to spend an evening in Dublin. I have lived here all my life but never before have a reason for such a diverse journey around the city in a concentrated amount of time and one which also forced me to take a proper look at this range of buildings in such a small space. Cycling down through Gardiner Street from The O’Reilly Theatre, to then find myself in the grounds of Trinity taking in the beautiful structure of the Samuel Beckett Theatre within the same 30 minutes was a really refreshing experience! It made me look at my city in a whole new light and this is in turn made me really enjoy and love doing the drawings all the more.”

Talking with Kate there is an obvious sense of an artistic quality and appreciation for the aesthetic qualities of these theatre buildings. Brangan openly admits she has not had a life-long relationship with theatre but explains how the experience opened up some of the spirit and atmosphere that is unique to each theatre space. “I just think it is quite funny how things work out because at the time I considered it (getting the advertised job) crucial and was devastated when I didn’t get it, but the process that got me there, doing the drawings, making the booklet etc. turned out to be much more beneficial in the end. I decided I enjoyed it so much and was pleased with the outcome that I decided I did not want to leave it there. In order to remove the association of the drawings from my failed attempt to get the job, I decided to add in two extra theatres, that were not on the original Festival list, which are in fact my two personal favourites, The Grand Canal Theatre and The Olympia Theatre and from there made up a batch of booklets which I brought down to the Winding Stair Bookshop on Ormond Quay and also to ‘Article’ in the Powerscourt Centre and the booklets of drawings sold out completely.”

“I did surprise myself by realising just how much I enjoyed taking in all the varied detail that the theatres possessed. It would excite me when I arrived at each theatre to find it was in complete contrast to the one I just left, the repetitive horizontal brick work of O’Reilly, the vertical slats of Samuel Beckett, the grand structure of Newman House compared to the humble townhouse on Pearse Street, also to then have so much brickwork involved in the city based theatres compared to the modern structures and angles of the suburban ones. It was just so interesting to be able to pack so much detail into such a small publication. Each theatre has their own unique history and story, and what I think I really love about them is that this is something that is almost unique to theatres. They are all included in the booklet under this umbrella term of theatres but each building is so unique and a stand-alone structure in itself.”

To view the images from Eighteen Theatres please visit Kate Brangan’s website by clicking here

Contact and order details for work by Kate Brangan can also be seen on her website http://katebrangan.com/index.php?/projects/theatres/

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Abbey Theatre, Theatre

 

Tags: , , , ,

Spotlight on Galway for Theatre Festival 2011

Galway Theatre Festival. Image by Paddy D'Arcy

The Irish theatre spotlight falls fully on the West this week as the Galway Theatre Festival has just kicked off. Already with an opening day with sell-out productions under its belt and with many more to follow, Barry Houlihan talks to Director of the Galway Theatre Festival, Ròisìn Stack to discuss the growth of the Festival and what the audience can expect from this festival feast.

Galway native Ròisìn Stack has been associated with the Festival since her days as a performer with Fregoli theatre group in the inaugural festival. Now, as Festival Director, Stack has, since she came on board in 2009, worked and overseen the expansion of the Galway Theatre Festival. The Galway Theatre Festival started in 2008 and featured four days back-to-back of shows in Nun’s Island. In the second year, the Festival expanded into the Town-Hall studio and produced a five day Festival run and has expanded every year since.

To get a festival of this size and variety moving and with momentum, the idea of a festival ‘by the people and for the people’ is very much key to the ethos and spirit of the Festival.

To read the full interview with Ròisìn Stack on writing.ie click here.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 27, 2011 in Theatre

 

Tags: , , ,

Bluepatch Productions: Talking Theatre with Artistic Director Aoife Connolly

Aoife Connolly

Bluepatch Productions staged one of the hits of the 2010 Galway Theatre Festival with their play Memory Palace. Now, with the Festival once again upon us, Artistic Director of Bluepatch Productions, Aoife Connolly, meets with Barry Houlihan to discuss their new work and their aims and focus as a company.

Rushing from an evening rehearsal session to make this interview you can tell Aoife Connolly is in full Theatre Festival mode. For this year’s Festival, Bluepatch Productions are staging their latest work Chasing Butterflies. This will be staged in collaboration with Dragonfly Theatre, In the Garden. As Artistic Director of Bluepatch, Connolly outlines how the company came about and in what direction their hopes and aims are focused.

“Bluepatch started as an idea during my M.A. in Theatre Directing in U.C.D., but starting my own company was always part of the plan to be honest. I was a working actress before I decided to undertake the M.A. and before deciding to focus on directing.  I had always felt I was missing out on something or not contributing enough to the creative process. Becoming a director allowed me that opportunity to shape and create my own work.”

To read the rest of this interview on writing.ie click here

 
16 Comments

Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Theatre

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26 other followers