Droichead Think Tank: Capital Punishment and Same-sex Marriage

As part of preparing for The Laramie Project, the cast conducted extensive research into the interesting topics the play explores, such as the death penalty, religion and same sex marriage to name but a few. In this week’s blog, two of our members would like to share with you some of the information they have gathered. After reading this, if you would like to learn more about the issues, come see The Laramie Project in the Droichead Arts Centre this Saturday to see these topics dealt with. In the first section of the blog, Louise Campbell gives us her views on the death penalty and the worrying crime rate in Ireland:

A few days ago, during English class, our teacher brought up a very controversial subject, he asked us to write down a few ideas on what we would do to lessen the criminal activity within the country. One of the girls suggested the death penalty and how it would solve everyone’s problems if they just killed criminals rather than let them live just to commit more crimes in the future. Now, people who know me would know that I’m all for other peoples’ opinions, but for this I must disagree. Yes, I understand where she’s coming from when she says that it stops criminals from committing crimes again after being released from prison. Although, in my opinion, I believe that locking someone up in harsh but bearable prisons isn’t such a bad idea. Prison conditions, I believe, aren’t tough enough nowadays in Ireland, it’s ridiculous that people are able to be released from prison early for ‘good behaviour’. One point that I mentioned in the class was how people shouldn’t be given special treatment in prison and that for incredibly harsh crimes (rape, murder, etc.) people should be put in jail for life (which I believe should mean for life). Apart from the death penalty being considered as ‘giving people the easy way out’ it also costs a lot of money, something that a country such as ours can’t afford to waste on people who don’t deserve it. There are often criminals who commit crimes because they may have a mental disability, something that isn’t their fault at all, just human nature. In these cases, these people should be diagnosed and checked into mental institutions, where hopefully they can keep themselves safe. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing I could ever want more than if there was no crime in the world but realistically that’s not the world that we live in, and that world will never exist. It’s horrible to say that crime has become something that we’ve almost began to ignore, humans killing other humans has become the norm in a way, when people hear of someone being murdered people don’t make a huge deal out of it like they would have years ago. It makes me sad to think that compared to years ago, when you could walk around at night and worry less about something bad happening to you, people nowadays are often genuinely terrified to leave their homes in fear of being robbed or abused. Of course I’d love if something could be done about this but we all know that’s not going to happen. The number of crimes in the past few years have been increasing, even if we can’t stop crime, we should try to decrease the number as much as possible by taking action immediately and stop giving criminals ‘special treatment’.

Part two of the blog is by Gavin Byrne, who has a lot to say about the upcoming marriage referendum in Ireland:

Aloha again. It’s blog time people, and this time around, I’ll help any of ye still on the fence concerning the upcoming referendum on May 22 about gay marriage. Now for any living under a rock recently, this said referendum is to allow two same gendered individuals to marry…. Now, alas I may not technically be of the way of being able to vote in this, so my knowledge on all the legal malarkey is not absolute, but it’s sufficient. To be able to vote, you must be;

1)Eighteen or up

2)Registered to vote by May 5th

3)Show up and actually vote

Now, should same-sex couples be able to marry you might ask? A simple pros and cons list should help.

Pros of Samesex Marriage

People can marry who they want

People feel good

Won’t demean existing marriages

The Wedding Planning industry gets a sales boost

Cons of Samesex marriage

Now that Fella or Lady you’ve been hankering after is truly and completely taken

Equality(?)

Now, marriage is an old concept, well outdating Christianity, and is based about mutual benefitting partnership and love really. And way back when lots of marriages couldn’t happen and now they can. This is progress methinks. Like how way back when, different races couldn’t mingle and marry, and how different religions couldn’t marry, but all that’s yet to be allowed, is samesex marriage. Sure, marriage isn’t is for all people, and some disagree with its very concept, but I think with marriage, it’s all up to the individuals, and I feel the options should be there for all. I mean going down on one knee, and asking for a ‘civil’ partnership, hardly is romantic or that. Now you may ask why I’m doing this, and opting for same-sex marriage, because as Jedadiah Schultz would say, “Cause I’m not gay” It’s just I feel strongly for equality and that. On a slightly relating note, if you’re unsure about the ‘gays’ or even if you are, you should come check out “The Laramie Project” back by popular demand on May 16 in the Droichead Arts Centre! And so in summary, basically, every couple should have the right to marry if they want, so please vote Yes. Well, this has been fantastic fun now, but I’ll end about here. Who know, might do another… This has been the brilliant Gavin Byrne. Have fun now! Sea ya!

Young Critics with NAYD

This week we have guest writer Thomas Caffrey, regaling his experiences as part of NAYD’s Young Critics programme!

When I first heard about the Young Critics earlier this year, I must say that i was intrigued to say the least. Free tickets to major productions and free accommodation in Dublin? Count me in! An important question I sook the answer to was; “what is a critic?” Not a miserable pile of secrets surely? Surely there is more to the tradition than simple miserablism?

We as a group met on the Friday by the GPO and absconded hastily to the Marino Institute(nowhere near as sinister as it sounds) where we participated in a workshop outlining the basics of “criticism” and what exactly it means. Is criticism just spewing hatred indiscriminately? Is it simply the dissection of a piece of art? The second definition may be a little more correct- it is about taking apart a piece of media or art and evaluating it. What worked, what didn’t? Its as much an exercise for the reviewer as it is for the reader. However it is most beneficial to the creator of said media or art, highlighting just what to expand upon in future works and what to excise. The following day, we attended two performances- Pals, The Irish at Gallipoli and Wayne Jordan’s Romeo and Juliet. Both pieces had positives, and both had problems. Our identification of both was key to our task of criticism. Criticism seems as much about self revelation and discovery of what one likes and dislikes as anything else. I won’t criticise either piece here, for fear of over indulging myself or alienating any potential readers. All in all, the weekend provided a glimpse into a fine and noble tradition oft falsely criticised(ha!) and granted a new set of skills to utilise in the future. For better or for worse, I can no longer watch anything quite the same way. This course has changed my perception of art in general, and has as such succeeded in its task