Cooley and the Gang

Earlier this month the Droichead gang met up with our longtime pals Mad Youth Theatre and Dundalk Youth theatre for the Conclave in Cooley! Organised by Create Louth, the Conclave in Cooley saw members from all three youth theatres take part in some masterclass workshops with Raymond Keane and Declan Gorman! Here are some of our members testimonials of the weekend


Despite the misleading name, Conclave in Cooley is quite a simple idea, bring the three Louth youth theatres together and see what kind of madness ensues. On arriving at the Carlingford Adventure Centre, we found ourselves quickly thrown into a room together in an attempt that all 45 names would be learned. After a quick look at a game each youth theatre preferred, we jumped into our workshop. The junior group had the luck of receiving Raymond Keane as our facilitator. With his guidance we studied the four temperaments, sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic. With each temperament Raymond Keane made us feel in our bones ending each temperament by placing one of the four fabulous masks on a person he felt embodied the temperament and allowing them to walk around the room generating that temperament. In some cases it caused fear and in others sadness so strong some tears could easily have been shed. On the Sunday Raymond Keane introduced us to the idea of breaking the fourth wall in theatre. On the handful of people who volunteered a hat was placed and a red nose, they then broke the fourth wall by having a conversation with us with their eyes. Over the course of the workshop we played many games including the penguin game. As well as having the magical experience of working with Raymond Keane, we also had the pleasure of seeing a short play performed by the senior group. As if that was not enough drama, on the Saturday night we also had the pleasure of seeing Declan Gorman’s “The Dubliners Dilemma”. Which was an amazing piece of theatre. The weekend was one of pure drama and I think many people myself included were gutted that the workshop couldn’t stretch into the week.

– Sorcha Mooney


I took part in the most fascinating workshop with Raymond Keane about clowns. It started off a bit slowly with some games to try and get your mind thinking differently which I found frustrating at first but then once I got the hang of it I really enjoyed it. We played the slap game which takes a while to get the hang of, but it really is a great game so what you do is you stand closely in a circle and when your name is called you lightly slap (or hard if Ronan or Cathal are either side of you) the person beside you, and if you’re slapped you call a name. The rules sound easy but as soon as your slapped you always draw a blank. Raymond played other fun games such as learning secret hand and feet shakes and a clapping and clicking sequence game which I’m always doing now. Then we learned about The four masks of the temperaments. We learned first about the Choleric mask which represented an ordering anger whose phrase was “This way follow me!!” We then learned about the Sanguine mask who represented happiness whose line was “Wow”. Then we learned about the Melancholic mask who represented sadness its phrase was “No pain, No gain, I will overcome” the girl who presented this one put so much sadness into it and it was brilliant. The last one we learned about was the Phlegmatic mask who represented a sort of living in the moment attitude and Its phrase which luckily I was chosen to present was “I like things, just the way they are” I presented it very loudly and made myself as big as possible and waved my arms all around, it was great fun. We then did a thing where someone had to put on a clown nose and funny hat and go in front of everyone else, for the first one I was the only one to put my hand up, I went out and put a funny hat and clown nose on and when I came in Raymond made me stare at him in the eyes for long which at first made me a bit nervous and I found quite difficult then I got the hang of it and I could move on to other people and I had to see what I could feel. This was all fascinating after I was done other people did it and it wasn’t as fun being stared at by the clown as it was being the clown. This was the last thing we did with Raymond. I wish we could have done more because he is just brilliant. I had an amazing weekend in Carlingford because Raymond Keane is out of this world.

– Daniel Gibbons


Raymond Keane is a clown, actor, and marvellous facilitator. His skills in his work bring amazement to all that witness and experience it, somewhat similarly to his hair. His hair flows like the Niagara Falls down his neck. It shines an almighty white colour that could blind an unsuspecting passerby. He could shake it all over his head and misplace it but with one simple flick, or with a brush with his hand, it goes back to perfection. His voice could put a baby to sleep in seconds if he wanted. It could calm down a teenager panicking about exams that are coming up in two days that he hasn’t studied for and will decide what he does for the rest of his life. His masks could instill fear, happiness, depression or indifference to anyone who saw them in all of their beauty.

– Ronan O’Gara


On our trip to Carlingford the DYT group was joined with Dundalk youth theatre and MAD. On the 1st day we had dinner and went straight into workshop. The 3 groups were mixed together but we were separated depending on age. The younger group, I was in and we were taught by Raymond. It was awesome at the start as for the first few minutes he didn’t say a word so we were in complete silence. Raymond taught us over the 3 days we learned about clown, the 4 temperaments choleric (red), melancholic (blue), sanguine (yellow), and phlegmatic (green), and above all we all had great fun except for when i got lost and accidentally went down a fire escape. This was one of the greatest weekends I had and had great fun, the meals were great and everyone from the youth theatres got along with everybody else, we were all lively and cheerful and the meals served were very nice and we had a hearty breakfast lunch and dinner This was a great weekend cant wait for the next outing with Droichead youth theatre.

– Glyn Kenny


And there you have it folks! Some very happy drama kids after a very great weekend! Til the next one!


The Immportance of Cleaners in Theatre: A Riveting Blog by Gavin Byrne

This week’s blog from the great and mysterious Gavin Byrne is on cleaning people. As in people who clean. Not the process of making people clean. That’s for another week.

Aloha there, it’s me, Gavin here. They say it takes a village to raise a baby, and in many ways, I like to think of theatre as a baby. Sure, one person can raise it up alone, and it can be incredible. But I find, that a whole group of connected people, working together as a community, can just raise the best baby ever. And like a baby, many people help make theatre what it is. Sure, you got the obvious actor or direct raisers of the child, but it’s also many other people too, working to help make the best thing possible. And it’s easy to forget about the less obvious, less seen people in the extraordinary world of theatre. For example, cleaners in the theatre community.

Bet you never thought about them. I mean, it’s easy not to. But theatre, being the ancient tradition that is, has always had a big need for them. Like, the common belief of the throwing of food during bad theatre. Now, in such cases, cleaners would just, you know, help these horrid thespians out I guess. But look at modern theatre, and not gonna lie, we make messes. Be they glittery messes, food messes, or simply miscellaneous messes of flowing theatre-ness. Come on guys, shows are messy, rehearsals are messy, and just general theatre can be messy. And we can get a little, you know preoccupied by what we’re doing, be it as actors, or even as audience, we forget the place and role of cleaners in theatre.

  Cause after a show, an audience mostly just wants to express their feeling of the show, talk to people they know in the theatre in some cases, and let’s face it, just leave. Cause, even after good shows, an audience, more often than not have homes to go to, or just places in general. How many of you think about the people who have to clean up after every show? Not many, if any at all, I’d say. Just think back to the last play you saw. Remember any spillage, or mess, or possible dirtying of the stage, or even the house/audience area? The answer’s probably gonna be a yes. And when you left, did you even think about what would happen to it? Or who would have to clean it? I’m guessing you probably didn’t, cause you were busy processing the play you just watched, and other ‘more important’ things in your life.

  And that’s understandable, it’s just human natural for people to focus on what they see, hear and experience, in oppose to what they don’t experience, such as where messes get cleaned. As I said, it can take a lot of people to make really good theatre, and we should try to appreciate the hard work that makes a successful show, both the obvious work, and the more obscure behind the scenes work too. Thanks y’all, I hope I gave you food for thought, and a better view of the world of theatre.


An Evening with The Powerpuff Girls: A Review By Lydia Keogh

This weeks blog comes from Lydia Keogh and her ‘girlpower adventures’ at The Powerpuff Girls, performed by DU Players during Trinity Fresher’s Month!
When one is asked to write a blog, it is a stressful thought to find something to write about. The Powerpuff Girls in the DU Player’s Theatre wasn’t such a stressful topic. Starring our very own Lorna Kettle (who did a absolutely hilarious cameo in it), The Powerpuff Girls was an amazing performance.
When I first got told about the name and concept I was intrigued. I kept asking myself  “How this could be a play?” I was always a huge Powerpuff Girls fan as a kid, so I had such a childish fan girl moment when I heard about the play. I was very pleasantly surprised at how hilarious and well put together this show was. Excellent actors who grasped the roles and the humour perfectly!
The play was very much based on the Powerpuff Girl legacy. The three main power puffs Bubbles, Buttercup, Blossom and the usual bad guys! This version had a hilarious darker humour that as we all got older thought would be funny to be added into this innocent show. Every person in the theatre was in stitches laughing, as it captured everyone’s sense of humour perfectly.
Another things I found very impressive were the music and the lack of space in the theatre. The play had one set made up of a bed and a city view background. The space was small but used very efficiently. As an audience member, you wouldn’t want any more set changes because it was used so well.
This is one of the best plays I’ve seen in a long while. I would see it again in a heart beat. Such a clever idea, I never would have thought it would be such a fabulous play!
10/10 definitely.

National Association of Youth Drama’s Young Critics Program

Thomas Caffrey is back. And this time it’s theatrical. This is part one of his account of his trek into the dense and treacherous jungle of modern Irish Theatre with this year’s NAYD Young Critics Panel. Read on… If you dare.

So we returned yet again, our task set, our resolves in check. Dissemble theatre internally, build it back together inside the eye of our minds and see if it all comes crashing down like an unbalanced game of jenga. The weekend got off to an impeccable start; anything that begins with missing maths class can hardly be faulted. Meeting outside of the GPO, we had an extremely brief reunion followed by a swift trip to the Project Arts Centre, where we devoured some sandwiches mercilessly and took part in a preparatory workshop during which we unpacked and set out our collective expectations of the three performances we would be attending; Luck Just Kissed You Hello, The Night Alive and Les Corps Diplomatiques.

First up was Luck Just Kissed You Hello, an emotionally raw and gripping tale of gender dysphoria set against the backdrop of the quintessential Irish father’s slow agonising demise in a hospital bed. This piece hinged on the central performance of Amy Conroy as the trans man Mark. Her performance was nuanced and sensitive, while retaining a sinister edge, exposing hints of vulnerability disguised by bravado at every turn. Against a sparse stage, this performance felt a little disjointed, almost as though it were surfing the wave of what makes Irish theatre Irish; that is to say minimalism, self deprecation, reunion at a family death. However, the trans subplot marks a certain divergence from this rigidity and formulaic attitude.

I was thoroughly surprised then, to discover that the next play, The Night Alive was extremely similar in its “Irishness” and subtle divergence from the set nature of said Irishness. The Night Alive concerns your average waster with delusions of grandeur; our protagonist has his own mini business, dreams of hitting the big time, speaks about his familial ties, helps a woman escape her abusive boyfriend and lectures her on the evils that men do. However, he is predictably hypocritical; everything’s a sham. There’s a marked contrast between thought and reality; he pays the woman he saved for sexual favours, he lives like a parasitic leech of his uncle’s goodwill, abuses his best friends simple nature… Our hero is anything but.

And that may well be the play’s downfall. Who do we root for? The clichéd prostitute with a heart of gold? The underdeveloped, however wonderfully acted maniac who appears for all of two scenes before absurdly vanishing with nary a mention? On that note, a major flaw in this play is that it feels lacking. It lacks a focal point or even a climactic scene. As a matter of fact, there is one horrific moment wherein a man’s head is repeatedly bashed with a hammer. One would expect to see the fallout of this, but our other characters just accept it, asking no questions whatsoever. It lacks in character development of all but our “hero”(term used relatively…).

However what it does not lack is heart. Tommy for all his various flaws is a likeable man, a charming rogue, and the plays open ending is the most perplexing since Memento’s. So I certainly found this a more effective piece than Luck Just Kissed You Hello, owing in no small part to its superior soundtrack; a swirling mass of sitars and snaskrit chants alongside indie rock creating a strange image of Ireland today.

This is the first instalment of a two part piece. The second will cover Les Corps Diplomatiques, the most psychedelic experience available this side of the law