Work Experience with Christina, or How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate Public Transport

This week’s blog was written by Daniel Duma for us while he was in indentured servitude- uh- we mean- work experience! Please enjoy this charming post that he definitely wasn’t told to write at gunpoint.

So I’m in TY and the school tells us “Hey, you’ll miss school for three weeks due to Work Experience and midterms; make sure you have them planned or you’ll be here scrubbing out toilets! :D”. This is obviously saying that we better make connections with people soon if we don’t have them, which could be quite intimidating for those of us who are more socially awkward than others. Thankfully, I had joined DYT in June so I decided to ask Christina Matthews, our teacher, if I could join her on Work Experience. She allowed me to (and also manipulated me into writing this blog), so I present to you an account of the week of the 8th of January to the 12th of January, 2016 and my Work Experience in drama teaching.

Monday: Thankfully, I had a bit of rest on Monday for which I could do general prep for the next four days. I started thinking about how I could do something for the annual #DroicheadLove social media campaign. I created my Twitter account because emailing the photos and text every day to the official DYT account seemed like too much hassle. While I didn’t have much success thinking about what might be the next great social hit, it flashed in my head when I saw two smiley figures sold for 50c each in Hallmark. The idea was simple: create a little love story around these yellow people, named Adam and Lilith. The only problem was that the idea struck me after I bought only one of them, so I had to send my mum the next day to find out if a second one was left or if I had to learn Photoshop in a few days. Quite fortunately, there was a second one left. I was also alerted to the presence of the Bord Gáis Student Theatre Critique Awards (a more verbose title could not be possible, apparently) and decided to extend my review of the recent showing “The Poor Little Boy With No Arms” into a full-blown piece by the middle of the week. Most of this day is what might be registered as the dreaded admin, but I got through in the end to Tuesday……

Tuesday: The advice that I had gotten the previous week had been successful, which made going by bus far less traumatic than it could have been. I was worried that I would have to make my way back to the first roundabout when I was assured by the “Seatown Roundabout” sign greeting me when I got off. One bridge and community school later and I was at the right place! The work was a lot more sitty-downy-talky than I had expected. At first we had a bit of the traditional “goss”, with everyone there telling each other what they had done that week. When we got into the meat of the double class, we were actually discussing a story, namely “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde. While talking about writing new parts into the script, we ended up coming up with ideas as to how to make fun of the staff, all of which was reliant on inside joke I had no clue about. Still, I laughed along because what else could I do? I very much approved of the 10-to-1 schedule since I had things to do when I got back, like making more pictures for #DroicheadLove and finishing the “No Arms” critique earlier than anticipated. Overall, I made progress in a single day, which is rather unusual for me, being the lazy type and/or in TY. The next day was slightly different.

Wednesday: I didn’t have the best start on Wednesday, being honest. Getting on the 101, the driver sped past my stop at Woodie’s and went all the way up to the roundabout by Pavilion’s. I certainly got a fair bit of exercise running back, trying to be on time. Unfortunately, I was only greeted with more exercise when I found out I was going into a dance class. Cheerleading, specifically. The highlight of the day was getting to actually use pompoms without anyone saying a thing (not to mention finding out how they actually work…) I got an introduction to most of the staff at the labelled Prosper Fingal, which frankly wasn’t much use to me since I wouldn’t be coming back for the rest of the week, but they were all quite nice and open to having amateurs working among qualified teachers. On to Thursday we go, then.

Thursday: Today involved moving by train, which was slightly better than guessing whether the Magic Bus was going to completely drive by my stop. I got off at Portmarnock, finding myself walking… and walking… and walking some more until I had no idea what I was looking. One ask later and I find that I need to walk some more, rather unbelievably to quite a well-hidden place near the primary school and church. To my expectation, this was a hip-hop class, i.e the same as cheerleading. Here I got to see the adorableness of the students in full: we had a couple among us! (What? You want to know who? That’s not for me to tell you, nosey…). It was to be expected, what with Valentine’s drawing near, but it was so cute!! You had to see it to believe it, though. There weren’t any especially new dances, as far as I could tell, but we did do almost all the ones done yesterday. Since Prosper Portmarnock is more centred on caring for individual needs, there wasn’t any hanging around with the staff at break today. After not doing #DroicheadLove things on Wednesday, I ended up taking all the photos on my crap phone (which did have good lighting backing it up) in a rush to have it ready for tomorrow, or at the very least, by Valentine’s. Finally, we move to Friday.

Friday: Friday is easily the toughest day of the week that I did. First of all, I have to rely on buses again, which is something I would never do if given the choice. After being told to go find the unmarked orange building in The Mall, I get lost (and misdirected) for 10 minutes… That is, until I realise the building was orange until today, as the painters who originally misguided me were painting the centre I was supposed to go to white! I met a mostly new group today, with a few exceptions. The new dance routine of the session was “All About That Bass”, which has annoyingly now dug itself into my brain to a point where the best I can do is ignore it. I then had to walk to the other side of Swords into a much smaller class. It was also more relaxed, starting with a tea break, of all things. We were editing clips taken during previous workshops, all of which were for a film we would hopefully make. This led to going back to the orange-but-suddenly-not building to do a hybrid class and leaving Swords to come back to the beloved DYT (YAY!). While I had some time to myself so I could eat lunch, I had to immediately drive off to Barlow House, the location for today’s lessons. I thought I only had one lesson to brave there; as soon as I was alerted to the existence of a second one, cue falling flat onto the floor in tiredness. In what was a magical save, though, I found out that there was a play on! It seemed appropriate to end a drama work experience week with seeing a play, namely “Small Plastic Wars”, a one-man act by Paul McGrath. While it failed to live up to the expectation of quality set up by One Duck in the “No Arms” production, it was certainly theatre. At least, I’m told it was…

I would heartily recommend doing Work Experience with Christina if you can. While it can all be a bit messy (especially if you end up having to write grant applications/translate them from Greek, which I managed to avoid), it’s messy in the best kind of way. Ta-ra!

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The Dubliners Dilemma: A One-Man Mosaic

On blog duty this week is Aaron Finnegan, reviewing Declan Gorman’s The Dubliners Dilemma, a one man show exploring a pivotal moment in Irish literary history. Speaking of pivotal moments in Irish history, come see Panic Productions’ performance of Alone It Stands in the Droichead Arts Centre, tonight at 8!

The writings of James Joyce have been a subject of great debate and controversy for over a century, with the intimidating Ulysses retaining infamy since it’s initial publication in 1922 due to its complexity, experimentation with language and form, and deep understanding of naturalistic human thought. This vast novel often renders Joyce a literary titan, warding off prospective readers with the scope of his story.

However, an oft-forgotten benchmark in Joyce’s oeuvre is his first-published work, Dubliners, a collection of fifteen short stories that highlight the loves and lives of ordinary citizens of Ireland’s capital. With Dubliners, Joyce manages to peel back a layer, and expose what lies just beneath the surface of his native city, providing us with a sweet, tender, and ultimately beautiful view of the mundane. This makes Declan Gorman’s performance of The Dubliners Dilemma all the more impressive, as his one man performance brims with all the life and energy that Joyce surely wished to imbue in his work.

A mix of verbatim text, as well as a dramatisation of the struggle to have the then-controversial work published, The Dubliners Dilemma is an impressive display of one man’s love of literature. Gorman performs abridged versions of several of the poignant vignettes, while also taking the role of Joyce and his soon-to-be publisher as they wage a war of words, debating over matters of censorship and obscenity, outlining Joyce’s refusal to conform to modern standards.

From the moment Gorman begins, he somehow manages to fully embody Joyce, and his publisher, switching between the two sporadically as they argue over the content of the stories included. Stories such as An Encounter, Two Gallants, and Counterparts are brought to vivid life, as Gorman displays fully his deep understanding of Joyce’s text, his content, but most importantly, his voice, as he strolls seamlessly from one character to another, showing as much love for these characters as their creator surely felt. Gorman paints a detailed picture, weaving together a mosaic that flows brilliantly.

At no point in this clearly seasoned performance is Gorman without control of his environment. Making highly minimalistic use of props and costume, Gorman somehow manages to transform himself completely with the addition of just a few small pieces to distinguish between dozens of characters, remaining at all times utterly convincing, and fluid as he jumps from one beleaguered denizen of Dublin to the next, seemingly effortlessly. One can only hope that Gorman enjoys performing as much as his audience enjoy watching him perform. To summarise, The Dubliners Dilemma is a delight. From start to finish, Declan Gorman shows his prowess as an actor and literary aficionado, as he amazingly manages to give credence to an undisputed classic with as much dedication as anybody could ever dream of

-Aaron Finnegan

Critique Diplomatique- A Young Critics Review

Drum roll please! Having had his skills finely tuned over the course of two intense weekends of NAYD’s Young Critics bootcamp, Thomas Caffrey returns with his review of the spaceadelic epic, Corps Diplomatiques, seen in the Project Arts Centre at this year’s Dublin theatre festival.

H.P. Lovecraft died in March, 1937. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was unleashed upon the world in 1967. In 1997 Kula Shaker’s seminal Summer Sun EP ushered in a new era of woozy psychedelia. Corps Diplomatiques begins in the year 2027. Performed by an ensemble of French actors headed by the enigmatic Halory Goerger, Les Corps Diplomatiques offers us an invitation into the eyes of madness with no escape in sight. Appearing as the final performance of the Young Critics 2015 programme, Les Corps Diplomatique starts off with an intriguing concept; if we did meet aliens, how would we communicate? The answer is of course art. The idea is that art transcends language, class, race, species, you name it! Joined by a journalist tired of the mundanity of earth life, these intrepid explorers jet off into the unknown to find and communicate with the “other”. Aided by artsy technology, unburdened by time constraints, criticism, or even conflict of any form our cast soar boldly toward the centre of the universe with noble intent.

Sounds terribly exciting doesn’t it?! For them it really, truly is anything but. Trapped in a metal coffin eternally revolving through the void they careen toward nothingness. Without criticism, what do they improve? Freed from the constraints of society, whats even good or bad or worthy or anything at all? Cut off from time, can they ever actually finish what they start? As the yawning void of space engulfs them physically, this selfsame hollow realisation opens within each character. The wondrous technology falls into disuse. (one neat tech gag involves the audience –us!- being referred to as holograms) The characters’ own depressive qualities manifest as they sit smoking spaceweed and staring hollow eyed into empty space. A languid waking death lies over the characters, who undergo a series of changes; dying, only to be reborn through super science, suicides, cloning, you know the drill.

Here’s the strangest thing though; for such a witty, weird story, the play itself is as disconnected from the audience as possible. The actors speak in their native French, with overhead “surtitles” running as the actors speak. Postioned incredibly uncomfotrtably, the audience frequently has to make the choice of focussing on the acting onstage, or reading what it is that’s being said. Slightly ironic that a play about the transcendence of art over language is stumped by this very same predicament ay? The acting too is distant and hazy, almost emotionless, but I believe that’s intentional. The void of space matched by the void of personality? The lighting was phenomenal, drawing us in like a mad charity worker on Grafton Street on a sunny July evening.

But the play’s lysergic madness conquers any and all criticism. Between hilarity (clones behaving like stroppy teenagers) and morbidity (past generations of clones are recycled into food), the play covers the course of several thousand years. Presenting time as a cycle of psychedelic intent (a psychcle if ye will) the play goes from a nice little jaunt across space to a thought experiment on the decline and futility of not just art, but society and existence in general. If we’re just gonna contribute to an unending cycle that we, no matter what cannot break, what’s the point? If art is just expression whats the point of calling it good or bad if it can’t be either by definition, especially bereft of society as the play shows?

And that was perfectly summed up, as we left the theatre. Stepping out of that hazy, terrifying room and into the cold Dublin drizzle, I turned to my friend ready to let loose with my praise of the terrifying, different amd somehow frightening play we’d just witnessed. Before I could say anything, he just shook his said and muttered , “Well, that was a load of crap.” And maybe it was. But maybe it was great at the same time, and maybe it was neither. I actually don’t know. Either way, if I’m thinking about it now, it must have been something nonetheless. So, yeah it was a pretty cool and psychedelic experience overall anyways.

-Thomas Caffrey, Esq.

Me, Mollser – A DYT review

This week, swathes of Droichead Youth Theatre members flocked South to the barren and unfamiliar land of Central Dublin for performances of Me, Mollser in Samuel Beckett Theatre. Adapted from the O’Casey classic The Plough and the Stars by Ali White and directed by Sarah Fitzgibbon, we asked our members to give their thoughts on the piece and Susan Davey’s one woman performance.

Beautifully performed, Me, Mollser gives a different insight into the lives of the children living in the Dublin tenements of 1916. The perfect length for a one man/woman show, it captured my attention and left me feeling very grateful for the times we live in.   -Muireann Mulholland

For those unfamiliar with The Plough and the Stars, Me, Mollser seems to evoke a sense of extreme importance in the titular character within the larger text. In fact, Mollser merely plays a small role in the original, appearing only in passing. The fact that entire one-woman play could be made from such an insubstantial character is an impressive feat in itself, exemplified by its simplicity, and it’s ability to convey the turmoil and trouble inherent in such a tumultuous time in Irish history to younger people.

Making effective use of a minimalist set, we meet fifteen year old Molly Gogan, affectionately referred to as Mollser by those around her, we are given the sense that she has almost had a normal childhood stolen due to years of political upheaval and familial strife, stemming from the death of her father from tuberculosis. Such is the power of the performance that we are immediately drawn into the short life of this character, who manages to fully engage us with the times that surround her with a set comprised solely of decrepit shoeboxes. It is with these boxes that Mollser depicts her ideal home to the audience, taking her cue from a doll’s house from a shop window, Mollser wishes to reclaim any semblance of a childhood she may have left, under the guise of this house being for her younger sibling. A younger sibling she is not even allowed to touch, as it is heartbreakingly revealed she has contracted the same ailment that claimed the life of her father.

Along with the denial of her familial bond, and her newly-realised mortality, the outbreak of the infamous 1916 Easter Rising further disrupts the life of our young protagonist, causing unimaginable damage to all those around her. However, even the luxury of a swift death is stolen from her, as Mollser eventually succumbs to the grave illness, and signals her passing with a simple yet powerful walk from the stage. It is at this moment that we are reminded of the childlike sense of distress that we once felt at the death of our favourite character in our favourite story. We have become so acquainted with Mollser and the world she inhabits, that the sight of a tiny coffin with her name engraved upon could almost be too much to handle were the play half an hour longer. A short, sweet, and excellent performance, Me, Mollser stands away from the gargantuan shadow set by it’s predecessor and sets the bar for concise and informative theatre. -Aaron Finnegan

I thought it was engaging from start to finish and explained the living conditions in the tenements in a way that made it accessible/relatable to the audience. I’m studying the play for leaving cert and it made the story seem more real to me because it visually showed me the house and how characters were seen by another character in the play. I thought it was engaging from start to finish and explained the living conditions in the tenements in a way that made it accessible/relatable to the audience. I’m studying the play for leaving cert and it made the story seem more real to me because it visually showed me the house and how characters were seen by another character in the play -Leanne Vaughey

Me, Mollser was a simple one woman show which in my opinion, portrayed in a comedic but honest way what life would’ve been like circa 1916. The show’s simple set, costume and extremely personal script brought the audience into the mind of this young girl, Molly or “Mollser”. Even more so the interaction and inclusion of the audience and this storytelling aspect with conversational language, the whole thing made it a very enjoyable and intimate performance to watch.

I came away from the performance with an immense amount of empathy for those from the past, and I think the show did an excellent job of being informative but also keeping it very light hearted. -Stephen Reid

Me, Mollser was fantastic, being a simple to stage one-woman show, but with a complex and fascinating story regarding a 15-year old girl in Dublin at the time of the 1916 Rising, brilliantly performed by Susan Davey. The script was well-written, being simple to understand for all ages. Top-class theatre, a well-written, well-directed, well-acted piece which doesn’t use fancy props, costumes and SFX as a crutch to lean on. Clean, simple, brilliant. -Niall “The Roque” Gibbons

What to Make of the Auld Limbless Lad – A Review by Jack Synnott, Daniel Duma and Louis Flanagan

The Poor Little Boy with No Arms by One Duck theatre company and were simply wowed by the production! Here’s what some of our members had to say on the piece:

“One Duck’s theatre company’s production of The Poor Little Boy with No Arms blends absurdity and familiarity, darkness and a light touch, and ultimately, humour and horror, to produce a powerful, dark piece which entertains and terrifies. From the hilarious performances and the all-too recognisable characters to the excruciating real final third, the play’s wild laughs and horrifying themes serve to make Skibberceannaigh, Ireland’s “Most Liveable Community”, an island which feels incredibly real and equally frightening. The play’s wit seems at times unstoppable, with a never-ending run of gags hitting the audience at a relentless pace, but when the play slows down, the viewer is left questioning they thought they knew about this town and the Poor Little Boy himself. All of this combined with an outstanding production and a fantastic ensemble make this play an experience which is bound to delight, amuse and shock in equal measure.” – Jack Synnott

 

“One of the principal successes of the play is the ever present intrigue. Who or what the Poor Little Boy exactly is left a mystery up the very end of the play, which many conflicting tales being given to the viewer meanwhile. Some of the details that would be inconspicuous plot holes in any other play become fairly integral to the main plot e.g. Why do no children above five years of age go to the school Ruby teaches at? Even at the very end, the fate of Ruby and the Poor Little Boy are both left unknown. It will leave you at the edge of your seat at times, to be unoriginal. The disconnect between the happy Skibberceannaigh that Ruby is introduced to and the sinister underbelly it really is, is highlighted very well in terms of effects and sound design. The stage opens filled with smoke as if to say “There’s a mystery here that you need to solve”. On top of this, all the sound effects are done a cappella as far as I could tell, giving an extra layer of tension to this oddly tense play. Overall, I loved watching “The Poor Little Boy With No Arms” when I was laughing as much as when I was damn near crying.” – Daniel Duma

 

“With a troupe of just six actors, all delivered highly energetic and physical performances, each having the ability to switch between comic and tragic acting, particularly Sophie Jo-Wasson and Manus Halligan. Movement was flawlessly executed – thanks to the assistance of movement director Bryan Burroughs – and the use of a bare, pristine white stage, minimal props, soundscapes and smokey, smog-like lighting –designed by Cillian McNamara – mirrored the barrenness of the play’s setting. A highly imaginative piece, the The Poor Little Boy with No Arms reflects Irish society in a variety of different ways, from the colloquialism and idioms we inherit from our families to the superstitions and mythological tales we harvest as children. However, although an engaging and absorbing story, I felt that, though vital to every literary work, too much time was spent introducing and developing characters and because of this the plot was often neglected, making the ending feel rushed and abrupt and leaving this jigsaw puzzle of a play incomplete. Despite this, the Poor Little Boy with No Arms was a play to be described as a Psycho-Moone Boy crossover and one that must be applauded. For a play devised, designed and delivered by such a talented and well disciplined young team of artists, we can be guaranteed that the future of Irish theatre is in safe hands – if you pardon the pun.” – Louis Flanagan

The Wall, The Caucus and The Theatre: Tales of the US Election

 

Welcome to guest blogger Colin Smith, who is going to bring us through the theatricality of the Iowa Caucus and all things American politic!

If you’re anything like me, depending on when you’re reading this, you might be thinking: “What am I doing reading a youth theatre blog right now? It’s only a matter of days before the Iowa Caucus and there isn’t any time to spare.” Well, fear not, you handsome devil, because we’re going on a journey down election boulevard to the magical state of Iowa and the voting method with the most theatrical potential: the caucus system.

IOWA AND ITS IMPORTANCE Iowa is largely considered to be a mostly conservative state, and for good reason. Their Governor is a Republican, their State Senators are all Republicans and three of their four House Delegates are Republicans. It is, however, also the first presidential primary state and a ‘swing state’ (either party could potentially win there in a general election), so an early win or loss for a candidate here has the potential to make or break their campaign. This was certainly the case in 2008 when the presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, suffered an early loss to then Senator, Barack Obama and went on to lose the Democratic nomination. It is typically less important for the Republicans.

THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE Both political parties begin their nomination process with a caucus in Iowa. We’ll get to what that means in a moment, but first, a run-down of the political landscape. America’s political world is dominated by two parties: the Democrats and the Republicans. These parties and their candidates, in theory, stand either on the left (progressive) or right (conservative) of the political spectrum, respectively.

THE CANDIDATES: In the blue corner to the far-left of the political spectrum, we have the former independent senator from Vermont, Bernie ‘The Bern’ Sanders. Fighting for healthcare reform, free public college, a $15 minimum wage, breaking up the six big banks and rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure. His opponent on the Democratic side is former First Lady and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Clinton is a long-time advocate for women’s rights, comprehensive gun control, having a strong Gmail password and taking campaign donations from Wall Street. Their Republican counterparts include businessman and neo-fascist, Donald Trump and dark horse, Ted Cruz – a senator from Texas and possible Sith Lord. Their policies include building a “great great” wall at the border with Mexico, deporting 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants, banning Muslims from entering the US by establishing a religious test and abolishing essential government agencies like the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Other candidates include Republicans: Marco ‘The Kid Wonder’ Rubio, Carly ‘Literal Dead Babies’ Fiorina, Ben ‘Sorry, I Dozed Off… I’m Running for What?’ Carson and Jeb ‘The Family Disappointment’ Bush. The other Democrat is Martin O’Malley, the former Governor of Maryland, who may or may not also be the mayor/milkman of a fictional town in the imagination of a small child.

THE CAUCUS SYSTEM: In the beginning I mentioned that the caucus system is the most “potentially theatrical” voting system, but how is that? Don’t you just go the hell on in and vote like a normal dang election? Well, if you’re voting in the Republican caucus, yes. You just put your vote down on a piece of paper, put in in the dang box and walk the heck out. If you’re voting Democrat, however, the system is a little different. In a democratic caucus, supporters of all the candidates are given time to persuade both undecided voters and supporters of their opponents to join their group. This is a vastly different voting experience, since you usually have to hide your allegiance at voting centres. Expressing your political standpoint would usually get your vote cancelled, but in the Iowa caucus, it is part of the system. This leaves seemingly endless possibilities for expressing support for your chosen candidate. Either through costume or your planned speech, the sky would appear to be the limit in terms of the possibilities for artistic nonsense in a caucus. That said, there probably are restrictions of some kind, but we can dream. After everyone has finished speaking in support of their candidates, the voting process begins. This is also extremely different to most legitimate voting methods. As opposed to placing your vote in a box as an anonymous ballot, you have to stand in a cluster with other voters who support your candidate and, basically, the candidate with the biggest cluster wins. If one of the candidates doesn’t have enough support, their voters must join another group. There’s a lot of other slightly more complicated mumbo-jumbo about precincts and delegates, but essentially it all sounds a bit like something we’d do in one of our drama workshops, not a method of electing the most powerful person on Earth.

WHY THIS ELECTION IS IMPORTANT: This past year in Ireland, we experienced a referendum that captured the enthusiasm and passion of first-time voters and young people like many had never seen before. It would appear that this election is doing the same for the young people of the US. With a sea of candidates spouting far-right, xenophobic, homophobic, racist and sexist talking points, many young people are looking for a candidate that represented their views and world view. By and large, they seem to have found that candidate in Bernie Sanders. His campaign has received the most individual donations of any political campaign in American history and he has come from 8% support among Democrats being neck and neck with Hillary Clinton in Iowa and having a 20% lead on her in the nest primary state of New Hampshire. Sanders’ popularity among young people and Clinton’s lack of popularity are both largely due to the influence of social media and the internet. We’ve recently seen crowds of young people attending Sanders rallies nationwide and phone-banking for him, not only for High School credit, but for their own satisfaction. We’ve seen thousands of millennials expressing their support for Sanders on social media through the hashtag #FeelTheBern and engaging in heated political debate with the supporters of other candidates. While young people tend to be under-represented in politics, a referendum like the one we had in 2015 and a candidate like Bernie come along once in a while that sparks the passion of the young and inspires them to act. While many don’t agree with his politics, even the nay-sayers can’t seem to deny that there seems a political revolution afoot and outsiders like Sanders and Trump are right at the centre. Depending on the outcome of the aforementioned magical Iowa caucus and other early states, we could be in for a truly historic election, the outcome of which could very well be in the hands of the young.

On Trial- A Droichead Youth Theatre Production

Niall! Gibbons! Introducing! Our very special, super good, uber awesome theatre extravaganza, coming to a town near you (presuming you live near Drogheda) from the 9th to the 11th of January in the Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell Street!

Some months ago, in a DYT Production meeting in a Top-Secret location (Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell Street, just past the library), it was decided that we would perform the English-language version of Máiréad Ní Ghráda’s An Triail as our winter production. This was not a difficult decision to make, considering the relevance and importance of the events of On Trial. The decision was embraced by the rest of DYT, and we soon set to work.

On Trial deals with the story a young girl, Maura, who becomes unexpectedly pregnant. Living in a small, rural, Irish village Maura is faced with challenges from society, the Church, and her own family. The play deals with the prejudice faced by pregnant, unmarried women in 1960’s Ireland. It was this key issue that made the play a clear choice for our winter production. DYT, with recent productions dealing with issues like homosexuality (The Laramie Project) and consent (Spilled Ink), would continue to tackle relevant, major issues with this production. With recent major inquiries into the Magdalene Laundries (where the protagonist unfortunately finds herself) making headlines, On Trial should highlight this issue and help to open the floor for conversation on such a controversial topic, one which certainly would not have been discussed in the 1960’s.

On Trial will not come without its challenges however. For many of us, On Trial will involve acting methods we are not well-accustomed to. This is quite a serious play, so any moments of humour will have to be well-executed to properly achieve its intended use as comic relief. Áine O’Herlihy and Aisling Kane (The Defense/Prosecution attorneys) will have particularly difficult roles, seeing as they appear throughout the entirety of the play. Anna McLoughlin (Maura) will have an incredibly demanding role, as she is both the protagonist, and she must portray love, grief, anger, hope and hopelessness at different points in the play. The backstage crew too will have a difficult job attempting to emanate 1960’s Ireland through audiovisuals, set design, costume & hair.

We in DYT hope that this play will appeal to a wide range of theatre-goers. Seeing as this play (in its Irish language format) is studied as part of the Leaving Certificate Irish course, we believe that this production would aid the study & understanding of 5th & 6th Year Irish students, while also remaining engaging and interesting. To anyone interested in current affairs or any of the issues discussed, this play would serve as an excellent discussion point without doubt. To anyone who wishes to see a high quality performance in the New Year featuring a fantastic crew and a well-drilled cast, you can’t really go wrong with On Trial!

-Niall “The Gibbster” Gibbons