The metric system.

The metric system.

Vincent: And you know what they call a… a… a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?

Jules: They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?

Vincent: No man, they got the metric system. They wouldn’t know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is.

Jules: Then what do they call it?

Vincent: They call it a Royale with cheese.

Jules: A Royale with cheese. What do they call a Big Mac?

Vincent: Well, a Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it le Big-Mac.

Jules: Le Big-Mac. Ha ha ha ha. What do they call a Whopper?

Vincent: I dunno, I didn’t go into Burger King.

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Red Square Critics 2011

A film encapsulating the experience of Red Square Critics during the festival!

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Review: Gare St. Lazare Players – Title and Deed

Written by Will Eno and directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett, Title and Deed, starring Conor Lovett, gets it’s world premiere in Kilkenny’s Barnstorm Theatre.

On Before

When you flick through the festival programme, the piece on Title and Deed doesn’t look like the most entertaining way to spend an hour or so.  ‘Here before you stands a man, recently arrived…’ and then you drift off, maybe comparing it to ponydance’s promo for Anybody Waitin’?, on the page opposite. There’s also this really weird tattoo? But I have seen enough of this year’s festival, and of Tom Creed’s Theatre and Dance strand from the past two years that I really should have known better.

On Being Personal

Whatever you’re expecting from Title and Deed: Nope. It’s not there. Probably not anyway. What I expected, I didn’t get (see above), but it was still better than I had dreamed. Conor Lovett plays a man, a man who saunters onstage in a lovely wooly jumper and starts to talk about the journey he had to take to get here physically, then starts to tell  us stories about where he comes from, in every sense of the term. The stories he tells will provoke different responses and thoughts in everyone who goes to see it. Below lies one of mine.

On Customs

Whenever he talked about his country and their customs and traditions, like holding a parade for any occasion under the sun, good or bad, he would ask us ‘Do you have anything like this here?’. Truthfully, I am incredibly jealous of the custom of even having customs. For example, he told us that when the men had found their intended, they would rent a musical instrument that they could not play (the cello was very popular, although our guide chose the tuba) and would play this instrument that they could not play extremely badly while their intended lover would lean out of the window of their new house and try to dance and sing along. And then he asked ‘Do you have anything like this here?’ and I found it so sad, really really sad that we don’t have any sort of custom to celebrate love (apart from marriage, but that’s not the point). We don’t celebrate things. You could say we have parties for birthdays and anniversaries and other such occasions, but there’s no real joy, especially when you can’t remember most of it the next morning.

A Last Note

The night after I saw it, at our Red Square Top Secret Ultra-Exclusive meeting, we were discussing the show and one member who hadn’t been able to see it asked me ‘Is it anything like Group Therapy for One by THEATREclub last year?’ And the answer is – well, kind of. The wonderful Shane from THEATREclub uses himself to talk about everyone, while our lovely man from Title and Deed uses his home to talk about everyone. It’s not the same thing, but almost.

Eleanor

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Review: ‘The Big Deal’ directed by Úna McKevitt

Returning to the festival after last year’s success, Victor and Gord, Úna McKevitt brings The Big Deal to the Barn Theatre. Drawing some stylistic similarities with Victor and Gord in terms of its minimalistic set and startling music interludes (providing breaks in the performances and relieving some of the tension and seriousness of the subject matter), the play is performed by two actors: Úna Kavanagh and Shani Williams.

The stage is lit with a mixture of fluorescent lights and spotlights, which helps set the scene projected by the actors. We later learned the fluorescent lights are used to signify the hospital, the set just a bench located under the fluorescent lights at the back of the stage.  Microphones are used by the actors to project their voices during dialogue when they are relaying the words of other characters not on stage. As mentioned, music is played after deep, emotional scenes to lighten the mood – proving very uplifting.

The minimalist set design allowed the viewer’s attention to focus on the two central characters, and its simplicity gave their stories room to breathe, with no dramatic light shows or elaborate backgrounds distracting from the raw emotion of the subject matter.

The cast consists of two rather colourful characters, Cathy (formerly known as Seán) and Deborah (formerly known as Patrick), both transexual and based on actual people. The play is based on the journals of two actual transexuals and went in to the difficulties that both people faced after gender reassignment surgery. The play went into detail on what had to be done during both of their surgeries and this was a bit unsettling at times. A common difficulty that both characters faced, we thought, was dealing with their families after this change. Both families had different reactions.

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Hanggai Photos by Turlough

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Review: Maria McKinney, Rothe House

Curiosity was growing inside of us when we stepped through the threshold of Maria McKinney’s show in Rothe House, Parliament Street. ‘Horny Grids’ was the first piece that greeted us. It consists of two large horns, from highland cattle, perched upon two copper pipes. The two horns were pierced with dozens of burnt matches and shopping baskets clustered together to form a base for the copper pipes.

We believe this piece symbolises the economy, after all the valuables have been stripped away. This is very much conveyed by the horns of the cow, what is left over after the butcher has taken the profitable part away. The matches to us represent the global economy – what it was, and is now. We see the matches as having burned brightly previously, but now are burnt out, looking feeble and pathetic – shriveled black husks. The shopping baskets seem to be speaking of a time when there is no need for them, piled up as if discarded in a world where shopping has been reduced greatly, just to necessities.

The shopping trolley to the rear of the gallery conveys a similar sentiment. Wrapped in fishing wire, woven into an interesting bowl-like shape, the piece seems to refer to the fishing industry. Again the theme of environmental exploitation is apparent. As we over-fish and strangle our ocean’s natural resources to feed our own mass consumption, ultimately, we will strangle our own commercial industry and, by extension – ourselves. This is reflected in the fishing line’s gradual consumption of the trolley.

There are two other pieces in this exhibition, not as big or obvious as those described above, but just as important. A small photo is taped to a wall, depicting bird dung, dropped by the bird into the shape of the symbol of infinity. It reminded us of the practice of using found objects to make art, like many of the artists in this year’s festival have mentioned to us, and of the debate between bloggers (after all, isn’t that what we’re doing here?) on being a Creator vs Curator – creating original content, like the stories you tell in blog posts, or blogging about other people’s content, may it be a film or album.

The last exhibit consists of three individually framed Puzzle pages from the Guardian newspaper, standing on the fireplace. On each page, both the crossword and Sudoku puzzles are completed, and there is an intricate design painted onto each crossword with Tippex.

The exhibition as a whole is cosmetically brilliant, and as a result is very easy and enjoyable to view. The themes are contemporary and very relevant while the use of found objects, symmetry and colour all add to the work’s appeal. It is hard to find much to fault in the exhibition and we would recommend it to anyone. With its themes of mass consumption, this one has mass appeal.

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Review: David Beattie

*beep*

*beep*

*beep*

This is the first sound you hear when entering the never before seen Monumnents Room in Mary’s Hall. You are absorbed by the entire room, with it being very busy. It is in an old crypt with beautiful old stone walls.

There is a representation of the moon composed of two shapes, one yellow and the other green, mounted on a three-panel green board. However, the invigilator showed us how the yellow spotlight is all that makes the larger shape appear green, when in reality the shape is blue. This plays on ideas of misperception, depending on your perspective and knowledge.

A transmitter projects a signal towards the green panel to the representation of the moon and the signal bounces back, put through a heart rate monitor. The monitor beeps at the average rate of a heart, determined by the distance from transmitter to board, i.e. the time taken for the signal to bounce back and forth. This introduces the theme of mortality to the work.

The piece mimics a project called ‘Project Diana’ in 1946 – the first attempt to measure the distance from the earth to the moon. Also, coincidentally we discovered that the invigilator (Richard, who was super nice 🙂 and very well-informed) has a pacemaker himself. This was incredible that of all the invigilators, Richard was chosen to invigilate this work!

Beattie’s work can be seen in the Monuments Room in St Mary’s Hall throughout Arts Week. It is a must see.

Enjoy!

****

Tara & Hugh

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