Dra­matic flights of fancy to lift us all

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - THEATRE -

Emer O’kelly looks ahead to some of the most hotly an­tic­i­pated pro­duc­tions of 2018

PRE­DICT­ING the fu­ture in any sphere, much less in the art of theatre, is a dif­fi­cult mat­ter. Ex­pe­ri­ence teaches that gems shine in some un­ex­pected places, while the places where the head­lights are aimed can fre­quently re­veal some dis­ap­point­ing mud.

As things stand, after a vari­able 2017, one spec­tac­u­lar of­fer­ing seems to be in the off­ing, and once again it seems to shine from Gal­way, where the Gal­way In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val will co-pro­duce with Ann Clark’s Land­mark com­pany to of­fer a star-stud­ded au­thor and equally star-stud­ded cast. That will be Enda Walsh’s adap­ta­tion of Max Porter’s novel Grief is the Thing with Feath­ers. It will fea­ture Cil­lian Mur­phy, with whom Walsh and Clark have es­tab­lished a fruit­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion. It has Com­plicite as the co-pro­ducer, and will have a lim­ited pro­duc­tion run, go­ing from Gal­way in the sum­mer into the Dublin Theatre Fes­ti­val in the au­tumn, and is billed as the only pro­duc­tion world­wide, next year for the big at­ten­tion-grab­ber. Walsh will also di­rect.

Also em­a­nat­ing from Gal­way will be a na­tion­wide tour of Garry Hynes’s pro­duc­tion for Druid of Beck­ett’s Wait­ing for Godot which was greeted with ap­proval last year, mainly due, it would seem from com­ments, to hav­ing made the mas­ter’s work “un­der­stand­able” for the first time ever.

Be­ing among the mil­lions world­wide who haven’t had a prob­lem com­ing to terms with its bleak mes­sage of non-hope, I found it dis­may­ingly ag­gres­sive and lack­ing in sub­tlety. But a na­tional tour of a Beck­ett work is al­ways to be wel­comed.

Land­mark will also be­gin the year with an im­pres­sive bang when they pre­miere a new Mark O’rowe work at Pro­ject in Dublin.

A new O’rowe work al­ways causes a stir (the last was at the Abbey in 2014), and The Ap­proach will open in Jan­uary, and will fea­ture the pow­er­fully im­pres­sive trio of Derbhle Crotty, Ais­ling O’sul­li­van and Cathy Bel­ton.

Pro­ject has, as usual, an in­ter­est­ing pro­gramme for the year, and will fol­low the O’rowe pre­miere with a new Stacey Gregg work from Prime Cut. The Belfast play­wright’s Scorch, which won an award at the Ed­in­burgh Fringe last year, will be re-staged in Fe­bru­ary, and its theme of gen­der ir­res­o­lu­tion and in­ves­ti­ga­tion is likely to prove as stim­u­lat­ing as it is top­i­cal.

And Sligo’s Blue Rain­coat will re­vive last year’s pro­duc­tion of Shackleton at the same venue later in the sea­son. It fea­tures the com­pany’s sig­na­ture style of move­ment theatre, and while not en­tirely suc­cess­ful, (too del­i­cate for its bru­tally heroic theme) it is well worth a look.

The two most ex­cit­ing pro­duc­tions at the Abbey for the year ahead look like be­ing im­ports. This fol­lows the cur­rent artis­tic di­rec­tor­ship’s pol­icy of con­cen­trat­ing on “lend­ing out” their stages rather than in­sti­gat­ing pro­duc­tions.

But in this case, the pro­duc­tions are likely to prove wor­thy of na­tional theatre space. One is a re­vival of Michael Kee­gan-dolan’s dance work Swan Lake/loch na heala, which had an all-too-short run at the Dublin Theatre Fes­ti­val.

The sec­ond will be “im­ported” from Cork, an orig­i­nal Beck­ett work Here All Night, from the puz­zlingly largely over­looked Gare St Lazare Play­ers. The hus­band-and-wife duo of Conor Lovett and Judy He­garty-lovett be­gan their Beck­ett in­ter­pre­ta­tive ca­reers in Paris, where they were jus­ti­fi­ably lauded and cel­e­brated, but since re-lo­cat­ing to their na­tive Cork, Ir­ish au­di­ences have tended to ig­nore their im­pres­sive record. Here All Night will be a col­lab­o­ra­tive piece, ac­com­pa­nied by an in­stal­la­tion by Brian O’do­herty, staged in April and will be fol­lowed by a na­tional tour.

Gare St Lazare will also pro­duce Part One of Beck­ett’s How It Is in Cork at the Ev­ery­man, again di­rected by Judy He­garty-lovett.

Fisham­ble, cel­e­brat­ing its 30th birth­day next year, is never far from the fore­front, and after its 196 per­for­mances this year of seven pro­duc­tions in 55 venues, it will pre­miere a new po­lit­i­cal docu-drama in 2018 from Colin Mur­phy, fol­low­ing his Bailed Out and Guar­an­teed!. This one is Haughey/gre­gory, and will con­cen­trate on the in­fa­mous “deal” bro­kered by Charles Haughey to gain power with the co-op­er­a­tion of

‘Gare St Lazare Play­ers be­gan in Paris, where they were jus­ti­fi­ably lauded and cel­e­brated...’

Tony Gre­gory in the early 1980s.

Fisham­ble will also pre­miere a new work from Deirdre Ki­na­han, fresh from her Wak­ing the Fem­i­nists cam­paign for more fe­male play­wrights. It’s a con­tem­po­rary piece, Rath­mines Road, that con­cen­trates on the cur­rent is­sue of abuse and fe­male dis­em­pow­er­ment.

Fisham­ble also has a pro­ject aimed at the fu­ture with a com­pe­ti­tion for a “Play for Ire­land” to be staged in 2019. Six venues around the coun­try are co-op­er­at­ing, the com­pe­ti­tion is open to all, and five win­ning plays will re­ceive a pro­duc­tion in each venue, hav­ing been men­tored along the way.

And fi­nally, Selina Cart­mell will con­tinue her pur­pose­fully serene first year at the Gate with a new pro­duc­tion of John Os­borne’s Look Back in Anger, the play that in 1956 changed the face of English theatre for­ever at the Royal Court.

It will be di­rected by Annabelle Comyn. And the Gate pro­gramme will, by way of huge con­trast, also fea­ture Shake­speare’s The Rape of Lu­crece, fea­tur­ing Camille O’sul­li­van and Fear­gal Mur­ray.

Michael Kee­gan-dolan’s Swan Lake/loch na heala is go­ing into the Abbey on re­vival, and is likely to be a

bril­liant suc­cess

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.