Kilkenny’s art of the pos­si­ble

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TICKET | SEVEN DAYS -

PICK OF THE WEEK KILKENNY ARTS FES­TI­VAL Var­i­ous venues Aug 11-20

As the world threat­ens to spin out of con­trol, this year’s Kilkenny Arts Fes­ti­val (Aug 11-20) takes a look at what keeps us to­gether in times of chaos and chal­lenge. At the centre of its theatre pro­gramme is Count­ing Sheep (The Hub, Cil­lín Hill, Aug 13-19), an im­mer­sive mu­sic theatre ex­pe­ri­ence in­spired by the Maidan Square protests in Ukraine and the Revo­lu­tion of Dig­nity that took hold of Kiev in 2014. Cre­ated by Mark and Marichka Mar­czyk, who first met be­hind the bar­ri­cades of the protest against Ukraine’s swing to­wards Rus­sia, it is told en­tirely through Ukrainian folk songs, sourced by Marichka, and per­formed by Mark’s Cana­dian Balkan­klezmer-punk band the Lemon Bucket Or­ches­tra. A huge hit at Ed­in­burgh last year, it de­picts the revo­lu­tion as a poly­phonic force and a com­mu­nity un­der stress, in which the au­di­ence can par­tic­i­pate or ob­serve.

Ire­land’s award-win­ning aerial theatre group Loosysmokes present the world pre­miere of Raven Eyed (Brew House, Aug 12-20), a spec­ta­cle that ex­plores the bound­aries be­tween the past and the present within a tur­bu­lent dream­scape, by blend­ing soaring aerial per­for­mance with sense-fill­ing au­dio­vi­sual cre­ations.

Also con­sid­er­ing gen­er­a­tional in­her­i­tance is artist in res­i­dence Colin Dunne with a re­cent piece Con­cert (Water­gate, Aug 12) – the dancer’s re­sponse to fid­dler Tom­mie Potts’s rad­i­cal rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of tra­di­tional mu­sic – which brings to­gether live per­for­mance and archival record­ings (Water­gate, Aug 18).

One artist in­spires suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tions of oth­ers in De

Pro­fundis (Water­gate, Aug 12-13), a fes­ti­val pre­miere in which Stephen Rea reads Oscar Wilde’s heartrend­ing let­ters com­posed in Reading Gaol, here set to mu­sic by Neil Martin and per­formed by the Ir­ish Cham­ber Or­ches­tra.

The fes­ti­val opens with Chris­tian Curnyn’s Early Opera Com­pany giv­ing a con­cert per­for­mance of Han­del’s Julius Cae­sar in Egypt (St Can­ice’s Cathe­dral, Aug 11), fea­tur­ing coun­tertenor Iestyn Davies in the lead with ris­ing Ir­ish stars Anna Devin as Cleopa­tra and Rachel Kelly as Sesto.

Sev­eral artists re­spond to the 1987 film The Way Things Go, in a ho­mage cu­rated by Anna O’Sul­li­van at the But­ler Gallery, in­clud­ing a chil­dren’s work­shop in fur­ther re­sponse. Else­where Martin Hayes hosts the Mar­ble City Ses­sions, whose res­i­den­cies in­clude El­iza Carthy and her 12-piece Way­ward Band (St Can­ice’s, Aug 16), the Mon­go­lian col­lec-

tive Hang­gai (Set Theatre, Aug 19) and Crash Ensem­ble with Sam Ami­don & Friends, com­bin­ing con­cert pre­mieres with Ami­don’s folk songs ar­ranged for Crash by Ni­cho

Muhly (St Can­ice’s, Aug 17). This year’s Hu­bert But­ler

An­nual Lec­ture (St Can­ice’s, Aug 12) is de­liv­ered by Eva Hoff­man, the Pol­ish-born mem­oirist, who shares her per­spec­tive on the state of Europe to­day.

Au­thor Yiyun Li talks to Cor­mac Kin­sella about her own mem­oir, Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life, which ex­plores every­thing from her time in the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army to her de­ci­sion to re­nounce her na­tive tongue. And the mak­ers of lu­mi­nar­ium, Ar­chi­tects of Air, cel­e­brate their 25th an­niver­sary with

Albe­sila, bring­ing a dome filled with stars, colour and ever-chang­ing lights to Castle Park (Aug 12-20). Peter Craw­ley

Yiyun Li talks to Cor­mac Kin­sella about her mem­oir, which ex­plores every­thing from her time in the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army to her de­ci­sion to re­nounce her na­tive tongue

Raven Eyed

A spec­ta­cle that ex­plores the bound­aries be­tween the past and the present

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