Our regular contributors select their highlights of the year
Sounds from a Safe Harbour in Cork in September. As part of that event, we were treated to the best of contemporary classical music from the Crash Ensemble at the Everyman. The group performed works by Cork composer, Linda Buckley and Bryce Dessner (of The National).
In White Ink by Irish writer, Elske Rahill, is a collection of short stories that is beautifully written – and sometimes very dark. It explores motherhood and its conflicts, articulating the unsayable about the maternal experience. While the female narrators are hidebound by convention and outward respectability, one of them feels sorry for her young daughter’s “willingness to learn the rules”.
The Drummer and The Keeper, directed by Nick Kelly, is a beguiling and unusual version of the buddy movie genre. It’s about the unlikely friendship of a musician who has bipolar disorder and a 17-year-old guy who has Asperger’s syndrome.
The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the 1985 dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, was grim but essential viewing. The red capes and peaked bonnets that the few remaining fertile women in a totalitarian state wear, have become iconic, a visual shorthand for female subjugation.
On a lighter note, Alison Spittle’s comedy series, Nowhere Fast, about a media wannabe, was very funny.
The School from Cork comedy troupe, CCCahoots was a hoot. Cork film director and writer, Oonagh Kearney’s drama, On the Hemline, filmed in Cork and screened on RTÉ’s Storyland, dealt with serious issues, without being too downbeat or depressing.
Callan’s Kicks, the weekly satirical sketch on RTÉ Radio 1, by Oliver Callan, continues to take a swipe at official Ireland, with the comedian often biting the hand that partly feeds him by sending up some of the station’s stars. Callan has no fear.
Corcadorca brought us out on the ferry from Cobh to Spike Island during the Cork Midsummer Festival to see Far Away by Caryl Churchill. The play was short, sharp and brutish. The expansive space is what sticks in the memory.
Irish chat shows that overly rely on the public in the absence of bona fide celebrities in this small chat-show driven country of ours.
British author Anne Sebba, who has written Les Parisennes, a fascinating book describing Paris between 1939-1949. Sebba, a guest at the Cork World Book Fest, was an interesting interviewee, talking about the city of light being “a feminised city” with its women in daily contact with the German conquerors.
Looking forward to...
The world premiere of writer, Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It, which has been adapted for the stage. It will begin at the Everyman during the Cork Midsummer Festival. Dealing with victim-blaming and rape culture, it is now more relevant than ever following the Harvey Weinstein allegations and what they sparked.
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The @abbeytheatredublin has announced their 2018 programme and LOOK! There’s Asking For It... I still can’t believe that an adaption of one of my novels is going to be performed on our national stage. The team involved, from Julie Kelleher to Anne Clark, and Annabelle Comyn to Meadhbh McHugh, is made up of some of the very best people working in Irish theatre and I know the book is in safe hands... Tickets are on sale from this Friday. PLEASE BUY TICKETS AND MAKE MY DREAMS COME TRUE. Link on my insta stories #AskingForIt #IrishTheatre
Martin McDonagh’s film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, promises to be interesting. Its central character is Mildred Hayes who places billboards in her neighbourhood to goad the chief of police into solving her daughter’s murder. McDonagh writes feisty parts for women.
Gare St Lazare’s premiere of Beckett’s How It Is Part One at the Everyman at the end of January and Here All Night later in the year. The Paris-based company, run by Conor Lovett and Judy Hegarty-Lovett, are astute interpreters of Beckett.
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