While my blogging continues primarily over at AnyGivenFood.com, I’ve been keeping myself busy in the past few weeks with the above – bash:latterday plays by The Devious Theatre Company. It’s been a good year for me so far in terms of theatre, producing three shows with DTC, working with Watergate Productions, bringing shows to festivals in Dublin and Cork and now, moving on to my fifth and final theatrical production of the year.
This year also marked five years on the go for The Devious Theatre Company and has been a massive transition year for us. We spent the first six months of the year working as artists in residence with Kilkenny County Council’s Arts Office on our In The Future When All’s Well residency and having recently gone through the company formation process, we’ve secured a physical home for the theatre for the foreseeable future, allowing us to spend more time developing work and planning and plotting our 2012 and 2013 calendars.
bash, for me, presents a theatrical homecoming of sorts as it’s our first major production to stage in the intimate surrounds of Cleere’s Theatre in Kilkenny since we revisited Heart Shaped Vinyl in 2007 for an updated run of our debut production in 2006. It is, as they say, where the magic happened for us in the first place and we’ll be looking to recreate that from October 17th to 22nd.
What is this ‘bash’ you speak of?
bash was first performed in 1999. It became quickly renowned for its shocking and unflinching portrayals of everyday evil with the New York Times calling it ‘insistently brutal’. Like much of LaBute’s work, it exposes the dark and sinister undercurrents of clean cut middle American life. The play was considered so shocking at the time that LaBute was disfellowshipped by the Church Of Latter Day Saints, of whom the characters in bash are members.
The play consists of 3 stories with a loose basis on Greek mythology, transposed to modern America. Delivered in monologues that are conversational, breezy, natural and ultimately gutwrenching, bash examines the horrific lengths that human beings go to in order to stay in control of their lives.
In iphigenia in orem a young utah businessman recounts a particularly chilling confession to a stranger in a Las Vegas hotel room. It will be performed by John Morton and directed by myself.
a gaggle of saints sees a young couple document the violent events of a romantic weekend away in New York. It will be performed by Amy Dunne and myself and directed by Annette O’Shea.
In medea redux a young woman tells the ultimately tragic tale about a romance with her high school teacher when she was a teenager. It will be performed by Annette O’Shea and directed by John Morton.
Neil LaBute’s plays include The Shape Of Things, The Mercy Seat, Fat Pig, Wrecks and reasons to be pretty. His film work includes In The Company Of Men, Your Friends And Neighbours, Nurse Betty and Possession.
Neil LaBute’s bash: latterday plays runs in Cleere’s Theatre, Kilkenny from October 17th – 22nd at 8pm nightly. Bookings can be made on 056 – 7762573. Tickets are €12 and are available to buy online now (subject to booking fee).
The fourth theatrical production I’ve worked on (and third that I’ve produced) for this year opens this Sunday night at the Kilkenny Arts Office, 76 John Street Kilkenny. The show opened last week at Solstice in Cork as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival. Here’s the blurb…
Smitten is a play that wants to be a musical.
It marks the third part of Devious Theatre’s ‘In The Future When All’s Well’ residency in Kilkenny Arts Office following on from the success of Scratcher and Shifting. Written by John Morton, it’s a romantic comedy about rain, recession and why dance sequences are harder in real life.
Claire used to be a nurse but then she emigrated. Now she’s returned home from South America with her tail between her legs only to discover that finding her feet on home soil is proving harder than she expected. Especially when everyone else is shaking off their brollies and getting ready to head for greener pastures. As Claire tries to enthuse herself about settling in Ireland, she realises that life is not the Technicolor fantasy that she projected as a teenager and no amount of song or dance is going to help that. If the musicals have taught us one thing, it’s that there’s no place like home. But why does it have to be so black and white?
Smitten opened in Cork on June 16th at Solstice as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival. It then marks the conclusion of Devious Theatre’s Kilkenny Arts Office residency when it plays No. 76 John Street from June 26th – July 2nd.
The cast includes Amy Dunne, Ken McGuire, Kevin Mooney, Lynsey Moran, John Morton, Maria Murray, Suzanne O’Brien, Jack O’Leary, Annette O’Shea and David Thompson. The play is written and directed by John Morton.
Tickets for Kilkenny are €12 can be booked at tickets.devioustheatre.com (tickets booked online carry an additional booking fee), purchased at Kilkenny Arts Office, No. 76 John Street and reserved on 056 – 7794138. For all information please check out DeviousTheatre.com. You can follow progress on the residency at http://no72.wordpress.com.
There’s plenty of teching going on today, tomorrow and Saturday before the curtain goes up on Sunday at 8. Tickets for Sunday night’s opening performance are only €8 and equally can only be called for at the office or collected in person (we’re not selling the Sunday night tickets online). If you want yours, drop down to 76 John Street, Kilkenny (the old Meubles furniture store) any day between now and July 2nd (we’re opening the box office 10am to 6pm daily for the next 10 days or so). Off the back of Scratcher (February) and Shifting (April), I wouldn’t be leaving it too long to get a ticket though, audience will be limited to 70 per night.
The artwork for the latest Devious Theatre production, Smitten (which I’m using both my acting and producing for) has landed in the Dropbox (a vital tool for theatre companies, has to be said) and made its way to the printer this morning.
The poster is the result of a long day of green screen photography with myself and Paddy Dunne and many hours by Paddy following to get the poster to its final draft. Over the next three weeks there’s going to be a torrent of photos, behind the scenes images, promo images, videos and more hitting the local papers, web and the blogs within our own networks.
Smitten marks the third and final performance piece of an artist residency that I’ve been involved in from the beginning of the year, run out of 76 John Street (Kilkenny Arts Office). The works developed in the residency have allowed the theatre company travel to Dublin (Scratcher, February) and Cork (June, Solstice at Cork Midsummer Festival) so I’ll be spending a few days working from Cork in the fortnight. Smitten itself will open in Kilkenny on Sunday June 26th, running for seven nights.
FROM LAST September to March gone, I spent seven months producing (and acting in) two major productions with The Devious Theatre Company. We embarked on the mission of a Dario Fo season. Not content with doing just one show, we sprang for two and almost went for a third two months ago. Of all of our productions to date, Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! will stand out for a long time to come.
Whereby with previous shows we’ve released clips of various scenes, the Mycrofilms crew have put together a mashup of both productions in around six minutes or so to give you a flavour of what took place in the Set Theatre in Kilkenny in December 2009 and March 2010.
The good news for theatre folk is that we may be back sooner than you thought. After all, it wouldn’t be a summer in Kilkenny without some kind of Devious activity…
SURROUNDING YOURSELF with fantastic creatives (i.e. incredibly creative people) can be great for your health. It can be great for your sanity. It can inspire all kinds of creative thoughts of your own, bring ideas to life and much more. Of course, if you’re like me, it can leave you with a cap, a white face, a pencil moustache, incredibly large sideburns, a pink check shirt, electric green overalls and outrageous accents.
But in fairness, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
One of those creatives is fellow deviant, Paddy Dunne, who has produced the latest masterpiece. For the last few stage productions for Devious Theatre, myself, Paddy and John (Morton) have worked the angles and cameras coming up with funky setups and promotional imagery for the likes of Stags and Hens, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and next month’s production of Dario Fo’s Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! The phrase “I’ll just photoshop it in” took on a life of its own many moons ago, but “photoshop it in” he’s done and he’s created this gem.
Of course, we won’t mention his PPAI Designer of the Year nomination last year but you’ll find reference to it in the programme if you make it along to the show.
Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! opens in Set Theatre, Kilkenny, on Wednesday March 10th and runs to Sunday March 14th. Tickets, priced â‚¬13 are available from our online sales area. The early bird tickets (which were available at â‚¬10) have been snapped up but we’ve got plenty to go around. From March we’ll be taking a break from the stage for a few months, directing our theatrical sights into other areas online and off and this latest production brings a close to our Dario Fo season so we urge you to come out, you won’t be disappointed.
For more on the show, check DeviousTheatre.com.
Little bit of a cross-post redirection play here to and article I’ve penned for Devious Theatre over on the blog. In prepping a series of articles for the group around some of the technologies we use to keep ourselves afloat and assist our daily workloads, an article in today’s Irish Times has me drawn back to pub theatre with fond memories of our first production, Heart Shaped Vinyl, back in August 2006.
Recorded cast reading of Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay this past Saturday. That’ll be me pictured on the right of show, playing the role of Giovanni.
THE DEVIOUS theatre company, one of my other / many hats, have announced details of our first major production in 2010, Dario Fo’s Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! and I’ll be on KCLR96FM around 4:15pm afternoon chatting about the show. You can tune in via KCLR96FM.com (live stream link).
We do a lot of things online as a company, given we have no physical premises as such (bar sharing each others offices for the odd rehearsal / recording session). We blog, we connect, we share videos, tweet, hold our meetings online, use private forums for staff discussion, provide online resources, scripts and schedules for cast and crew, we advertise (and have completed a few useful Facebook ad campaigns), we podcast, we’ve an online CRM setup for managing contacts and suppliers and a whole lot more besides. The next logical step of course was to start selling tickets online.
I had long thought about it for the group, given the wide variety of venues we’ve performed in, the growing and varying audiences we’re attracting show-on-show, and the difference in management for pre-bookings or box office practice per venue that it would be good to introduce something online that we could manage ourselves, cost effectively as well.
Enter Eventbrite, which within ten minutes of using I had our December performance of Accidental Death of an Anarchist up and running, with five nights of tickets to buy for, connected out to our Facebook profile to plug the event there and (add on another five minutes or so) tickets available via DeviousTheatre.com with their embedding service.
So with a new show on the horizon and tickets gone to the printers, we figured we’d do exactly the same for our production of Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! in March.
There were a lot of plusses for using the service. To start with, it opened the door to a potential new revenue stream for the group. We decided that 2010 would be the year we focus on turning the group towards a business, the first step for us in bringing the company “professional” (join the queue for the debate between amateur and professional theatre) and as such, revenue streams have to be looked at. We spend a lot of time, as a group, online in promoting and documenting our shows and we felt that online ticket sales would give us the ability to reach those that are the more serious web users, those au fait with booking online. We also wanted a way to provide ticket sales to people traveling from out of town, those who couldn’t travel to Kilkenny before the box office closed at six, or those who didn’t want to give credit card details over the phone. On both, accounts, it worked.
That was the test – would it work. I would have considered it a success if one person had bought one ticket online, at least we know it worked. But one turned into three, turned into 17 and more as the weekend theatregoers turned up with their pre-printed tickets (made available by Eventbrite), our door staff crossing off the checklist of those who registered and paid for tickets online (also made available by Eventbrite) and as a plus for us, we had immediate access for funds to use online in advance of the production. As the payments go from Eventbrite to our Paypal account, and we’re avid eBay users for sourcing props for shows over the years, we’ve created a stream of income we didn’t quite have before.
For some of those people attending Accidental Death of an Anarchist, who bought their tickets online, it was their first time to see one of our productions – a further success in my eyes. Would they have come to the show or traveled 30 miles to Kilkenny if they hadn’t been able to buy their tickets online? Maybe, maybe not, but they came. And as a bonus, we’ve decided that those who did purchase tickets online for our first show will receive a nice discount on the online purchases if they want to buy tickets for Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! online. A token gesture for us, yes, but at the same time we’re hoping it would encourage people to return again and enjoy another night at the theatre.
The tickets for Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay are on sale. You can pick them up online here and here. There is a booking fee of â‚¬1.07 per ticket sold online, something that we’re also able to manage ourselves and it’s how Eventbrite (much like the credit card companies or physical theatres) will make their money from box office sales. When Eventbrite deliver funds per show / ticket sold, those funds include the booking fee. Post-event we’re invoiced from Eventbrite to recoup the booking fee, and again, it’s a straight Paypal transaction. Outside of that, there’s no other cost involved. No membership fee, no setup fee, nothing.
So we add online ticket sales to our bow, and we know that it works. I’m still tempted into doing an online theatre production, or live-streaming one of our own productions but we’ll have to talk to the licensing powers that be about that one.
And yes, I’m sure there are other ticket-selling resources available but we’ve tried Eventbrite, made it work, had it generate revenue and open a whole other realm of online promotion for the group so we’re happy to keep going with it.
Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! runs at the Set Theatre, John Street, Kilkenny from Wednesday March 10th to Sunday March 14th 2010. Tickets available online priced â‚¬13 ex booking fee. Keep an eye on DeviousTheatre.com for more details.
If you believe the above photo, I’ve been beaten up for my love of the arts. Or more for the honour of performing with the DTC actors again in our production of Accidental Death Of An Anarchist which opens next Wednesday night in the new Set Theatre on John Street, Kilkenny.
We’re (as in The Devious Theatre Company) taking our next production to the new 252-seater space for a five night run commencing Wednesday December 2nd and wrapping Sunday December 6th.
Written in 1970, Accidental Death Of An Anarchist was inspired by events that took place in Italy in 1969 when an anarchist, Giuseppe Pinelli fell â€“ or was thrown â€“ from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station. He had been accused of a campaign of bombing, of which he was later found innocent. The resultant scandal uncovered a system rife with corruption and intensified public rage at the government. Intensification of public rage is something that Dario Fo is a master of with his work challenging church, government and the authorities in Italy for over 50 years.
Accidental Death Of An Anarchist takes place as an enquiry into the anarchistâ€™s death is causing the policemen involved to have some difficulties remembering the details of the event. That is, until a nameless deranged madman shows up and proceeds to tie the authorities around his fingers in a master class performance of utter logic. The cast includes Alan Butler, Sean Hackett, Simone Kelly, myself, John Morton and David Thompson playing the famed role of the shape shifting Madman. Having previously donned the director’s hat for Trainspotting (2008), John finds himself wearing it again for this production (and also the followup with Fo’s Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! next spring)
As is usually the case with adaptations of Dario Fo, this production will look at the events of the play through the prism of modern Ireland and the corruption and scandals inherent in our own political systems. Employing the comedic methods of commedia dellâ€™arte and slapstick as used by Dario Fo, Accidental Death Of An Anarchist is an uproariously funny farce which rallies against political injustice and corruption.
To mark the occasion of the opening of the new show I’ve got two tickets sitting here on my desk that I would like someone to have. They’re for the opening night of the show on Wednesday coming and if you would like a chance at winning the tickets, leave a comment and tell me which Italian playwright penned Accidental Death Of An Anarchist. We’ll leave things run until tomorrow evening perhaps, say 5pm tomorrow (Friday) to try get a winner.
The show itself runs nightly at 8pm, doors open 7:30pm, we’ve priced tickets at â‚¬12 for some very affordable theatre and they can also be bought from Langtons on John Street, Rollercoaster Records on Kieran Street (Kilkenny) and online via DeviousTheatre.com.