One Hell Of A Bash

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).

Turning Attentions To Arts & Culture

Love Arts Culture

THE ARTS, with theatre in particular, is quite close to my heart. One of the most enjoyable things I’ve done in years finished recently when I wrapped up a six month artist residency at 76 John Street, Kilkennny with The Devious Theatre Company. The purpose of the residency was to allow the company time to develop, plan, plot, grow professionaly and stage some new work. Three new productions, two festivals and a partridge in a pear tree later, I find myself having kick-started a new blog, Love Arts Culture. This due largely in part to reading anything and everything the arts office has had to offer over the past six months and using the residency as a catalyst to get a focus for a new blog.

Love Arts Culture gives me a home for arts related musings, photographs and theatre coverage, with a spillover of content from DTC and other arts-related projects I’m involved in.

The idea of kenmc.com as a technology blog, for the past 12-18 months, has certainly faded with more of my attention heading towards the arts and groups that I’m involved with both personall and professionally, so parking it all under the one banner makes a lot more sense.

It’s in the infancy stages for the moment but I’ll be giving it some good development time over the next few weeks and we’ll see what comes of it. Whoever says blogging is dead must be having a laugh. As for the content here on kenmc.com, it has certainly changed direction over the past six years or so (or it must be close to six years anyway). This blog itself will be subject to some revision in the coming weeks but for now, you’ll find more of my ramblings over at LoveArtsCulture.com, AnyGivenFood.com and with some photos in the mix, documenting the 29th year, over at 365.kenmc.com.

Do stop by and check out the blog. You’ll also find @LoveArtsCulture on Twitter and Facebook here.

Blogging The Arts Festival

Xi and Si

The Kilkenny Arts Festival, now in its 36th year, opened on Friday night and for the duration of the festival I’ll be hiding out over on the festival blog, with myself and John Morton making contributions to the festival content manning the blog / Twitter and video output until Sunday the 16th.

For me personally it’s a fantastic way to see the festival, having missed out on much of last year’s offerings due to our own (via Devious Theatre) commitments to producing Smitten (2008). Friday took in Aleksandar Madzar, Aka Moon and Black Machine opening to a weekend featuring RSAG, Julie Feeney, Amiina and much more. Throughout the week I’ll be attending a myriad of theatre, music, visual arts, crafts and literature events and working on bringing those to the web for the festival.

If you’re attending anything at the Kilkenny Arts Festival or talking about it on Twitter, there’s also the #kaf hashtag that’s currently being used to track festival chatter online. If you do manage to spot me at an event, be sure and say hello.

Stags And Hens Trailer

More video for you this week (with more likely to come at the weekend). This time it’s the trailer we’ve just release for Stags And Hens, taking place at the Watergate Theatre in Kilkenny from Tuesday July 21st to Saturday July 25th. Next week we’re going to start giving away a few tickets for the show as well so if you want to be in with a chance of winning, you best get to following @devioustheatre on Twitter. Facebook ads kick in this week, more character promo posters get released, more mentions in the press, it’s full steam ahead.

The first of our video diaries went live earlier in the week as well, you can check it out here or keep an eye on DeviousTheatre.com for all the developments on the show.

Rhyme Rag, New Poetry Blog In Kilkenny

Testament that including blog links in your email signatures work, I stumbled onto Rhyme Rag earlier this morning.

Rhyme Rag is a young poetry publication issued by the Kilkenny Arts Office, directed by local arts officer Mary Butler.

You can also follow the artist-in-residency blog for No 72 John Street here where Gypsy Ray has recently commenced a four week residency.

Blogging For Beginners Hits The Spot(light)

Last May I was asked to give a Blogging For Beginners course to a number of ArtLinks members, the primary focus being on blogging from an arts perspective.

While the meat of the day was in the actual talking and conversation part (as more often than not is the case), I had put some slides together as a handout for the eighteen or so who attended. Cathy Fitzgerald has been working away on getting the ArtLinks courses online over Christmas and the Blogging For Beginners presentation on Slideshare is currently the featured presentation in the careers section.

You can view / download the slides here.

Another one on ‘Getting Ahead In The Music Industry’, a talk myself and some of the KKM crew ran in Wicklow in November 2007 should be making its way online in the next few days.

Some of the presentation may indeed be dated at this stage but will get a revamp soon enough.

ArtLinks Reaches The 1,000 Member Milestone

ArtLinksArtLinks, a growing online community for artists of all walks of life, based in the South East (here in Kilkenny) celebrated a nice milestone yesterday as they’ve reached the 1,000 member mark.

I’ve been a member of and following the prior to its official launch in November 2007 and for the site to gain the ground it has since last November is largely down to the drive of the organisations director, Cathy Fitzgerald.

Cathy was an attendee of PodCamp Ireland in Kilkenny in September 2007, moving up to be a speaker at CreativeCamp (March 2008), PodCamp Ireland II (September 2008) and more recently the Arts Council’s new media conference (November 2008). You can view the presentation here.

Online and offline ArtLinks has come a long way since its launch. Born out of ideas generated at a fantastic Artists Exchange day I attended in May 2006, ArtLinks operates as a partnership between the arts offices of Kilkenny, Carlow, Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford County. By engaging with ArtLinks I’ve been able to open up new doors for theatre and music in Kilkenny as well as connect with some great creative-minded people in the region.

If you’re a involved in the arts in any way in the south east of Ireland, be it film, drama, music, writing, sculpture, painting – anything goes – drop along and register for free. Best of luck to Cathy and all the arts officers in 2009.


Disclaimer: I have worked as a consultant and advisor on ArtLinks, and have delivered a number of real-world courses for them.

Have You Met Janine Drew Yet?

Filming for Vultures episode four here in Kilkenny, The Case Of The Poisoned Dates, is almost complete and in advance of the episode’s release, the Mycrofilms bunch recently released a new promo for the episode.

As far back as she can remember, Janine Drew always wanted to be a private detective. And now that she’s in Transition Year, there’s only one place she wants to go on work experience: Vulture Private Investigations. And no one’s going to stop her: not Mrs. Curtin, not her parents and especially not the detectives of V.P.I. Janine Drew is all about ambition. She is smart, focused, highly intelligent and can actually smoke and chew gum at the same time.

What she isn’t however is discreet. It can be easily deduced that Janine is what is known as a ‘chav.’ She likes to wear lots of pink, is fond of her bling, is loud and gossipy and adorns her feet with those monstrosities known as UGG boots. She is Dan McGrain’s worst nightmare come to life: an obnoxiously modern female. And she will break your face if you keep staring at her.

For more on the episode, check here, or play the trailer above.

Watch Now: The Mystery Of The Night Time Refuse

On Saturday night I went along to the premiere screening of The Mystery Of The Night Time Refuse, the latest episode in the current series of Vultures. I almost laughed my ass off in parts (seriously) and the lads have done another great job in producing this episode, something which couldn’t be done without the terrific assistance from the Kilkenny County Council Arts Office who also support the activities of The Devious Theatre Company and KilkennyMusic.com.

While I’ve been cast to appear in episode six there’s a possibility I’ll be making a third cameo in four episodes when shooting resumes for episode four later this month.

Filmed and produced entirely on location in Kilkenny (well, sort-of, for this episode), you can now watch or download the third episode for free online. Visit VulturesPI.com or start playing the video above.

I’m Smitten, All Week

My evenings are about to come back to me once again, returning a sense of normality to my days and my blogging routine. What has been “normal” to me for the past 3-4 months have been intensive nights of rehearsals, mornings and weekends of production meetings, script meetings, safety checks, sound design, set design, more production meetings and more food than one could ever possibly consume at ‘The Field’ in Kilkenny.

Tonight sees the opening of my second show in two months. For those of you who don’t know, I’m one of the four heads responsible for the running of The Devious Theatre Company in Kilkenny, at it’s core a six-strong group of actors and theatre lovers striving to develop and promote new programmes of theatre aimed at people our own age. Out with The Field and Oklahoma, in with Trainspotting and Cannibal The Musical and, this week, Smitten.

In a round about way I got to join Darragh Doyle on KCLR 96FM last night (both of us pre-recording at separate times on Monday night) where listeners would have heard myself and writer John Morton talking about Smitten, opening tonight in The Barn at Church Lane, Kilkenny (behind The Good Shepherd Centre / St. Canice’s Cathedral) and running until Saturday.

Smitten is, unashamedly so, a play about Kilkenny, set in Kilkenny, hosted by Kilkenny actors. A mish-mash of stories focusing on topics from alcoholism to pregnancy, mystery girls to testicular cancer, broken hearts to broken hands, make-ups and break-ups… but it’s a comedy at the heart of it all.

John has actually put together a great piece here that’s well worth the read, from the writer’s perspective of Smitten.

This is the fourth new production I’ve been involved in staging over the past two years where this time around I play ‘Niall’ who could quite possibly charm the pants off anything if he put his mind to it. For me it’s been a great role to take given I’ve been wearing other hats as producer for the show, sound designer and general Mr. Transport (have van, will travel). Having played a nice guy record collector, to an all-singing-all-dancing lover of snowmen, to a good-guy-turned-junkie, it’s nice to play someone with a bit of sleaze to their character, shake things up a bit.

If you’re interested in finding out more, check out DeviousTheatre.com. I’ll be hanging out in The Barn pretty much all week and would like to extend my thanks once again to Barnstorm Theatre for providing us with a most excellent rehearsal and performance venue. If you would like to pop along to the show or reserve tickets, drop me a text or email me and we’ll sort something out.

Until then, I’m Smitten.