My Dear Rosencrantz

My evenings have been occupied this past week with rehearsals for two stage productions. Next month I’ll be stepping onto the Watergate stage in Kilkenny as Eddy in Willy Russell’s Stags And Hens. This weekend, however, is in complete contrast as I, along with some of my fellow deviants, stage a performance called Shakespeare In Bits as part of the Shakespeare In The House festival in Kilkenny.

The festival, now in its second year, sees Dreamstuff Youth Theatre (the theatre wing of Young Irish Film Makers) perform abridged versions of Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Comedy Of Errors. Cartoon Saloon will be on hand to provide a Shakespearean animation workshop, there’s a 60-second Shakespeare film competition and then there’s our programme, which certain deviates from the norm.

As part of Shakespeare In Bits were bringing performances from The Tempest, extracts from The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works of William Shakespeare, a monologue or two from Hamlet, The New Yorker’s take on the recent Christian Bale rant (transformed to Shakespearean times), Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (above), culminating in a sonnet-off akin to the rap battles of 8-Mile.

Each day starts around 11am (this Saturday and Sunday) and it all takes place in Rothe House on Parliament Street, Kilkenny. Admission is free.

For the moment, however, the sun seems to have vacated Kilkenny completely, but hopefully the rain will disappear to make way for the sun once more.

The C Word

One of my alter egos is involved in the running of The Devious Theatre Company in Kilkenny. We write new works, produce and direct in house, run a great rotation system on all of our productions since our launch in 2006 and this weekend we’re getting set to announce the first part of our 2009 program of theatre.

When things go right, they go very right. When things go wrong, they’re usually followed by “the C word”. At least that used to be the case. The word has lost all meaning and is now a total Devious Theatre term of affection.

We’ve been plugging a string of videos from a production of Trainspotting we did last year (one of three productions of 2008) over on DeviousTheatre.com and we’ve just released the final video aka The Cunt Cut.

Needless to say, it was a very popular word in Trainspotting… can you count how many are there?

5th Kilkenny Open Coffee This Morning

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Creative Commons License photo credit: reality-check

The fifth Kilkenny Open Coffee gathering takes place later this morning. Myself, John Keyes, Keith Bohanna, Frank Bradley and Katherine Nolan have become the regulars there and hopefully will all be there again this morning. Each meeting to date has thrown up a few new faces, people using it as a chance to get out of the house or the office and meet people in a likeminded space, see what others are up to. If you’re in Kilkenny, working from home, working in a web / tech / business background and want to get out of the house or the office and introduce yourself to people in a similar space, do drop down, either today or at any of the Open Coffee mornings down the line.

We haven’t set a structure on the gathering i.e. no specific themes or guest speakers or anything like that but each morning has thrown up some great topics of conversation and thoughts to get your own moving.

This morning’s Open Coffee takes place in the Kilkenny Café at Market Cross Shopping Centre (map here) on High Street. For those driving, MCSC has a large multistorey car park, with parking also available in the nearby Dunnes Stores car park. The meet is on at the back of the café where you’ll also find free wifi.

To keep up to date, check the IGOpeople group here.

LocalElections.ie Covering Kilkenny / Carlow

Ballot paper for the Manchester TIF referendum
Creative Commons License photo credit: Frankie Roberto

I stumbled across LocalElections.ie last week via KCLR 96FM, the station running the site as a means to get information to the masses on the local elections in Carlow / Kilkenny for 2009.

The site itself is heavy on the information side of things with plenty of information available on the structure of the elections, the breakdown of the councils within Carlow and Kilkenny, the power of councillors and lists of all current sitting councillors and those standing for election come June. While the names are there, it might be nice to get some profiles added on the actual councillors themselves – pictures, key election points etc. – something I’m sure will appear on the site before the election date in June.

One thing that is happening is that they’re getting blogging. Sue Nunn, who heads to Brussels today in advance of a live broadcast tomorrow with the current Ireland East MEPs, is blogging. There’s also two hustings blogs running, the Kilkenny one packing a bit of a no-holds-barred approach to the local elections while the Carlow one has just gotten off the ground.

Sue’s show is live tomorrow from 10am to 12pm and you can catch the stream via the KCLR website.

Tinkering With Muzu.tv

I’ve been enjoying some downtime since Friday afternoon and until Wednesday I’m on self-imposed exile from the office, something that doesn’t come along or take place all that often. I endured a long drive to Sligo on Friday, sang my head off at a gig on Saturday, listening to all the Premier League action on Newstalk on the drive home on Sunday and today has been spent dedicating some much-needed time to extending the arms of Kilkenny Music.

There’s a lot coming up for KKM in the coming weeks and months, including the launch of a busking competition we’re running, with over €3,000 in cash up for grabs. Before the weekend, the One Take Sessions kicked off for 2009 and while the first of the videos hit YouTube from a McDonalds at the Kilmartin N6 centre outside Athlone on Friday, today saw some tinkering with Muzu.tv.

I’ve been doing a lot of viewing on the site, in terms of videos, but have only now gotten around to shifting content onto Muzu. I must upload the videos in a higher quality (mental note) next time around but I’m liking it so far and hope to use it as another strong portal for the artists and acts we’re putting through the ‘Sessions for 2009. Also, you won’t have any problem watching “official” music videos on Muzu, unlike the news hanging over Youtube in the last few days.

By the way, if you’re looking for some free music from some great independent Irish acts in April, join us in Cleere’s Theatre in Kilkenny on Thursday April 2nd at 9:30pm.

New Online Newspaper For Kilkenny Launches This Week

The Times are Changing
Creative Commons License photo credit: Edgar Zuniga Jr.

“The countdown has begun to February 18, 2009 – A historic day for Kilkenny which will then boast Ireland’s first on-line provincial news paper.”

Kilkenny Alive, a new online newspaper for Kilkenny city and county is set to launch this week. The paper, or site in this case, is being managed by Jimmy Rhatigan, former editor of the recently collapsed Kilkenny Voice along with Sean Hurley, both cornerstones of Kilkenny print media. I missed the launch of the newspaper on Saturday evening but caught up with Mark Brennan, who will look after the day-to-day running of the site, via email.

The site itself should “keep a nice flow of content” while every Wednesday will see a new “edition” posted to the site. You can also get a PDF download of the weekly edition which will contain everything one would expect in a newspaper with news, sport, theatre, arts updates etc. There’s also talk of some “nice surprises” which I’m sure will be revealed from this Wednesday onwards. The site is being designed and run inhouse and will launch at KilkennyAlive.com.

Given the loss of the Kilkenny Voice and some noticable content-shifts of late at the Kilkenny Advertiser (bring back your business section, please!), it will be interesting to see where Kilkenny Alive will go and what gaps it can fill in local media.

Kilkenny Open Coffee Today (Wednesday)

Just a reminder to folks that the second Kilkenny Open Coffee takes place at 11:30am this morning in the Kilkenny Cafe at Market Cross Shopping Centre, High Street, Kilkenny.

There’s a “meeting room” space at the back of Kilkenny Cafe that offers up free wifi, some couches and the likes. Last (and first) time around there seven of us there and we’ve contacted a few more people this time around, locally, to let them know what’s going on.

If you’re in Kilkenny this morning, involved in the internet or tech space and want to drop in for a tea / coffee / scone / demo / yarn then feel free to join us from 11:30am. Last time I checked they were also running an offer of two scones and two coffees for a fiver, plenty to keep one going!

See the map here or follow the crowd over on IGOpeople.com

More Online Comedy Coming February 1st

The next helping of Vultures, an online comedy filmed and produced here in Kilkenny, is set to debut online on Sunday February 1st over at VulturesPI.com. ‘The Case of the Poisoned Dates’ is the fourth installment of a six-part series, filming of which is set to wrap late next month.

Those who attended CreativeCamp in March, PodCamp in September or are regular readers of the blog will be away of Vultures, written by good friends of mine John Morton and Paddy Dunne, directed by another great friend in Ross Costigan (you’ll also find his blog nominated in the Best Photoblog category) and produced by Kilkenny’s video genius that is Alan Slattery. We all work together in different capacities with the likes of The Devious Theatre Company (since 2006) and Kilkenny Music (since 2005) and it’s fantastic to see how far Vultures (under the Mycrofilms banner) has come since the series debut back in December 2007.

I spent some time on set (third episode I’ve worked on in some capacity) on the last day of filming for episode four and by all accounts, we’re in for a right treat when the episode is released next week. There will be a cast and crew screening in advance of the release (which I’m going to miss) and I’ll be catching up with the filming again next month as I get to work on my Scottish accent for another character.

The fourth episode sees the arrival of TY student, Janine Drew, in the V.P.I. office for work experience. Played by Suzanne O’Brien (a cousin of mine), Janine is brash, ambitious and has the distinct features of what is commonly known as a ‘chav.’

Janine Drew’s arrival coincides with a series of errant romantic entanglements that degenerate into a potential powder keg of social embarrassment, messy divorce cases and extreme comic violence.

The new episode sees the return of David Thompson, John Morton and Sean Hackett as McGrain, Vultour and Tennyson, the hapless gentleman detectives of V.P.I. They are joined by a familiar supporting cast of characters; Inspector Leeson (Paul Young), Isabelle Vultour (Liadain Kaminska), Tom Moriarty (Stephen Colfer), Jack Street (Ross Costigan), Sarah Black (Niamh Moroney) and a few new faces.

Shooting has already begun, in and around Kilkenny, on the final two episodes of the series with the production due to conclude in March. Episodes 5 & 6 will then be released online by summer 2009.

For the moment though, stick February 1st in your diary to check VulturesPI.com and grab the new episode when it hits the web.

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.

Kilkenny Open Coffee? It’s A Possibility, It’s This Week

Hot Cup Of Clay
Creative Commons License photo credit: Gary Denness

Having an Open Coffee morning in Kilkenny has long been whispered and suggested amongst Kilkenny-heads. I spoke to a few people about it at PodCamp and the whispers appeared again before Christmas on Twitter.

Over on IGOPeople.com, Keith has set up a Kilkenny Open Coffee Group where a few of us have agreed to a first meeting at the Kilkenny Cafe tomorrow (Wednesday) at 11:30am. You’ll find the Kilkenny Cafe located downstairs in Market Cross Shopping Centre and The Meeting Room is up at the back of the cafe. There’s plenty of tables, chairs, big seats, power points for laptops and free wifi as well.

If you’re in the Kilkenny area, drop in, have a coffee, let’s see what happens.