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?

The War Of The Worlds Podcast

Still images from space invaders animation
Creative Commons License photo credit: mightyohm

After my two week break away, I’m getting back into the swing of things podcast-wise. While this week’s Playlist Mix and Sound System Podcast have to yet hit the web, there’s already one new podcast you can grab for yourself – The Devious Theatre Company’s version of HG Wells’ sci-fi classic, The War Of The Worlds.

We originally broadcast The War Of The Worlds on KCLR 96FM in Carlow / Kilkenny on Thursday October 30th of this year. Running at 54 minutes long, this original version which was adapted and localised to a Carlow / Kilkenny setting is now available on DeviousTheatre.com.

It also marks the start of a podcast run for The Devious Theatre Company. We’ve been stock piling audio bites between interviews on various radio stations and scenes from our productions over the past two and a half years. The War Of The Worlds marks the start of another big social media ball to roll for the theatre company.

If you want to grab the MP3 directly (about 50mb in size) you can click here. You can also listen to / stream the show from the audio player below or head over to DeviousTheatre.com to grab your copy.

The War Of The Worlds (Download @ 51mb)
[audio:http://www.devioustheatre.com/podpress_trac/web/644/0/podcast_001_wotw.mp3]

The War Of The Worlds Airs Tonight

The War Of The Worlds

The last few weeks have shot by in nothing but a blur. Work life is changing and evolving, music is moving, I’ve been involved in another festival, thrown a bunch of gigs and managed to pull off my third theatre production of the year, again donning one of the producer hats available from The Devious Theatre Company’s hat box.

It all comes down to tonight.

The Devious Theatre Company (of which I’m involved in running and have been since May 2006) proudly present our own version of H.G. Wells’ classic ‘The War Of The Worlds’, airing tonight on KCLR96FM. You can pick up KCLR in Carlow, Kilkenny, south Kilkenny and areas of Waterford and surrounding counties. If you’re well outside the range or would like to listen in from foreign soil, you can do so by hitting the station’s website on KCLR96FM.com.

Fitting it should fall on the 70th anniversary of the original broadcast by Orson Welles, October 30th 1938.

We’ve been working on the show solid for the past 2-3 weeks with many a late night had in the recording studio (including this Tuesday gone) in the buildup to handing over the finished production to the station yesterday.

As a company we’ve built up a nice reputation in Kilkenny. War Of The Worlds marks our fifth production (fifth new production as we brought one show back for two further runs in 2006 and 2007) and our first foray into the world of theatre for radio. We’ve concentrated so much on the visual – sets, costumes, lighting, makeup, props, the venue, our advertising, promotional photos, posters but this show turns it on it’s head.

The Bigger Picture

Taking a step back to look at the bigger picture, I have to hand it to the lads, and ourselves as a company. We’ve come through two tough productions with Trainspotting (June 2008), Smitten (August 2008) and with little or no break we ran straight into The War Of The Worlds, writing an entirely new script, casting, scheduling, sourcing sound effects and learning to concentrate on everything you don’t see. It’s one thing producing a piece of work for an audience who will sit and watch you, but another thing altogether in producing a piece of work for an audience you want to sit and listen to you.

But everyone pulled it together, that’s what we do when we’re working as a proper functioning theme. You’re an actor, but you’re also the producer, the director, the driver, the one that goes for food, the one that remembers to bring biscuits and tea, the one that stays up all night mixing – we’re all of those. So while it’s a brilliant move for the company, it’s a brilliant show of teamwork as everyone had a part to play and everyone played it so well.

Not only that, but they managed to wrap it into a neat bundle that airs tonight around 9:03pm and runs for 53 minutes and 57 seconds. And we did it all without any external technical support. We were offered the use of the radio station for production but we opted to carry the can ourselves knowing we’ve got the ability to pull it off.

I’ve held back from listening to the finished version (we’re having a listening party tonight) though initial feedback from the station calls the show “absolutely fantastic”. Fingers crossed.

I’ll be on the radio later this morning (just after the 11am news) talking about the show. You can listen in live via KCLR96FM.com.

To those of you who are listening in tonight, thank you very much. From myself and all at The Devious Theatre Company I really do hope you enjoy the efforts of the group as much as we’ve enjoyed producing it. If it all goes well then maybe we’ll gun for another one next year. Our thanks too go out to all at KCLR for their support and in giving us the opportunity and airtime to develop another original production.

For those of you who can’t listen in tonight then don’t despair, we’ve something nice in store for you too.

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.