Trio of plays at Cúirt
THE CÚIRT International Festival of Literature, in association with the Galway Arts Centre, presents three exciting new theatre shows in conjunction with Galway Community Theatre and NUI Galway’s BA connect with theatre and performance class.
All three shows – Pineapple, Medea Redux, and Carshow - are directed by Andrew Flynn, and offer Cúirt audiences a chance to see fine contemporary theatre staged by Galway performers.
While his schedule is currently beyond hectic with three shows to oversee, Andrew Flynn managed to make some free time to talk about the festive theatrical menu.
Before discussing the featured shows, he began by explaining why none of them is being presented by Galway Youth Theatre, who have been previously been regular fixtures in Cúirt.
“Due to funding cuts GYT couldn’t afford to do a Cúirt show this year,” Flynn reveals. “Last year ourselves and the other main Irish youth theatres in Sligo and Dublin were all informed by the Arts Council that we would no longer be getting annual funding.
“Because of that we felt we couldn’t commit to a GYT Cúirt show, but we will still be doing a big show for the Galway Arts Festival, which will be a co-production between GYT and Galway Community Theatre. This is the first year since I joined the company that there hasn’t been a GYT show in Cúirt.”
Moving on to discuss the shows that do feature in this year’s festival, Flynn commences with Philip McMahon’s Pineapple, a play about family, relationships, urban community, and growing up and surviving the modern world. The play is performed by the BA connect class.
“It was done first two years ago by Calipo in Drogheda and then revived for last year’s Dublin Theatre Festival,” Flynn tells me. “It’s a beautiful play, set in a tower block in Ballymun at the period when the blocks are being ripped down.
“It focuses on the family of a woman called Paula [played by Catherine Denning] who has two kids and all her neighbours are being rehoused but she hasn’t. As the play goes on she’s getting more isolated. It’s kind of a love story, this man comes into her life and it’s about whether Paula has the courage to go for it.”
Carshow is a site specific piece performed by the BA connect class and Galway Community Theatre. Four cars, four journeys, four very different stories. Set in the confines of a car, Carshow brings the audience on four very different road trips. Various playwrights employ their insights on life with great effect; investigating the apprehension that surrounds the steering wheel.
Flynn outlines the contents of the show; “There’s one piece by Arthur Riordain called Love Me, two pieces by Neil LaBute from his Autobahn, and a new piece by John McKenna. We used the ‘car show’ concept before with GYT and people loved them and they look like they’re going to be sold out this time around. It’s a good chance for the younger BA people to act with older actors from the GCT group.”
Medea Redux by Neil LaBute is a 45 minute monologue. “It’s inspired by the Greek tragedy Medea,” Flynn states, “but LaBute has taken it into a very modern context. It’s about a young woman [played by Galway Community Theatre’s Patricia Bohan] who’s had a relationship with her secondary schoolteacher. It’s a very moving piece. It’s a very tight script with strong emotions, like all LaBute’s work.”
Pineapple and Carshow run from Monday April 22 to Sunday 28 in Nuns Island Theatre. Medea Redux runs in the Town Hall Studio from Monday 22 to Sunday 28 at 8pm. Tickets for each of the shows are €12/10 and can be booked at the Town Hall Theatre on 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie