A trio of plays for Cúirt

THE ANNUAL and much-loved literary jamboree of Cúirt swings into gear next week and among its many attractions are two plays - The Monster in the Hall and The Merchant of Venice.

The Monster in the Hall

Scottish playwright David Grieg’s The Monster in the Hall receives its Irish premiere in a co-production from the NUI Galway Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance and the Galway Arts Centre.

The play introduces us to Duck Macatarsney who cares for her biker dad, Duke, whose MS is getting increasingly bad. Duke is a spliff-smoking, bike-riding, heavy metal and movie-loving, pizza-eating widower who has brought up Duck since the death of her mother in a crash.

The two of them are just about surviving when one morning the Duke wakes up blind and Duck hears that social services are coming to take her away. The Monster in the Hall follows Duck as she tries to protect her world from the terrifying prospect of change.

The Monster in the Hall is a low budget indie comedy musical about a girl on the verge of a nervous breakdown played out by seven actors and a big fat motorbike which goes “Vrrooommm!”

The play runs at the Nuns Island Theatre from Monday April 8 to Friday 11 at 8pm with a matinee on Saturday 12th at 2pm. Tickets are available through the Town Hall Theatre (091 -- 569777, www.tht.ie ) or on the door on the night. All proceeds from the production will go towards helping to making a summer production.

The Merchant of Venice

Following the success of an ambitious programme of Shakespeare Workshops for Junior and Leaving Cert students, Galway’s ThereisBear! Theatre are back in action with their production of the Bard’s The Merchant of Venice.

When old rivalries bristle and the stakes are raised, one man wagers his very life on such a bargain. For Antonio, Bassanio, Portia, and Shylock, power, lives and even flesh are items to be traded, competed for, and sometimes seized.

This exciting new production takes Shakespeare’s play in new directions. Set against the quasi-criminal backdrop of an imagined, monolithic, world-bank, ThereisBear!’s The Merchant of Venice explores the nature of power itself and what exactly power might become when it is vested in those whose modus operandi includes back-room bargains and underhanded deals.

Although the production is aimed at all theatregoers and Shakespeare enthusiasts, it should be of particular interest to exam students and those searching for an accessible rendering of the play. This production of The Merchant of Venice is designed especially for the Junior Cert school curriculum and works to heighten key relationships and conflicts. It also serves to stage the play in a modern setting to show how themes of identity, trade, gender, and revenge have ongoing relevance for a contemporary audience.

The Merchant of Venice will be staged at NUIG’s Aula Maxima from Monday April 7 to Wednesday 9 at 11am and 6pm daily. Tickets are €15/12/10 through the Town Hall (091 569777, www.tht.ie ), 086 - 8677339, or [email protected].


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