Mullingar natives set up camp at Electric Picnic

How do you take poetry out off the page and turn it into a theatrical event that leaves audiences begging for more?

You ask Marty Mulligan, Mullingar man and Ireland’s finest spoken word artist, to bring it to life at the Electric Picnic for three days and nights of revelry and revelling in the spoken word.

Marty was curator of the Spoken Word area at what has become recognised as one of the best festivals in Europe and provided hundreds of festival goers with a poetry experience far beyond what they had in school. He described the event as “a huge success, that gets better and better each year.”

This involved organising two tents which ran events on Friday evening as well as all day Saturday and Sunday in the Laois village of Stradbally.

Surrounded by the best in Irish, UK, and international spoken word artists Marty himself performed a some of his own electric and eclectic poetry accompanied by Mullingar’s own Aftermath, his venue’s ‘house band’.

The Boutique Book Club from London performed a two hour set on Friday that was widely regarded as one of the highlights of the entire festival. The Poetry Chicks from Belfast were quirky, intelligent and hugely entertaining.

The Word also featured a talk by local journalist and broadcaster, Ronan Casey on Joe Dolan. Bringing Joe alive at the festival was important to Ronan, who wrote the bestselling biography of Mullingar’s most famous citizen.

He says Joe had always wanted to be at a festival like the Picnic and his multimedia presentation, which wowed a large audience who weren’t too familiar with the singer.

In the Globe, theatrical events of all kinds took place, including a surreal but hilarious performance of a play involving a woman having a relationship with a cactus. Not surprisingly she bitterly told her friend that he seemed distant and prickly at times – she couldn’t seem to get close to him.

Despite heaving competition from the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Mullingar’s Rail Theatre put on Stags and Hens on Saturday night to a packed house.

The darkly comic play, which tells the story of the hen and stag party of a young woman and man in Dublin the night before their wedding was cast with entirely young actors who gave sterling performances to a very appreciative audience.

Most of the action takes place in the toilets of a nightclub, with the groom passed out in a cubicle, while his fiancée considers whether she should go through with the wedding.

The production will be staged at Mullingar Arts Centre this weekend, on Saturday September 12 and Sunday Spetember 13.


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