|DLI NEWSLETTER 3 DECEMBER 2020|
|As we move into December, many of our members will be wishing that they were preparing to attend, or be lucky enough to anticipate in, one of the best weekends in the amateur drama calendar - the One Act Finals, which should have been held in Glór in Ennis this year. (Ennis Players are already looking forward to welcoming us to the same venue in 2021). The One Act circuit is the final casualty in this unprecedented year of cancellations in the drama world. |
However, as this ezine, and all the others which we have sent your way in 2020 demonstrates, groups around the country have been resourceful and determined in their efforts to remain active within whatever restrictions have been placed upon us since March. Zoom meetings, play readings, playwriting (more on that below) online and (a precious few) actual workshops in the DLI Summer School Outreach Programme, Millrace DG's Treat on the Street in Mullagh, Co Cavan, Coolgreany Drama's garden theatre Hooked, Down at Heel Productions' Fractured... the list goes on.... Of course, we are all fervently hoping that live performance might return sometime in the coming year, but, in the meantime, performance, perhaps as we have not previously known it, continues to thrive... read Rathfarnham Theatre Group's story in this newsletter as a good example!
The world of amateur drama has lost a wonderful lady this week. Molly O’Callaghan was the heart and the driving force of the Palmerstown One Act Drama Festival, making all the groups that performed in the festival feel so welcome and making sure they were well looked after. Everyone knew Molly. She brightened up the days of everyone she met and will be sadly missed.
Sincere condolences to her husband Mark and her family, her many friends, the Palmerstown One Act Drama Festival and all in the drama community who mourn her loss.
The National Theatre in London has just launched a dedicated streaming service of NT archived productions - National Theatre at Home. Check out www.nationaltheatre.org.uk for the featured plays, and prices.
If you are looking for some festive online entertainment, here are just a few of the 'panto sites' around Ireland:
|DLI /ADCI PLAYWRITING COMPETITION 2020|
As we await news of the winners (which we will bring you later in December), Chairman of the judges, Walker Ewart, writes:
The reading of plays has been completed and the deliberations are at an end. The panel is now drawing together the final results and thoughts for the DLI/ADCI committee.
There will be an overall winner, a second and third play and several ‘Highly commended’ plays. At least one-third of the plays entered are ‘performance ready’ – good news for boosting the circuit when it resumes.
It was an incredible group of 52 writers and 58 plays. Plays which made us laugh; made us cry; made us love certain characters totally; took us to places we will never forget; presented current themes and universal problems in a way which made us think. There were some writers who challenged us, as their plays will challenge other audiences, by their highly inventive writing.
The themes are manifold: life with Covid-19; finding happiness; living within or with the memories of an abusive relationship; working your way through difficult relationships; dealing with dementia; moving on after a trauma; revelations which may change the course of life; ghosts and death; and just simply the joy of loving whether that be romantically, as a community or as a family.
The writers have ranged from seasoned writers through those who belong to writing groups (how good is that?), those who write regularly and entertain their community, to those (often but not exclusively actors and directors) who took up the challenge for the first time or simply those who having written for themselves now found the courage to share their writing.
In this time when things came to an almost standstill and froze the world of arts to a certain extent, the future for drama and the one-act circuit is bright with such richness of writing.
|RTG in 2020 by Helen Cullen|
|Rathfarnham Theatre Group (RTG) has not allowed the current pandemic to curb its enthusiasm!|
We have taken lockdowns and restrictions in our stride and simply moved online. This new virtual drama world has presented us with many challenges. We grappled with the basics of downloading the Zoom App, joining a Zoom meeting, turning on and off our videos, and muting our sound. Once we were comfortable with this and had overcome our initial ‘screen fright’ we started reading monologues and two-handers, which were ideal for Zoom. As we got more confident, we started experimenting with virtual backgrounds and discovered they were a lot easier and cheaper to put up than our usual sets!
We had ‘Wildcard Nights’ when anyone who wanted to perform could do a piece of their choosing - a poem, a monologue, a song, a reading. Some performers really got into character and got very creative using whatever they had to hand at home to assemble some very imaginative costumes. A white hairband and black blouse was transformed into a nun’s veil; a black pillowcase became a headpiece for one of the witches in Macbeth; a scarf was ingeniously twisted into a hat for Richard III; and we even had a barrister’s wig crocheted complete with curlers wrapped in wool for the sides! The beauty of Zoom is of course that you only need half a costume - so the three witches in Macbeth could happily wear their leggings and runners in the knowledge that they wouldn’t be seen by the virtual audience!
Our next venture was a Writers’ Workshop facilitated by Gavin Kostick, from Fishamble Theatre Company. Gavin outlined the basics of how to go about writing a script and participants were asked to write a short play of no more than 600 words and submit it to be critiqued at the second workshop. This proved hugely successful, with twelve of our members putting pen to paper and submitting a play. These tiny plays provided us with fantastic material to work with. We read a few of the plays each week, giving other members an opportunity to act them out, and we had a discussion about the play afterwards. We are now embarking on another venture to give members a chance to develop their directing skills. Carmel Cullen, who has been directing plays for RTG for many years, will be facilitating a Directing Workshop for the group this month. We are hoping that this will give some of our budding directors the courage to try their hand at directing some of our tiny plays with a view to rehearsing and performing them in the new year. Watch this space ....
On 11 November we did a rehearsed reading of The West Clare Railway -v- William Percy French. The reading was performed by kind permission of Tish Dunleavy, founder of Leitrim Percy French Society, who wrote the play to commemorate the centenary of the death of Percy French. The performance was directed by our very own Phil Fitzpatrick and we were delighted that Tish was able to join us on Zoom for the rehearsed reading. We thoroughly enjoyed performing this very entertaining piece and hope that we brought Tish’s writing to life with our interpretation of her very lively court setting!
We have now started rehearsals for The Excise Man, a three act comedy by one of our stalwart members, Cass Guinan. We are having great fun rehearsing Cass’s play and are looking forward to our virtual performance this month.
Apart from readings and workshops we are also planning two productions for 2021. Maria Burke King is directing Eden by Eugene O’Brien and Anne O’Connell is directing The Approach by Mark O’Rowe. These are two wonderful plays by two very talented Irish playwrights. We are hoping that these productions can be performed for an invited audience, virtually or otherwise, in Spring 2021, depending on public health advice.
While the virtual world of Zoom has kept us going through these strange times, there is really nothing to replace live performance. Like all drama groups across the country, we can’t wait to get back on stage to perform for live audiences. But, in the meantime, we’re using our time to learn new skills, keep drama alive, and most importantly, to connect with all our members.
Rathfarnham Theatre Group
|ADCI LOCKDOWN CONVERSATIONS|
Join Paddy Farrelly @8pm tonight on ADCI Facebook page for the latest in his Conversation series, when ADA Adjudicator Paula Dempsey will be chatting to Paddy.
|MOVID-20 from Moat Club, Naas|
See Moat Club Facebook page for more....
A short film written by Acting Out member Sean Denyer.
Michael is locked down in Dublin because of Covid19. His 85 year old Mam is in a nursing home in Hartlepool in England. He’s just brought her an iPad and they have started having regular video calls. But now he needs to tell her something. Before it’s too late.
Find out more about the film and Acting Out www.actingoutgroup.com