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For 16 days later this month and next the whole city becomes a stage of sorts when it hosts this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival (26 September to 13 October). Plays, monologues, puppetry and dance from actors and companies right here in Dublin, from further afield in Ireland and even overseas, will be heard and seen throughout the city over the period of the Festival. This year’s themes for the event are passion, politics and betrayal – hardly a light offering then!
Intense and Dark Drama And indeed comedy doesn’t feature a lot during the Festival but human emotions and their intensity does. Take The Rape of Lucrece at the OReilly Theatre in Belvedere for instance. This political and rather provocative Shakespeare poem is sung and told by award-winning actress and singer Camille O’Sullivan and manages to portray the monstrousness of human nature. Another intense offering is Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms at The Corn Exchange.
Set in 1850s New England a father and son from Ireland move to America and try desperately to gel together both experiences so that their current life makes sense. The introduction of a female character upsets the balance and tragedy ensures as a result. Light-hearted – To a Point A modern play this time, Tom and Vera at the Samuel Beckett Theatre is so contemporary in fact that it’s based on the financial crash and the effect it has on a couple who always played by the rules. That is, until the game turned against them and they began to lose - everything.
What they then do in order to right some perceived wrongs is probably what many have fleetingly thought about but would never consider in a million years. Maeve’s House on the Peacock Stage is a one-man show starring popular Irish actor Eamon Morrisey. It’s a true story of when he met up with Irish short story writer Maeve Brennan having learned that they both grew up in the same house - 48 Cherryfield Avenue, Ranelagh, Dublin - but at different times.
The writer had lived in New York for years and Morrisey only learnt it was his childhood home while reading the words of a script and recognising the depictions. Movement Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre is the venue for Circa’s Wunderkammer which promises a heady mix of sex, burlesque and circus-type performance. Described as a ‘cabaret of the senses’ this is a bending and bowing of the physical body that is breath-taking as well as entertaining, say critics.
One for the kids (those aged between six and 10) is Beastie by production company Lone Twin. It begins at The Arc but youngsters end up physically following around a strange creature and learning what makes him – and others - tick.
There’s lots of audience participation in this show and creativity is positively encouraged. There, the above are our favourite picks for the Theatre Festival. If you’ve had a chance to look through the programme and are looking for somewhere to stay in Dublin why not take a look at our bookings here at the Sandymount Hotel to see what we have available. Image via Dublin Theatre Festival