Pyjama Girls

August 24, 2010

I went to see Pyjama Girls in the Irish Film Institute this evening.

It was massive.

Living in the city centre, I sometimes see pyjama-clad girls around the place. It’s a Dublin phenomenon and one that’s deserving of Maya Derrington’s documentary treatment in this film.

What was interesting from the film was how self aware the girls were. How they knew that their style was anti-style but they were confident enough to continue on regardless.



More courage than conviction

July 15, 2010

“Doubt requires more courage than conviction does, and more energy; because conviction is a resting place and doubt is infinite; it is a passionate exercise. You may come out of my play uncertain. You may want to be sure. Look down on that feeling. We’ve got to learn to live with a full measure of uncertainty. There is no last word. That’s the silence under the chatter of our time.”

So wrote John Patrick Shanley in his Preface to ‘Doubt, a Parable’, which was written in 2004.

I went along to Shift Theatre Company’s production of ‘Doubt, a Parable’ last night.

I wasn’t familiar with the play at all (it’s a film too with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, so it’s one to add to my list I guess) but I thoroughly enjoyed the performances and the production. Shanley won a Tony award in 2005 for the play, and it really is a stunning piece of writing, tight and evocative.

Starring Niamh Clancy, Glen Forbes, Sarah Allen Clarke, Donna Anita Nikolaisen, directed by Joyce Ward and produced by Bernie McNelis, this Shift production was a wonderful and though-provoking night’s theatre.

Set in 1964 in a Bronx Catholic school, the principal grapples with her doubts, doubts about the parish priest and about her own faith. Still very relevant in the Ireland of 2010, the ending led to an interesting discussion after the play, over a drink in the bar of the Teachers Club.

The performance on Monday night raised over €700 for the charity One in Four, which supports adult victims of child sexual abuse.

The play runs (8pm nightly) until Saturday 17th July, with a matinee (2pm) on Saturday 17th July.

The venue is Theatre@36, 36 Parnell Square West, (The Teachers Club), opposite The Rotunda Hospital, Dublin 1.

Tickets are available from for €15/€12 (booking fee applies).

“The men ruined it.”

June 13, 2010

I went to see Bookworms in the Abbey Theatre yesterday, with some friends from my book club. We’ve been meeting once a month, for the guts of three years now. Members have come and gone and come again in some cases.

The formula remains the same, however. We alternate between our respective houses and apartments. We discuss the book and drink some wine. We discuss things other than the book and nibble whatever treats the host has provided. The person who is hosting chooses the book for next month, often offering a choice of two are three, in case too many people have read the first choice.

We’ve read contemporary fiction, mostly, but there have been books on economics and some autobiographies and classics. No plays or poetry so far, and last month one of my rejected suggestions was a graphic novel.

Bernard Farrell’s new play looks at a group of characters before, during and after a book club meeting. Formerly a group consisting solely of women, the members of the book club have agreed to allow their husbands to join them. Chaos ensues. Early on in the play, Jennifer describes the book club as “the last bastion of female exclusivity” and by the time the guests have left Ann pronounces that “the men ruined it.”

As a modern comedy of manners, Bookworms is a refreshing glance at the pressures of life in post Celtic Tiger Ireland. Niall McMonagle, writing in the progamme for Bookworms, says that:

“the book, and everything it stands for  is empowering and important. A book brings us altogether elsewhere. Billy Collins, in his poem Books, reminds us that when we read, we are ‘reading ourselves away from ourselves’ and then we are delivered back, a changed and different being. A book also brings us together.”

It’s not the best play I’ve seen this year, nor the best production. But it’s the one that made me laugh the most.  Books can bring people together, and Farrell’s achievement in Bookworms is to remind us of that fact.