Pursued by a Bear »

  • Drama seedlings

    July 30, 2009 @ 10:55 am | by Fiona McCann

    Ladies, gentlemen and all other breeds of budding dramatist, now’s your chance. Rough Magic is looking for applicants for its fifth SEEDS programme. On the go since 2002, SEEDS offers your up-and-coming theatre-ites the chance to work with an experienced artist and get hands-on experience in the world of professional theatre. Past mentors have included playwright Tom Murphy, designer Rae Smith and Dublin Theatre Festival director Loughlin Deegan, while SEEDS that have since grown into their own include the likes of Rough Magic’s  Associate Director, Tom Creed, and Associate Producer, Cian O’Brien. More information on how to apply to be found here.

  • Two things

    July 28, 2009 @ 7:34 pm | by Fiona McCann

    One is that this thrilling programme has just been announced by the Dublin Theatre Festival, and there’s plenty to get excited about. Kudos to Loughlin Deegan for always pulling off something to get revved up about – can’t wait for the Chekhov, and suspect that the Blue Dragon might be one of the unmissables this year. More on all things thespian anon, but meanwhile, am also fittingly excited about this list, the Man Booker Dozen, as I sit here with Ed O’Loughlin’s book by my bedside under a tower of to-be-reads. So far, I can check Brooklyn, but the rest remain to be perused quick smart before the shortlist arrives. Bets on who’ll make it to the final five? The books (and comments) are open . . .

  • Mrs Mercurial

    July 24, 2009 @ 11:50 am | by Fiona McCann

    Hurray to Lisa Hannigan and her cohort of trusty musicians for their Mercury nomination. No better woman to kickstart the weekend. Here she is, directed by Donal Dineen and Ian Cudmore. . .

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  • Mistaken identity

    July 23, 2009 @ 10:41 am | by Fiona McCann

    After a recent interview with Booker prize winner Aravind Adiga, I discovered he’d thought I was Eileen Battersby all along. Read the interview in today’s paper, or online here.

  • Fall

    July 22, 2009 @ 2:45 pm | by Fiona McCann

    This short film by Patrick Jolley, with its hauntingly beautiful soundtrack by Brian Crosby (formerly of Bell X1 and the man behind The Cake Sale) may feel like a meditation on falling house prices, but has a hypnotic quality that transcends any trite interpretations.  It was screened at the Cork Film Festival last year, and has since been shown at various European festivals, but I can’t find a full-length version on t’internet to insert here. Instead, I offer you a link to Brian Crosby’s site, which streams a few minutes, to Jolley’s own site, which streams a few other minutes, and a still below, to give you an idea. Go watch what you can and report back immediately.

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  • Ashes to ashes

    July 20, 2009 @ 11:03 am | by Fiona McCann

    Frank McCourt has died. And whatever you think of his literary output, the fact that he published his first book, the one that went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, when he was 66, has given hope to all of those with novels in their pockets worried that if they haven’t hit the literary big time by 30, they’re toast. For balancing out precocious talents like Jonathan Safran Foer’s, and reminding people that a a literary start can come at any age, I salute McCourt, who’s given me another thirty years to get cracking. In the meantime,  this, from Angela’s Ashes, as the young Frank McCourt receives his First Communion.

    “It stuck. I had God glued to the roof of my mouth. I could hear the master’s voice, Don’t let that host touch your teeth for if you bite God in two you’ll roast in hell for eternity. I tried to get God down with my tongue but the priest hissed at me, Stop that clucking and get back to your seat. God was good. He melted and I swallowed Him and now, at last, I was a member of the True Church, an official sinner.”

  • Romantic Comedies

    July 17, 2009 @ 11:27 am | by Fiona McCann

    Been thinking about romantic comedies. You know, the Sleepless in Seattles and Roman Holidays, and the one I saw most recently, The Proposal (being dubbed by some in the media as The Formula, for reasons that will become clear should you ever see this predictable Anne Fletcher flick, which is rescued somewhat by a few genuinely funny moments, and the presence and timing of its watchable leads). Sure, the notion of a romantic comedy is as old as Shakespeare and older again, but so many of the more recent iterations are – let’s not mince words, here – predictable pap. Yet given that rom coms do follow a formula, what makes one work over another? Because occasionally – admit it, you cynics – a romantic comedy appears that manages to be both romantic and funny. It may be a rare breed, but I would solemnly submit that such was the case with When Harry Met Sally and Sideways. So what’s the secret? The gags or the chemistry between the protagonists? And what – speak up now, you closet romantics – are the best of a much maligned genre?

  • New and lovely books

    July 15, 2009 @ 12:45 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Hurray for beautiful books, and new publishers defying trying times. Look at the lovely things Full Circle are doing, and be cheered. It’s a collaboration between the wonderful George Szirtes and artist Ronald King called The Burning of the Books, and it makes me happy just to know it exists. To judge this book by its cover, it’s a beautiful thing.

  • Kinsale Arts Week

    July 14, 2009 @ 1:29 pm | by Fiona McCann

    You’d be hard put to keep up with summer festivals this year, which is my excuse for not notifying y’all of the kick off of Kinsale Arts Week last Saturday. Suffice to say there’s plenty left to catch, (though you’ve already missed Paul Brady and Imelda May, and if you haven’t, let us know what you thought in the handy comments field below). Highlights over the week ahead include David O’Doherty tonight, John Banville’s reading at the Carmelite Friary Centre tomorrow,  Slovenia’s Terrafolk, joined by Cork fiddler Una Palliser on Saturday, the KAW Arts Trail all week and ahem, the Entering the Blogosphere panel discussion chaired by yours truly (that’s me) and with Lisa McInerney (otherwise known as Sweary), Claire Mulvany and Aoife Cox on the panel to discuss all things blogificent. For more information and a full programme of events, here you go.

  • Making things up

    July 13, 2009 @ 1:46 pm | by Fiona McCann

    In a (relatively) recent interview with Melvyn Bragg, the host of the South Bank Show talked of the complicated process of fictionalising real life experiences. In Bragg’s case, the real life experience was the death of his first wife. The characters were easily identifiable, despite name changes, and the true-to-lifeness gave the fictionalisation a whole different hue. During the course of the interview, Bragg admitted he sometimes regretted having ever attempted to represent these real incidents in fictional form, as much for what it put others through as for how difficult he himself found it.  Yet aren’t creative writing classes forever reminding us that we should write about what we know? And what do we know better than our own experiences? So here’s the question: where’s the line between fact and fiction, and is it fair game to cross it at will?

  • The last days of The Last Days

    July 8, 2009 @ 2:37 pm | by Fiona McCann

    The spangly new Abbey website has alerted me to the fact that I have only three days left to catch Tom Murphy’s The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant. Bearing in mind that I am attending a five and a half hour production of Heart of Darkness tomorrow evening at The Joinery, should I also give up the subsequent evening to the Abbey production, or is that just asking for trouble?  I wouldn’t want to be hearing all year about how I missed out (which is what happened with The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Bring it back, I say!). Well? Fintan says Yay, but isn’t that a sort of a Nay from Peter? Anyone else like to chip in?

  • White Winter Hymnal

    July 7, 2009 @ 10:43 am | by Fiona McCann

    The fabulous Fleet Foxes play Dublin’s Vicar Street on September 7. Tickets will be €24 and go on sale this Thursday at 9 a.m. through Ticketmaster. Here’s some loveliness to whet your appetite:

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  • Public Enemies

    July 6, 2009 @ 12:18 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Sure, it’s damn pretty and Johnny Depp is always watchable, but was there really anything new in this? Formulaic deification of the cocky gangsta with the heart o’ gold, who always looks perturbed when the rest of his gang start shooting people (despite having armed them with guns) and makes all the law enforcers look just plain dumb by walking right into their offices and saluting them with a cheeky grin. Those very law enforcers who just happen to look away, or bend to light a cigarette or fall asleep just at the EXACT moment the bad guy chooses to run by. (I get it! It’s stylized! That’s just not enough of an excuse, I’m afraid.) Then (spoiler coming, look away) there’s that poignant moment when his best friend tells him he feels his time is up  and guess what? OMG, no WAY! It was like he was TOTALLY prescient! I know lots of people thought this movie was the dog’s, er, testicular area, and it ain’t bad watching, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is the best thing ever. Depp is deadly. Bale is bland. Cotillard is lovely and the love scenes are smokin’. But honestly – it’s a good film that is seductively atmospheric but not the great movie you’re probably expecting. Course, why trust me – this is what Donald Clarke had to say.


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