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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: August 2, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

    The Poles are coming, and only Alan Rickman can save us

    Laurence Mackin

    We’re spoiled for choice in Dublin’s theatres at the moment. The Plough and the Stars is building up a critical head of steam in the Abbey, while I have heard more than one person describe Death of a Salesman at the Gate as the best theatre experience they’ve had.

    And now we have the Dublin Theatre Festival programme to chew over before the festival kicks off on September 30th. And there is plenty of meat on these bones.

    There is a strong Polish flavour to the festival this year, and it’s about time too. Polish theatre is one of the most vibrant artistic scenes you could hope to encounter and is endlessly inventive and contemporary. So it’s high time the rest of us sat up and noticed. Krystian Lupa will no doubt be looking to shock and awe the bejaysus out of us with Factory 2, based around Warhol’s legendary loft. Grzegorz Jarzyna was last seen in these parts with his production of Festen at the Abbey in 2004, and now he’s back with T.E.O.R.E.M.A.T., an intriguing production based on a Pier Paolo Pasolini film.  The one that I’ll be hoping to catch, though, is Jan Klata’s The Danton Case, an anarchic romp set during the days of the French Revolution. Klata is something of an outsider legend in Warsaw, even though he’s all of 37. All three directors will be giving public talks at various times, which should make for a riotous night or two.

    Jan Klata doing his best Bob De Niro Taxi Driver impression

    If the Abbey has whetted your O’Casey whistle, you’ll also be able to catch The Silver Tassie in a Druid production during the festival. No doubt the international acclaim that Enron and Circa have garnered will see them sell out quickly, but there is one play that could well steal the show out from under all these luvvie noses – John Gabriel Borkman.

    This Henrik Ibsen play rarely gets to see the light of day for reasons that are beyond me, and this new version has Frank McGuinness at the pen and James Macdonald calling the directing shots. Fiona Shaw and the excellent Cathy Belton are both on duty, but it’s the thought of Alan Rickman prowling and sneering his way around the stage as a disgraced former director of a bank that is piquing attention here.

    There have been some critics making the case that the Abbey’s current Plough production is an opportune state of the nation presentation (personally I think that’s reaching a little hard); Enron, while welcome, has been with us for a while; John Gabriel Borkman, though. could well be the last theatrical word on the state we’re in.

    • Tom H says:

      We certainly are spoiled for choice, it’s comforting to know that some of our country’s riches are less prone to evaporating into a cloud of debt . Frank McGuinness, Cathy Belton and Alan Rickman?… I shall be doing my best to catch John Gabriel Borkman, for this I am indebted to you.

    • Pawel Novak says:

      Wow, Im sure many of cultured Polish immigrants will be lining up to spend their minimum wage packets on these tickets. Wasnt Warhol of Slovak extraction by the way?

    • Catriona says:

      I didn’t know the programme for this year’s festival was out yet – exciting!

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