'Lusty' Macnas parade not to be mythed


PAN AND paleolithic-like creatures promise lewd and lusty behaviour in Galway tomorrow night for the annual arts festival’s Macnas parade.

The theme for this year’s event is a parody of our times – a trip to the western capital’s “underworld” by Argonaut poet and musician Orpheus to rescue his wife, Eurydice.

Wooed by huntsman and beekeeper Aristaeus, Eurydice is bitten on the ankle by a snake camouflaged in the grass, and the gods suggest that Orpheus ask Hades to return her.

The lyre-player’s long and arduous journey, his adventures with three-headed hound Cerberus, Charon the boatman and the King of Hades have inspired opera and theatre over decades. Macnas hopes to make most of low-budget recycled materials for its cost-efficient and “elemental” interpretation, directed by Noeline Kavanagh.

The central character will be unmistakeable as a 17ft-high creation, while the many creatures accompanying him will stretch Greek mythology somewhat to include a hare, horse and giant Irish elk.

Route to and through Hades will begin at the Spanish Arch at 10pm tomorrow, moving to Flood Street, Merchant’s Road, Lower Abbeygate Street, William Street, Eglinton Street, Francis Street and over the Salmon Weir bridge into the Macnas home at Fisheries Field.

The fortnight-long arts festival continues this weekend and throughout next week. One of the highlights of the weekend’s programme, already booked solid, is tonight’s opening of Druid Theatre’s refurbished premises on Druid Lane, followed by Garry Hynes’s interpretation of The Gigli Concert by Tom Murphy.

The visual arts dimension continues at a number of venues, and non-programme independent events include a talk on art and meditation by Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and abstract painter Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche on July 24th in the Radisson Hotel, and an exhibition on the theme of art therapy by Robert Cantwell at Conradh na Gaeilge, Aras na nGael, Dominick Street, until July 24th. The Galway Arts Festival has initiated an online television channel known as GAF TV. The in-house channel is described as “organised chaos meets network news” by its producer Justin McCarthy. The broadcast can be viewed at gaftv.claddagh.ie