I introduced the idea of Wobbly Wednesday to the group. Many of us were tired to the bone, mind weary, brain banjaxed. But we kept writing. So Carina introduced a game characterising the days of the week. After Wobbly Wednesday comes Terrific Transforming Thursday and Fantastic Friday. It’s amazing that when you give a thing a positive tag that you manifest the energy. Thursday was transforming as we all picked away at our personal writing bug bears. One of the things that helped clear the cobwebs for me was to take a walk out and look around Piccadilly Gardens.
Listening to the complicated but harmonising rhythms from a group of African drummers shook something loose in my brain. I am a djembe drummer myself so enjoyed a chat with a guy from Guinea who was doing some interesting counter rhythms on a hollow wood instrument. He did tell me the name but I didn’t write it down. (Note to self: you are now of an age that writing down new things is essential to hardwiring them into memory store.)
Another note to self: It’s good to keep at it but it is also essential to get out and look around and get a fresh perspective. If you can’t get into your writing groove, get off your arse and see if a new sight, sound, smell or sensation shake up the brown bag of creativity, transforming stagnation to metastasis.
We had a second excursion to the Lowry Studio Theatre last night to see a touring Irish production. I don’t bandy about the word awesome. It implies profound and a lot of people think some less than profound things are awesome. But believe me, “Silent”, written and performed by Pat Kinevane is awe inspiring as well as a profound examination of bigotry, alcoholism, mental illness and homelessness. It’s a ninety minute tour de force by Pat Kinevane who channels several characters, including Rudolph Valentino.
This might sound terribly worthy and off-putting. But the show is also a belly laugh in a very Irish way. Coming away from the theatre Kate mused about what exclusively English audiences would make of it.
What I made of it was a burst of pride at how marvellous and moving theatre is created in such a tiny country as Ireland. Fishamble is a Dublin-based theatre company nurturing new writing for theatre in Ireland. They can justifiably be proud of Kinevane’s achievement. That he garnered Fringe First award from its Edinburgh Festival show makes me glad that audiences outside of Ireland can understand the universality in its particular Irish context.
An actor friend once told me that actors were the first shamans. Transforming is part of a shaman’s job description. Kinevane, in creating this theatre experience moves, reflects, provokes, nudges, winks, howls and utterly transforms how you may perceive homosexuality, suicide, homelessness, mental illness and alcoholism. Not too many taboos left out from that list. I’ll be watching out for his other plays.
What was also a real eye-opener was to see how the Lowry Studio Theatre is so flexible in staging. On our first excursion it seemed a really well equipped but recognisable studio theatre. At the opening of “Silent” a blind slowly rose like a curtain along the side wall of the theatre revealing the canal basin as part of the stage set. Genius!
Bee Smith is travelling in March 2014 with the Leonardo da Vinci Life Long Learning Programme “Developing Creative Practice Across Borders” to Yorkshire and Lancashire organised by the Cavan Arts and the Social Inclusion Unit offices.