Reading Plays – Episode 5 – The Misanthrope

misanthrope

Reading Plays - Episode 4 - The Misanthrope by Radiomade on Mixcloud

Download: Reading Plays – Episode 5 – The Misanthrope

The Misanthrope (or the ‘The Cantankerous Lover’) by Moliere, is a comedy first performed at the Theatre du Palais-Royal in 1666. Despite its age the play deals with modern concerns, like the nature of friendship and the choice to embrace cynicism over solipsism. Although absent the careful plotting, dynamic staging or linguistic experimentalism of modern theatre, Moliere’s wit remains alive and entertaining. The influence of his barbed dialogue and high society brinkmanship can be seen in writers from as Oscar Wilde to Whit Stillman.

In life Moliere (born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) was a controversial figure. Arguably one of the first literary celebrities, he was accused of numerous villainies, including having illegitimately fathered his much younger wife.

He once wrote ‘Doubts are more cruel than the worst of truths’, and it is this ambiguity that lies at the heart of The Misanthrope. Moliere writes ‘one cannot look into the heart’. Thus we vacillate between paranoia and pronoia, never certain in this life of the nobility of our actions, or whether moral pragmatism is ultimately more valid than holding a steady course. Is it true, as the cynically flirtatious Celimene says, ‘It is easy… to blame or praise everything and everyone may be right, according to their age and taste’. Or is there a moral centre to life, we may avoid or obey, according to our character.

We read the Henri Van Laun public domain translation of the play from the university of Adelaide.

Next weeks play

Arcadia [PDF] by Tom Stoppard. We’re actively soliciting suggestions for what plays to read in the coming weeks and months. If there’s a play you’d like us to discuss – especially if it’s less well known, or if there’s a production of it coming to Dublin soon, let us know in the comments below.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

Concrete Soup – featuring Katsura Yamauchi

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Hey folks, ¡NO! the psychedelic rock outfit featured in Episode 4 of Mad Scientists of Music, are running another of their monthly improvised music events in Twisted Pepper. This time they’re playing with avant garde Japanese saxophonist Katsura Yamuchi. If you fancy something chilled out and unconventional head down on the afternoon of October 18th. It’s a mere five euro.

Here’s the blurb…

From the black deeps of the Twisted Pepper Basement, the 3rd Saturday afternoon of every month, Concrete Soup has been bringing together international, national and local avant-garde musicians of all colours and stripes for nigh on a year now. Hosted by new psychedelic improvisers ¡NO!, Concrete Soup features a monthly guest and fuels itself on wailing walls of guitars, space jazz bass, brain bending keys, stair collapse drums, nuclear winter clarinet, high wire sax and generally mutant noise. Oh, and it’s often washed down with heavily psychedelic visuals. If you have a penchant for a mash up of the styles of Can, Pere Ubu, Captain Beefheart, Sun Ra, 70s Miles or early Sonic Youth, this will fix you nicely. October’s Concrete Soup will feature internationally acclaimed Japanese minimalist saxophonist Katsura Yamauchi. As per the usual form, Katsura will play a solo set as well as a collaborative set with hosts ¡NO!

Concrete Soup New Psych Music Afternoons
The Twisted Pepper, 54 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1

18 October 2014 – featuring Katsura Yamauchi
4:30pm –7:30pm
Admission: 5 euro

Culture File – Community Arts in Dublin

Exhibition party for Franck Omer, a French artist I invited to show at Exchange Dublin in 2012.

Exhibition party for Franck Omer, a French artist I invited to show at Exchange Dublin in 2012.

Perhaps the most famous line in Portrait of the Artist goes like this: ‘Ireland is the old sow that eats her own farrow’. Some things never change. The ‘peace dividend’ of Brian Lenihan’s attack on the Irish economy, was a fall in rents. Dublin got something it had never had before, cheap unused buildings. This meant that artists, historically an embarrassment in the way of progress (see The City Arts Centre, the Temple Bar redevelopment, etc, ad nauseam), took an active unmediated part in the life of the city. Visitors to this years ‘Culture Night’ attractions, will have discovered that all that is done for. We have lost so much, so quickly. So much hope that the city could be a place for people, not merely a venue for business. A creative community, not just a pop-up cash register for green dollars. So many of my generation, and the cohort after me, have left. There was no room for us. This city killed the spaces we created, one after another.

Volunteering in Exchange Dublin, circa 2011

Volunteering in Exchange Dublin, circa 2011

Exchange Dublin, Mabos, Subground 43, Space 54, Dublin City TV, Supafast, Bluebottle Collective, the Factory, Moxie Studios, the Joinery. All going, going, gone. These were spaces where anyone could take part in making things. Art as expression and community, not just commodity. Each was systematically defunded, ejected, and shuttered. There are still arts spaces in Dublin, of course. Commercial galleries, artists studios, and the kind of businesses that don’t promise or threaten social change. I wanted to know why. Why have so many spaces that offered hope, connection, ingenuity and freedom gone? Is it a combination of rising rents, and unsustainable commercial rates? Or is this city and those who govern it, actively hostile to anything that doesn’t draw a buck.

The audience at one of the early Milk & Cookies events in Exchange Dublin.

The audience at one of the early Milk & Cookies events in Exchange Dublin.

I spoke with all the volunteers and founders I could find. Some of those interviews are compiled in the piece above for Culture File. Some I’m sitting on, waiting for the right outlet to tell this story. Because it’s my story too.

After I finished college in 2008, I found myself footloose and penniless. Ireland didn’t seem to offer anything in the way of meaningful, ethical work, and I couldn’t afford to emigrate. I discovered a place called Seomra Spraoi. A collectively organised space, for communities united by a rejection of capitalist realism: The dismal view that this is as good as it gets, and if you want more you’d better clamber over the guy in front. A few months later, I visited a new space, a friend from college was helping to create, Exchange Dublin. Volunteering at Exchange was to occupy three of the most creative, rewarding years of my life. Exchange was a collaborative community, like Seomra Spraoi run through consensus meetings anyone could join. It offered space, most often for free, to literally hundreds of groups, for exhibitions, meetings, performances and artistic expression of all sorts. But this space was in the heart of the city, with glass walls that invited visitors in. And in they poured, from all over the world, visitors of every age and ethnicity. They’d arrive, on a Saturday afternoon, stepping in for a tea, or to escape the rain, or to take part in a dance class they’d glimpsed through the window. Often they’d be back, volunteering the next day, and the day after. The openness of the space, it’s lack of walls, whether of glass, class, education, or appearance, made it utterly unique.

No Signal, experimental audiovisual collective. Exchange Dublin.

No Signal, experimental audiovisual collective. Exchange Dublin, 2009.

It was meeting so many marvellous strangers and artists, entering a world I’d never had access to, that gave me the courage to pursue comedy, performances, radio, theatre, video and performance art. Exchange Dublin gave birth to the education collective I co-founded, Open Learning Ireland.
All the marvellous adventures I’d admired, but never imagined myself doing. All of the things that make life more than series of days occupied by work and distraction. Exchange kickstarted the careers of dozens of comedians, visual artists, dancers, and activists. This January, the space was forced to close, accused by DCC of nebulous ‘anti-social behaviour’. Seomra still ticks on, just about covering it’s rent and rates from month to month. Day by day, week by week, more and more of my friends leave. Not because we loathe Ireland, or lack the courage to stay through a recession. But because every flower we plant is plucked out, and the soil that’s left behind is salted barren.

Reading Plays – Episode 4 – Death of a Salesman

death

Reading Plays - Episode 3 - Death of a Salesman by Radiomade on Mixcloud

Download: Reading Plays – Episode 4 – Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman is perhaps Arthur Millers best known play. A seminal work of twentieth century American theatre, it touches on themes as diverse as the death of masculinity, family dysfunction, the role of women, and the changing nature of work in a rapidly advancing, materialist society.

The play was written shortly after the Second World War, in a time of triumphalism and economic assent in the United States. Yet it is a tragedy, that concerns the impossibility of intergenerational communication, of escape from a life of failure and of the American dream itself.

Reading Plays‘ is a discussion show, featuring Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal. Each week we do a close reading of a modern play, discussing it’s merits, themes, issues raised, and so on. You can play along by reading or watching a production of the play before you listen to the show.

Next weeks play – The Misanthrope by Moliere. We’re actively soliciting suggestions for what plays to read in the coming weeks and months. If there’s a play you’d like us to discuss – especially if it’s less well known, or if there’s a production of it coming to Dublin soon, let us know in the comments below.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

Reading Plays – Episode 3 – The Baltimore Waltz

baltimore waltz

Reading Plays - Episode 3 - Baltimore Waltz by Radiomade on Mixcloud

Download: Reading Plays – Episode 3 – Baltimore Waltz

Reading Plays‘ is a discussion show, featuring Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal. Each week we do a close reading of a modern play, discussing it’s merits, themes, issues raised, and so on. You can play along by reading or watching a production of the play before you listen to the show.

This weeks play – The Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel. The play was recently produced by Acting Out at the Harbour Playhouse in Dublin, and we’re joined by the cast Michael J. Kunze, Niamh Denyer and Brian Graham Higgins.

The Baltimore Waltz was first produced off-Broadway at the Circle Repertory Company in 1992, and first published by dramatists play service that same year. It was awarded Obie awards for Best New American play, Best Performance, and Best Direction.

The play is an allegory about the aids crisis, and the death of the playwright’s brother. Despite the heavyweight subject matter Baltimore Waltz is a highly stylised, cinematically referential comedy with an unconventional structure. Three actors, Anna, her Brother Carl and a chorus ‘The Third’ (playing a variety of roles), travel across an imaginary Europe, tracing the trip the playwright regretted never taking herself. The play tackles the tragedy and impossible uncertainties of the very early days of the aids crisis with a lightness of touch, and a playful approach to symbolism that creates a space for poignancy to naturally emerge.

Anna is ill with Acquired Toilet Disease, a sly wink to Gay Related Immune Deficiency (GRID), the original diagnosis for HIV / AIDS. She leaves her job as a grade school teacher, as does her brother, fired from his position as ‘the head librarian of literature and languages at the San Francisco Public’. Together they cross Europe, in search of a cure, pursued by a mysterious ‘Third Man’ trafficking something in stuffed rabbits, and finally meeting ‘the doctor’, an eighty year old urologist Strangelove type figure, who ‘uriposia’ therapy is based around the enthusiastic collection and imbibing of urine .

Next weeks play – Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

Mad Scientists of Music Live – Playlist

The event is called ‘Mad Scientists of Music’, and it’s on Tuesday
16th September in Twisted Pepper. We’ll have chiptune, circuitbending
and experimental electro-acoustic noise stuff, from a variety of crazy
Irish experimental artists.

Acts featured on the night include Deathness Injection, KaraKara,
Luxury Mollusc, Siam Collective, MarQu Vr & The Trumpets of Time &
Glotchbot. We’ve cooked up a wee playlist to give you a taster!

And here’s a wee interview about the gig, from Near FM’s Art’s Show last week (interview starts 6 minutes in).

The Arts Show Sept 9th 2014 by The Arts Show On Near Fm on Mixcloud