The Art of Television

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Download: The Art of Television

The A.R.T of Television is a historical comedy about censorship, set in the early years of Irish TV broadcasting. A time when government and church fought young broadcasters struggling to innovate on the nation’s fledgling television channel. American writer Claude Chabert lands a job on the early Irish soap opera ’Home Farm’. Claude finds himself trapped between the political pressures and rigid censorship of late 1960’s Ireland. Attempting to kill the show, he resorts to improbable storylines rooted in Irish mythology, creating an unexpected hit. Now Claude must balance the demands of crafty civil servants, a meddling church and an unruly cast.

Claude Chabert is a Madison Avenue hack, knocking out scripts for TV advertisements and drinking on the job. Fleeing the manipulative, artistically bereft world of advertising, Claude comes to Ireland to write the great American novel.

Alas, jobs are not ten a penny in 1960’s Ireland, and Claude is forced to take a position as show runner on flagship An Radió Teilifís (A.R.T) Irish soap opera Home Farm. The programme’s previous producer – the gamine firebrand Maureen Masterson, has recently been demoted due to her insistence on broadcasting socially relevant plots that anger the establishment.

Confronted by the withering censorship requirements of Irish television, not to mention the pressure to appease advertisers, Claude is even more frustrated than he was in the US. He decides to kill the show, by making its plots ever more ludicrous. Claude deliberately introduces events and characters from Irish mythology into his scripts – in a deliberate effort to plummet the ratings. The resulting show is an unexpected critical and commercial success. The more over the top he makes the story, the more successful Home Farm becomes. Critics view the new approach as a clever postmodern commentary, while audiences can’t wait to see what happens next.

Credits:

Special thanks to Lynn Simpson & Derek Byrne at Phoenix FM.

Written and Directed by Gareth Stack

Additional Material by Seamus Stackpoole.

Roger Gregg as Claude Chabert

Pamela Flanagan = Maureen Masterson / Lug

Sebastian Connellan as Carvel Kiddler

Thommas Kane Byrne as Fr Terry O’Mahony, Fiacra, Irate Reader

Seamus Stackpoole as Brendan O’Riordan / Miley O’Cumman

Gareth Stack = Felix (in Sales), A.R.T News Anchor

Tara Cush as Shiela O’Riordan / Maraoid O’Common, Selkie Niall Bruton = Alan O’Riordan / Ciaran O’Dowd

Aislinn Byrne = Saoirse Chabert, Bridget Minerva, Irate Reader

Roisin Rankin as Laura O’Mahony, Banshee, BBC Presenter

Music by Roger Gregg

Sound recording and sound design by Brendan Rehill.

BAI CREDIT

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