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Throwing A Bash

Throwing A Bash

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Amy Dunne and Ken McGuire during the promo shoot

We’re just under 2 weeks off of our fourth and final production of 2011, Neil LaBute’s bash: latterday plays. It’s all come about pretty quickly and we’ve been focused so much on the play that we haven’t really had a whole lot of time to blog about it. So this here is a quick update.

We had our first run through in Cleeres Theatre today and we’re really happy with how it worked out. Cleeres is the smallest black box style theatre venue in Kilkenny and this marks our third time using it, after our debut show Heart Shaped Vinyl in 2006 and the second run of Shakespeare In Bits in 2009. It’s a venue that works really well for intimate shows that rely a lot on the close relationship between audience and performer. And that’s exactly what makes it a perfect fit for bash.

John Morton in iphigenia in orem

Like a lot of Neil LaBute’s work, bash makes the audience complicit with the characters actions. These are confessions, stories that are being told in confidence. And there is nothing between audience and performer in bash. The stories succeed in lulling the audience into a false sense of security, where they feel like they’re comfortable with the performers and then, like the greatest of Greek tragedies, they’re brought to a point of no return, where the cruelest of actions are laid bare. The audience are put in the shoes of the characters, to examine themselves and what they, as ordinary people, may be capable of. That’s the real joy of Neil LaBute’s plays, of how mundane he makes the horrific seem.

Even when you’re dealing with the huge, heightened dramatics of Greek tragedies, it’s wonderful to see them whittled down to naturalistic, everyday stories. If this was us performing Greek tragedy as is, we’d probably be practicing our projection out in Ballykeefe Amphitheatre right now but because it’s LaBute, the intimate confines of Cleere’s Theatre suit our purposes perfectly for bash.

Annette O’Shea rehearsing medea redux

Each of the three plays (iphigenia in orem, a gaggle of saints, medea redux) are going to be using the space in different ways and each of them has their own specific lighting design and sound scapes. These will really show the marks of the three different directors. But the performance style, the themes, the words, the effect, they are something we’ve all worked on together in order to produce the best possible experience for an audience. Today we sat down with our cups of tea and bottles of water, turned the lights down in Cleeres Theatre and let the actors and words of Neil LaBute work their magic. It was great to get a glimpse of what it’s going to be like when it comes together. It’s safe to say that bash is definitely going be an intense experience. We’re going to work even harder at it over the next 10 days to make sure that it lives up to our own expectations. We want it to shock. We want it to horrify people. And for the first time since we’ve been producing shows, we want people to feel bad about laughing.

bash: latterday plays opens on Monday October 17th in Cleeres Theatre, Parliament Street, Kilkenny and runs until October 22nd at 8pm nightly. Tickets are €12 and can be bought at the venue or online here. Bookings are on 056 – 7762573.

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