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The Dock Arts Centre,
St. George's Terrace,
Carrick-on-Shannon,
Co. Leitrim

The Breffs are back … and those Women on the Verge…

[ August 22, 2012 ]

Whoever made it into the dressing room here at The Dock will know that we have our very own wall of fame..., all those booked out/ sold out shows that we had in the past found a special place here, countless autographs, fond memories, past successes...

and that brings me straight to our beloved Breffs, sold out in June and July they are back for two additional shows, 30th and 31st of August, book your tickets now, I just did mine, its filling up rather quickly indeed!

Your Dock Blogger

Anti-climax, Scorpions, and what is next at The Dock

[ August 13, 2012 ]

Whoa, bit of an anti-climax on a wet Monday morning after five nights Beezneez in a row. Five nights of uninterrupted laughter and joyful banter, five nights of watching the audiences standing up for the actors on stage at the end of each show, and John Mc Dwyer lingering happy and proud in the foyer of The Dock. I eavesdropped one little snippet of conversation in above mentioned foyer, Emer from the Breffs loving the play, congratulating the crew, praising your man Padraic Neary (who played Ned and reminded me very much of my lovely father-in law) for his hilarious performance. And what does he say? ‘Isn’t it great to entertain, isn’t it just lovely to make the people laugh?’ Aaahwww, that warms my Dock-Blogger-heart for sure, no wonder they all have that sparkle in their eyes!  And one little part of me is yearning to try the good ole acting again, haven’t tread the boards since like a long time, but when I did I loved it for sure, and running on adrenaline the odd night can’t be a bad thing either. Not that John Mc Dwyer is askin or looking for me, but I must mention to him that if they ever need someone with a funny accent, well you know, I could be the great grand auntie visiting from the mainland or something like that. So yeah, that anti-climax after Johnnie’s Britches, where do we go from here? The What’s On Guide doesn’t reveal much for the rest of the month, but a handful of unexpected shows crept in on us, and I am delighted they did!

First of all, a new exhibition ‘Present’ is going up in The Jury Room Café, presented by the Twins Tradition Initiative once again, it’s looking good already as I am sitting here typing this, call by to the official opening on Friday at 5.30pm as usual, you know the spiel by now...

Next one up is the Children’s Literature Festival on the 18th and 19th of August, it's all over Carrick and The Dock will be buzzing those two days, pick up your brochure for this at The Dock, there is lots of things to do for all ages!

Thirdly, the Leitrim Youth Theatre Company is presenting their new play Chat Room on the 24th and 25th of August, it is a P15 play, discussing the subject matter of teenage suicide, and I for one am glad that this theme is being touched on by these young actors. This is definitely a play where I’ll be bringing that teenage daughter of mine, even though she is not 15 just yet, but secondary school is a whole different ball game and looking at the difficult or painful facts of life in the manner of watching a play together might be a great way of opening doors into future conversations.

And then, The Breffni Players, one more time, well two more nights really, Women on the verge of HRT on the 30th and 31st of August, back due to popular demand so to speak, and I cannot wait for my chance to get in this time as all the shows in July had been booked and sold out before I could turn around and say ‘yes please’.

After that we are back to school and a new What’s On Guide, I sneak previewed a couple of gigs already and can tell you we are in for more treats, plus Culture Night on the 21st of September is one of my favourite nights around Carrick, I better go and book that baby sitter well in advance just in case!

Folks, that’s me for now, I am mourning the what's-looking-like-the-end of that glorious sunny spell we had, I better go and cover that saddle on my bike, and keep thinking of Johnnie’s Britches to get those giggles back while I drive through the rain. Or as my daughter says, ‘Mum is laughing inside’. Thank you John Mc Dwyer and lovely lovely Beezneez crew for that ray of sunshine, the whole Irish thing that cracks me up each time, and the laughs you gave us, brilliant job once again!

... one more, trying to squeeze John Mc Dwyer about his new play Scorpion and the rehearsed reading for Culture Night at 6pm he smiled at me and didn't give away a thing! So I go 'So John, what's that Scorpion thing about?' He goes 'Well, you know, it's like Brendan Behan said, really, it's about an hour and a half!' You should have seen the big grin on his face, priceless indeed!

greatly amused, Your Dock Blogger

Homage to the Organizers of The 8th Water Music Festival

[ July 9, 2012 ]

The Water Music Festival is over, a week of mad coordinating and setting up, a week of amazing artists, heart-warming and funny gigs, mesmerizing music...  Carrick came to its full glory once again and music was everywhere, in the air and in our steps on the way home each night.  Organizers Jimmy Mc, Nuala and Ciaran Morgan and Maurice Gannon will be able to sleep and eat again like ‘normal’ folk, and all those countless names and faces lending a helping hand can give themselves a big pat on the back and shoulders too, you have done exceptionally well! The technicians more than likely did not go to bed last night, dissembling all the equipment after the last show, and before the company took the marquee down at 7 in the morning today while people like you and me had still another half an hour of peaceful snoozing… The People Park looks like as if nothing happened by now, it is hard to believe that magnificent tent and all its contents have been standing proud and unshakeable less than 20 hours ago!

Thanks to everybody making it possible to have an amazing week once again in town, down to the lady looking after the porter loo unit beside the marquee while we were able to sit back and enjoy, without you it would not have been possible like this!

Maurice Gannon says it will be just August already when the gang goes about organizing next years’ festival, you won’t see that time passing, so better get some food and sleep into youse before you are back to work again guys!

Thanks for a fantastic week and the 8th Carrick on Shannon Water Music Festival, you did us proud!

Happy out, Your Dock Blogger

The Breffs are at it again!

[ July 2, 2012 ]

And yes, the Breffs did it again! Sold out shows, two extra rows put in for the nights, a waiting list to be proud of! This Wednesday and Thursday night, Women on the verge of HRT, and we are in for another belly-full of laughter, some... ermm... music, the usual Breffni craic!

For some odd reason I had sent Sinead, the director of the play, some pretty heavy leaving-cert-like questions, I had never met her and I don’t know if the title of the play led me astray in thinking there must be some serious kind of woman behind that name! So, sorry Sinead, and if you ever get around to answer those questions I’d be even more than curious about your answers for sure! Anyway, I bumped into her at the launch of The Water Music Festival at The Dock, and there and then I knew we’ll be in for the usual laugh, the fun, the hilarious little truths just comfortably close enough to home… not that the Breffs need more ticket selling at this stage, but at this point I could potentially reassure you that nobody needed to be put off by the title, same as Davy from the Café wondered if any man at all will be in the audience... Going by the bookings, yes there will be a good crowd of men out to see the play on those nights, maybe even to understand us women after all!

So listen to what Sinead has to say about her play, thanks Sinead for your time, I know you are flat out with the last preps and rehearsals! You ready for some serious questions? Can you tell us anything about the play without giving it all away?

'Women on the Verge of HRT' explores the themes of ageing, loneliness & sexuality from the perspective of two women in their forties who have been disappointed in love. One is a hopeless romantic while the other has a more cynical view of love & romance making an unlikely pairing. Their love of Daniel o' Donnell is what brings them both together on a journey to Donegal where they come face to face with their fears.

This play was a great hit in the 1990s ; striking a chord with women of a certain age ; questioning double standards between women & men i.e.; where it's perfectly acceptable for men to date considerably younger women but not the other way around.

Well, you got my attention already! What brought you into theatre directing?

I undertook a MA in Drama 8 years ago & subsequently leading to running Drama After School for Children.

I joined the Breffni Players after moving to Carrick on Shannon 5 years ago. I was fortunate to be given an opportunity to direct a One Act Play last year: my first time to work with adults from a directorial position.

Directing ' Women on the Verge'  has been a challenge with only 6 weeks to pull it all together in time for the Water Music Festival  but an absolute  delight, thanks to the amazing support  from the Breffni players especially  the actors who have managed to  make it all possible.

Sounds rather intriguing, wish i was those ten years younger myself and give it a shot! What do you think, can fiction make some subjects/ issues more real for people, in a way of looking at them and dealing with it?

I think the majority of people come to the theatre to be entertained.

The subject matter draws a crowd; in the case of ‘Women on the Verge  ...’ the main theme of searching for fulfillment relates to both men & women.

This play looks at the realities of relationship which are not given the Hollywood Happy ‘ever after’ makeover but present them as they are in the real world.  Good theatre should hold up a mirror to its audience through the characters, & the story they have to tell.  The audience may see parts of themselves in these characters & even share their story but always at a distance.

Do you think, in a way people laugh when they hear the truth? Is this an effective way of getting a message across? What is your experience with comedy and some bold or unpleasant truths?

I think people laugh out of nervousness in awkward situations. Irish people tend to have that ability to find humor in the most difficult situations as a coping mechanism. The same could be said of the use of humor in theatre ; it lightens the mood without taking away  the seriousness of the message . The ability to laugh at ourselves allows us to deal with ' unpleasant truths'. I hope this play offers a perfect blend of humor & seriousness in equal measures.
Yeah, it reminds me of those 'this is awkward'-moments in my life, and I think I inappropriately laughed or grinned through them too! How do you personally relax before and after a show, I know we all do it very differently...?
I will be found drinking copious amounts of vodka  at the bar in the Dock' s bar hours before the show begins . If not there, I may be found passed out in the toilets or backstage  if I make it that far before the curtain rises! Of course , I jest; more than likely I will be running around  pretending to look busy & threatening the cast not to drop any lines .. but on a more serious note, I will be  probably  be  tellling everyone how amazing they are... like a proper 'theatre luvvie'  with lots of air kissing for dramatic effect!!
I'll be checking on you in that bar! ... and last but not least, tell us a joke if you can... I am always on the lookout for a good one...
One of my favourite comedians  ,Spike Milligan  requested that the  writing on his grave's headstone  would read' Duirt mé go raibh mé tinn'...   a perfect example of Irish wit!!
Well, am glad Sinead told me what THAT means, my good ole Irish needs a bit of brushing up! And some of my friends have less than me for that matter, so here you go... what did your man say? 'I told you i was sick!' Breffni's you are very funny indeed, I love working with you guys!

Your D B

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