In Conversation ... Ben Barnes, Director of The Memory of Water

October 16, 2013

Ben Barnes, Director of The Memory of Water, in conversation with Niamh Honer, Marketing Manager of Civic Theatre, Tallaght, ahead of its performance in Civic Theatre earlier in October.
Interview taken from Theatre Royal Productions ... here ... 

The Memory of Water, by Shelagh Stephenson
Comes to Draíocht on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 November 8pm
Tickets: €18/€14 conc
Book by phone tel: 01-885 2622 or Book Online Here

NH: Can you tell us a bit about the play?

BB: Well its set in the North of England and is about three sisters who come together for their Mother’s funeral. It’s the classic situation where heightened emotions lead to scorching confrontations. It’s that rare thing- a play replete with hilarious comedy which manages at the same time to be thoroughly affecting and profound about things like the fallibility of memory. It has the most beautiful description of what its like to have Alzheimer’s disease and it’s a seriously good and well crafted play. It’s no wonder it won all the awards it did.

NH: How have rehearsals been going so far?

BB: This is a revival of our 2012 production so strictly speaking we are re-rehearsing the play. However, the role of Teresa, which was originally played by Tina Kellegher, is now played by Julia Lane. She is the only member of the cast who is actually from in and around where the play is set so that’s a great asset to the revival. And, of course, a new actor coming in to a key role makes us all re-examine the decisions we took when we first staged the play and that turns it into an exercise in re-invention rather than one of re-construction.

NH: How have you approached the sensitive subject of Alzheimer’s?

BB: Sensitivity I hope. The subject is mostly dealt with in the latter stages of the play when the eldest daughter has a conversation with her dead mother. The other sisters avoid the subject and because they are guilty about not visiting her as often as they might they minimise the extent of their mothers’ disorientation.


NH: What made you choose to direct this play?

BB: Well I scheduled the play for production a decade ago when I was Artistic Director at the Abbey and it was a rip roaring success there. I was very pleased it resonated with so many women particularly and I was a bit conflicted about the fact that I did not get a chance to stage it myself. Mark Lambert -who appeared in the original production and was friendly with Shelagh Stephenson the writer - did a brilliant job directing it on that occasion. I subsequently commissioned a play from Shelagh called Enlightenment which I did direct but I always wanted a go at directing The Memory of Water. However, you have to wait until the right actors come along and I knew that in Emily Nagle, Jenni Ledwell and Tina Kellegher (and now Julia Lane) that I had really accomplished actresses who could deliver in spades. Which they did and are doing again. It’s a joyful thing to behold actors at the top of their game taking something like this by the scruff of the neck. It’s a great mystery to me how Emily Nagle is not more appreciated than she is. Hers is a sensationally good performance among many fine performances. It’s a truism but directors can only be as good as the actors they are working with and I’m indebted to my six in this beautiful play.

NH: What has been the most challenging part of putting on the play?

BB: Pitching the English comedy which can be very black, droll and dead pan and very unlike Irish comedy. Fortunately I love Joe Orton who was a master of this type of humour and it may surprise you to hear me say that my life long love affair with the plays of Harold Pinter have been helpful in this regard also. It’s a great misconception about writers like Beckett and Pinter, perceived as difficult or enigmatic, who have, in fact, a wicked sense of humour.

NH: What should audiences expect from the play?

BB: An absolutely first rate night at the theatre with a play which is at turns funny and moving and full of insights memorably expressed. At the beginning of Act 2 the mother, Vi remarks that her children seem ungrateful and are focussed on all the things that were wrong about their childhood and what they didn’t have. Vi enumerates some of these things and then says “I remember the time of your childhood and it seems to me that you don’t remember it because you weren’t there-” A line and an observation like that is worth the price of admission on its own. Don’t you think?

The Memory of Water, by Shelagh Stephenson
Comes to Draíocht on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 November 8pm
Tickets: €18/€14 conc
Book by phone tel: 01-885 2622 or Book Online Here

Read more ... Here

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By Draíocht. Tags: Theatre,

Des Kenny Reviews Nicole Tilley

October 15, 2013

Nicole Tilley
When all the Riches That We Boast Consists in Scraps of Paper and Balloons
11 October – 23 November 2013  FIRST FLOOR GALLERY

Nicole Tilley’s work incorporates the primal forces of dreams, personal myths and children’s stories with the staged forms of pictorial melodramas that help unravel secrets of the furtive elements that preside over our interior life. The artist employs the Victorian technique of cutting paper silhouettes to produce tales of enhancing illumination and infringing darkness with diverting simplicity. Nicole eschews complex details which would interfere and muddle the viewer’s analysis of the storyline.

‘One Fine Morning’

A good example of this minimal approach is found in ‘One Fine Morning’, where a figure caught in a fishing hook is trying to free itself from an unfathomable burden in the shape of a silver trinket. This simplicity of means, using just two fishing hooks, a piece of fishing line, a cut out figure and silver pendant, delivers instantly the unbearable message that sometimes we cannot free ourselves from the tragic consequences of consuming destructive impulses.

‘One Fine Evening’

In a similar stark fashion ‘One Fine Evening’ is constructed with fishing line, cut out figure, foxes tooth, small desiccated rose and a silver charm. The figure poised above these hanging items has a fetish dream like aura that may help ward off the temporal evils of careering reality.

‘Dear Companion’

Another aspect of Nicole’s work is the use of shadows to render a sense of movement within a silent static environment. The figures are fixed with the use of pins above a white background and the angled lights of the gallery produce numerous shadows which animate the white mounting board. A poignant application of shadows is found in ‘Dear Companion’ where two complimentary figures reach out to each other but do not connect. Pinned down like butterflies in a glass vitrine, unable to move, desire impeded by reality, yet their shadows escape their restraints and briefly touch. In the shadow land of dreams we can overcome our bonds and then begin to transcend the limits of material existence.

'When all the Riches that we Boast Consists in Scraps of Paper and Balloons'

In many works the use of light and shadow grants a fantastical characteristic to inert figures, by which they seem to take flight. A balloon appears to lift a grounded child, the tangled hair of a delighted girl seems to catch the wind and hoist her above the earth. The blissful gaiety of a child’s imagination is released by the tension evoked by shadows trying to elude their makers.

Notebook detail

In a number of works, notebooks are utilised to create a background for the cut-out figures. It is, as if, the written word has left the page to create stories in a pictorial format, prose invades the three dimensional realm. A macabre interpretation of the aphorism ”do not lose your head by allowing your heart govern” is realised in the work ‘Between the Trains’ were a headless bereft figure, tangled in ribbon, hovers above a train track.

Centred in the gallery space is a glass receptacle which contains an old jewellery box. A small horse is positioned beneath an open lid, festooned in ribbon, jewels and fly fishing hooks. On close examination a small cut-out figure of a girl on a bike seems to be whirling out of the boxes stuffy demesne. The work exudes an atmospheric feeling of loss for a past full of childhood’s magical certainty and an entranced engagement with the world. The doubting adult and resolute child can gain sustenance together from this show and celebrate delight in the shared domain of the imagination.

Nicole TilleyWhen all the Riches That We Boast Consists in Scraps of Paper and Balloons
11 October – 23 November 2013  
Read more … here 

Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self taught painter, since he began making art in 1986 he has since exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, solo shows include Draíocht in 2001, The Lab in 2006 and Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2008. His work is included in many collections including the Office of Public Works, SIPTU, and Fingal County Council. Kenny's practice also incorporates print making and he has been a member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2004.


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By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Nicole Tilley,

Nicole Tilley’s Exhibition Launch

October 11, 2013

See more photos on our Facebook Page ... here ... 

Some pics from the Launch of Nicole Tilley's exhibition, 'When all the Riches That We Boast Consists in Scraps of Paper and Balloons', Thursday 10 October 2013.
Exhibition continues FRI 11 OCT - SAT 23 NOV 2013, FIRST FLOOR GALLERY, DRAIOCHT.
For a price list, please email or phone Box Office on 01-8852622.

Read more about Nicole's Exhibition ... here ... 


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By Draíocht. Tags: Visual Arts, Nicole Tilley,

Fly Me To The Moon - Review

October 3, 2013

Enjoy a review before coming to see the show in Draiocht next week, Wed 9 October, 8pm

"Telling the story of two bolschy careworkers; Francis Shields (Kate Tumelty) and Loretta Mackey (Tara Lynne O’ Neill), Fly Me to the Moon, revives the notion amongst its audience that it is okay to laugh at what is tragic ..."

Read Full Review HERE ... 

Book Tickets HERE ... 

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By Draíocht. Tags: Theatre,