Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Upcoming Events

Just to fill you in on the many events we have already planned for the upcoming year.

Beginning at 7pm this Wednesday 26th September, we will be presenting a Stage Combat Workshop by Paul Burke from the Gaiety School of Acting in Rye Hall Lecture Theatre, next door to the PACR. This is the first of a series of workshops that will be run this year in conjunction with the Gaiety School of Acting. It looks like an extremely exciting event (If you want to get a gander at Paul's workshop in action check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mklzvTBX5RA), However there is a limit of 30 places on the workshop and it will be first come first served, so make sure to get your name down on the sign-up list on the drama society notice-board quickly. Participation in the workshop will cost only €3.

Later on in the semester there will be a programme of 6 acting workshops run by Gaiety school tutors, the first of which will be on the 8th of October at 7pm in the rye hall lecture theatre. There will also be two directing workshops, the first which will be on Wednesday the 10th of October. Again there will be limited places availible in this new initiative, information about this will be availible on Fairs Day and at the A.G.M.

Ah and speaking of the A.G.M., it has been organised for 6.30p.m. on Wednesday 3rd of October the evening of Fairs Day (venue yet to be confirmed). So make sure to be there and catch up on all the drama plans for the coming year. Who knows, there may even be a pre-Fresher's Ball beverage on offer!
For anyone interested in proposing a play, don't be shy and get it sent into the committee as soon as possible. For advice on how to draw up a proposal, check out our website: www.nuim-drama.com

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Advice For Freshers - from The Irish Independent, MOnday 20th August 2007

It's easiest to meet people during the first few weeks when everyone is new and also feeling a bit lost. I met lots of new people during fresher's week when you are forcibly and cringingly introduced to other students. In fact two of my best friends now were introduced to me on a freshers' tour of the university!

I joined a few societies and did some campaigns with Amnesty and also some voluntary tutoring. Voluntary tutoring was great because I had been thinking about teaching when I graduate and it gave me a chance to do that, while helping someone else. I also got involved in the Students' Union. For a lot of students college is more about societies and the union than the actual course.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dramasoc Is Best Society in the College

We all suspected it, but still its nice to be told! Dramasoc won Best Society at the Students Union Clubs and Socs awards 2007. An acknowledgment of the wide range of activities organised by the society and the huge member base, the award is a recognition of the societies contribution to the social life of N.U.I. Maynooth. Events such as the black box festival, theI.S.D.A. festival, the musical, the masquerade ball, the program of workshops, whose line is it anyway and many many more made it a great year to be involved.

Congragulations to all the members who made it a great year but special thanks to the 2006-2007 committee for running a tight ship

So cheers to Leona, Niamh, Michelle, Megan, Mark, Zita, Kerry and Paul and lets hope the coming year can be even better again!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Black Box Festival a huge success

The first ever Black Box Festival organised by the N.U.I.M. drama society was perhaps the highlights of 2007 for the society. The event ran over four days with three seperate shows going to stage. The three shows were Closer written by Patrick Marber, The Exonerated by Eric Jensen and Jessica Blank and I Do Not Like Thee Doctor Fell by Bernard Farrell. All three productions had first-time directors with Denis Ryan (Closer), Oneka Munyikwa (The Exonerated), and Mary McDonnell (I Do Not Like Thee Doctor Fell) all stepping into the roles well and adapting to the challanging space of The Venue theatre. There were two performances of each play one morning show and one evening and the novelty of day-time shows worked very well with all shows getting a very solid audience, most notable was the large crowd from the day-time performance of The Exonerated.

Closer is a seedy and unsettling examination of sexual a-morality and promiscuity in affairs of the heart. It asks the question of how relationships effect us when the chaos of lust is more powerful than the order of reason and propriety. The acting performances were of a standard not often seen on a student-theatre stage. Both Conor Riordan and Peter Kavanagh gave powerful exhibitions in acting, Riordan's all-consuming lust poured off the stage in an uncomfortable torrent and Kavanagh's delusions and frustrations were both hilarious and poignant. Denis Ryan's direction was purposeful and coherent and the staging managed to over-come the claustophobia of the Venue stage despite the frequent scene-changes.

The Exonerated is a troubling political polemic that launches a determined, unfliching assault of the American justice system and specifically capital punishment. Unearthing the rascism and contradiction of the implementation of the death penalty, the play is shocking in its vision of institutional violence. The production over-came all the difficulties of the challanging piece by keeping the movement and effects minimal and allowing the message take centre-stage. When decisions were made to introduce special sound and lighting effects for particular moments the affect was devastating. One particular moment worth mentioning was during a monologue, given by Patrick McGlynn in a husky southern voice, when he demanded that the rain stopped three times and each time his demand was met, the subtle change in lighting and the gradual rumbling rise of the rain and its sudden stop was truely powerful. All characters were on stage for the entire performance and the blocking was fantastic. Munyikwa managed to create a terrific stage space with space materials, allowing the testomies of MyGlynn, Miriam Needham, Will Woods and others shine through.

I Do Not Like Thee Doctor Fell was a lighter piece than the other two, comical and at times frace-like it gave a balance to the festival and a relief from the other two very demanding productions. Set during an eventfull over-night therapy group retreat, a silent Joe character manages to unearth everybodies greatest fears, tearing apart the deciet of the gathering. Strong performances from Paul Donnelly and Maria Hallinan drove the play forward towards it exciting conclusion.

Special mention must be given to the two stars of the festival Jason Joyce and Sophie Cambell. Both actors played two different roles during the festival Joyce (The Exonerated and Dr Fell), Cambell (Dr Fell and Closer). The schedule meant that they also had to perform the different roles one the same day. Not only did they succeed, they excelled with the best performances of the week coming from both actors. Joyce as the unsettling stuttering Joe in Dr Fell and Cambell as the enchanting, intellegent London photographer Anna.

N.U.I.M. Drama Society picks up I.S.D.A. award

For the second year running N.U.I.M. dramasoc has picked up an award at I.S.D.A. (Irish Student Drama Awards). I.S.D.A. showcases the best of student theatre in the 32 counties of Ireland. This year's festival (2007) was hosted by Queens University Belfast and featured drama societies from universities and I.T.s all over Ireland. The standard is always extremly high and the craic on the daring side of mighty. Our entry this year was Prism of Flesh, a student written play by Shane Ward. Shane also co-directed the play with Edel Maher.

The play is a demanding piece with a large cast and it was a brave decision for the commitee to choose the play for the competition but a highly popular three night run in Febuary proved that the production would do the society proud.

Despite a very tight get-in and some problems arising from being only the second play to be performed in the festival, the first in the Black-box theatre, the show was a success and adapted well to the intimate space of the Black box theatre in Belfast.

The acting in the play was uniformly strong but the special connection forged between Will Woods (Blind Man) and Aileen Moon (Emer) shone through. They played a married couple with an unconventional relationship. Will's performance deftly shifted from tyrannical to tender and back again. His presence on the stage and the emotional depth of his performance captured the complexity of his character perfectly and the physical precision in his performance as a blind man left everybody dazzled. Aileen's performance exuded an effortless sexuality. Poised and technically assured she controlled the stage. She portrayed a character paradoxically both submissive and deviant. But it was when the two actors came together that something special happened. Heartbeats dropped in the audience when the two characters came together on the stage. During one scene, Blind Man felt the features of Emer's face with his hand in an action that was at once intimate and compassionate but also an uncomfortable violation. In that aura of tension and wonder a great theatrical moment had been created. It was no suprise that both actors picked up nominations then as Best Supporting Actors. Given the quality of the festival it is a significant achievement for two highly talented young actors, both of whom came into the production late to replace origional cast-members who were forced to pull out.

The costumes and make-up in the play were under the meticulous supervision of Maeve Leahy. She had a interesting canvas to work on in the play. There was the characters of Nature, three seperate actors each representing one of the primary colours of light. She made the costumes herself and each costume was a striking use of light and captured the energy of the character perfectly. Also impressive was the costume and make-up of the spirits, a group of five actors, whose ghostly, threatening presence Maeve captured with white and black face paint and simple black clothing. They cut an intimidating presence on stage. Maeve also ensured the rest of the characters clothes suited their characters perfectly and the veils of Robin and Daughter evoked an uncomfortable mood in the early stages of the play.

Maeve picked up best costume and make-up for the society and it was an honour well deserved.

Congragulations to all involved and hopefully N.U.I.M. dramasoc will continue to be successful at I.S.D.A. in years to come.