CAILLEACH ÓG, JESUS, HOMER SIMPSON, ME & DUFF BEER…

CAILLEACH ÓG, JESUS, HOMER SIMPSON, ME & DUFF BEER…

by Gerry Moynihan.

Sometimes you write something and when its finished, or more precisely when it finally reaches a level of acceptability, you are left wondering rather as one of the characters in CAILLEACH ÓG might put it, “Where in under Jesus did that come from?”

I’ll try and retrace some of my steps.

For a ten minute play challenge I wrote a scenario called CAILLEACH ÓG involving two women in the west of Ireland having a confrontation over a missing man. The play involved a black hole (i.e. a circular piece of black cloth) and it appeared that the man was pushed into the hole by one of the women, CAILLEACH ÓG, who also subsequently pushed the other woman – her adversary – in as well, only for her to get mauled to death by a ferocious animal. The man is then made to re-appear by CAILLEACH ÓG in the form of a small black kitten…

See what I mean?

“Where in under Jesus did that come from?”

But it was only when I won the Blackshaw Showcase Award that I revisited the script and tried to answer that because now I was charged with the challenge of turning it into a full length play due to be staged roughly nine months thence.

I immediately had to confront a series of questions.

To once again echo the character in CAILLEACH ÓG; “Who in under Jesus was CAILLEACH ÓG and where in under Jesus did she come from?”

“What in under Jesus was it really about anyway?” and so on.

The “when and where in under Jesus?” were the easiest questions to answer; it would still be set somewhere in the west of Ireland in the present day.

Next came the “Who in under Jesus?

“The Cailleach” is a figure from Irish/Scottish mythology who shaped the landscape. She was very often portrayed as an ‘old hag’. I found out that this was largely down to the usurping of of pagan mythology by Christian mythology and, as a sign of the churches future patriarchal nature, “The Cailleach” was recast from being a powerful Goddess/deity, to that of and old hag, who was barren and who lamented the loss of her youth. That was why I had already decided from the outset that I would call her CAILLEACH ÓG, óg being the Irish word for young for I wanted to make her young(er) and feisty again.

The “What in under Jesus?” was going to be harder and so “I played it by ear” as the saying goes.

And after many false starts and attempts at different scenarios I sat down one day and the whole opening scene in the pub seemed to write itself and there was very little about that scene that would change. Indeed it would dictate the general direction that the rest of the play would take. And so, there it was; instead of an Irish man walking into the pub and being the main story teller it would be a woman; CAILLEACH ÓG – younger, feisty and of course, enigmatic.

I now had the main characters and the pub setting – a solid basis on which to build since the first scene raised all the questions that an audience would expect to be answered in some way or another… so my work was cut out for me… to try and answer those questions was the spur needed to move forward and progress.

I also knew by then that I would be incorporating either poetry, song, dance or music or perhaps a combination of all three as music and song loom large in my background having been a gigging musician all my life in various guises. And so to this end I rifled through my music and book collection.

Then it was time to mull again…

After another bout of fits and starts in the writing I took a break from it until I went on holiday where I found that I was able to move forward… just as well because it was coming up to Christmas and the showcase was scheduled for March.

I came back from holiday, submitted a draft, was happy with the feedback, made some changes, did a lot of tweaking and suddenly the story direction was becoming clear. I was of course hoping that any meaning(s) taken from the play would amount to a lot more than the sum of its parts – that certain themes would come to the fore – but it is a matter for the audience to decide upon as to whether or not this is the case and if I am successful in that respect.

Eventually after months of feeling like Homer Simpson – who, when he decided to get fit, took on the challenge of climbing a mountain and each time mistakenly thinking that he’s reached the summit, only to find that it was in fact just another ledge on the way to the real summit – I finally felt that I made it to the summit.

There was only one thing to do.

Just like Homer, get in some Duff beer and bask for a while on the sofa.

But still, all I could think as I swilled my Duff was – “Where in under Jesus did that come from?”

Showcase Shortlist New Writing Night – January 2017

We’re thrilled to announce that the winner of our 2017 Showcase Award is Nicole Locke, with ‘Moth Man’.

 

She had some seriously stiff competition, with 4 other fabulous shortlisted pieces performed on 30th January at the Hen & Chickens.

 

Made Glorious Summer by Lilly Garwood-Lloyd

Directed by Alexander Pankhurst
Tom – Stuart Vincent
Rebecca – Beth Organ

A Stone’s Throw by Annie Power
Directed by Christian Durham
Wilksy – David Atkinson
Viv – Maxine Howard

Heat is On by Stewart Schiller
Directed by Jo Greaves
Phil – Adam Seigel
Bethany – Sophie Kisilevsky

The Final Adventure of Frankie Fightwell by Chris Buxey
Directed by Phoebe Hitt
Frankie – Abigail Morgan
Stuart – John Rayment
Dominic – Tom Slatter

Moth Man by Nicole Locke
Directed by Stephen Bailey
Dave/Moth Man – Joseph Cullen
Malcolm – Alex Maude

Photos by Richard Stratton – https://500px.com/richardstrat

4 things to do on Valentine’s Day

Joe Haupt – https://www.flickr.com/photos/51764518@N02/

I am reliably informed that love is, once again, all around us. The signs are all there. Personal, handwritten love letters…crudely printed onto cards with a picture of a teddy bear or a heart (which doesn’t even look like an actual heart; anatomically not even close). Love is stupid, apparently.

 

We are presented with modern tokens of love: chocolate to release endorphins in your partner that you can’t summon up yourself; flowers, an ominous metaphor for your fleeting happiness; a puppy…well that one is quite good actually. Now that those other 364 days are over and you need to prove to your other half that you have a modicum of care and respect for them, here are some cracking suggestions for things to do today, or sometime this week (it’s on a Tuesday this year. The. Worst. Day.):

 

1. Cirque du Soleil’s, Amaluna

If in doubt, throw some money at it. Cirque’s latest offering is based on The Tempest, that perfect Valentine’s tale. After all, what says love better than living alone on an island with your creepy dad for years, before ending up with Shakespeare’s second most boring lover (the first is Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice. Obvs.)? So remortgage your home and fork out for a spectacular reminder of all the bodies you will never look like and all the positions your other half will never contort themselves into. And they’re French. That’s romantic.

Royal Albert Hall, until 26th February, £20-£92, https://tickets.cirquedusoleil.com/shop/#/96095cbb-fb4f-49c4-9dd2-239bb3226dee/shop/search?skin=amaluna

2. Blood and Bone

No this isn’t the title of Donald Trump’s guide to seducing your own daughter. Cicada Studios’ latest offering is a satirical puppetry show, as rude and irreverent as they come. Life isn’t Pixar and this ain’t a kids’ show. At fifty minutes long, that is all the foreplay you will need. Puppet sex is reportedly the latest aphrodisiac. I was going to make a puppet fisting joke here but decided against it; I figured I would be elbow deep in complaints.

The Vault Festival, 15th-19th February, £12, http://www.vaultfestival.com/event/blood-bone/2017-02-15/

3. A Clockwork Orange

Joseph Senior – https://www.flickr.com/photos/josephsenior/

Don’t think this needs a blurb really. A dystopian romance, sans the romance. To be fair, the word ‘romance’ is derived from ‘romant’ meaning ‘in the Roman manner.’ So in many ways this show does have romantic themes in it: violence, forward-thinking, sexual aggression, hard to understand language, and back-stabbing individuals. Action to the Word’s version is an all-male sweatfest of energy and pulsating choreography; a visceral and explosive production. Thankfully none of the guys in it are muscly and handsome. Well apart from Jonno Davies. Oh and Seb Charles. Tom Whitelock has a filthy glint in his eye. On second thoughts, for the sake of your relationship, maybe this show isn’t for you…

 

The Park Theatre, 14th February-18th March, £10-£29.50, https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/a-clockwork-orange

 

 

 

 

4. The Magical Lantern Festival

Now this is a risk for sure. It will require actual social interaction with your partner. I know. Scary. Hopefully you can distract them with the pretty lights and pictures, in this visual spectacular at Chiswick House and Gardens. The ice bar and ice rink will lower the temperature perfectly to the level of your ice-cold heart and frigid relations. Apparently there is also a burning rooster. Something to do with the Zodiac, but more fittingly a metaphor for the burning desolation of your love. But if they can’t appreciate you paying out £18.11 (bizarre pricing system…) to avoid doing any work towards the date yourself, then are they really worth bothering with anyway?

Chiswick House & Gardens, until 26th February, £5-£18.11, https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/magical-lantern-festival-london-11371885852

 

So there you have it, you lazy blighters. A selection of generic events that everyone else will be doing. The spark is alive! So go out there, book into one, and convince yourself you aren’t a terrible human being. Hurrah! My girlfriend is going to kill me for writing this.

 

Liam, External Communications Coordinator

Lisa L Wiedmeier – https://www.flickr.com/photos/crazymandi/

The Blackshaw Arts Hour – Episode 56

For the first show back into 2017 Iasha is joined by Matt and a very new voice to the show, Sinead Burniston, a fellow Holloway graduate and theatre lover.

Matt reviews the Lego Batman film, we hark back to some old conversations from 2016 including a run down of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, how bad Suicide Squad was and Iasha talks musicals and lack of tap with Half a Sixpence.

Next show Matt’s reviewing Fifty Shades Darker, and if there is a show not to miss this year, it’s that one. So much awkward.

 

 

Casting Open: CAILLEACH ÓG

We’re looking for a stellar cast for this exciting new play, to be performed as a one night only, industry showcase on 2nd March at the Pleasance Theatre, Islington (London).

Click here to apply!

Deadline for applications: Thurs 9th Feb

If you wish to take part please include your EMAIL ADDRESS and PHONE NUMBER in your application. Without this information we cannot consider your application.

Character Breakdown
DÁITHÍ
DÁITHÍ – Male. 30s/early 40s. Good Irish accent (Donegal).

DÁITHÍ owns and runs the pub in which the majority of the play is set, along with his wife, MÁIRE. Despite noticeable tensions in their marriage, he does love his wife. He is a realist and sceptic with a dry, mocking sense of humour. Presents a hard front to the world to cover up his vulnerability.

SNIBBER
Snibber – Male. 50s/60s. Good Irish accent (Donegal).

Snibber is the ever-present fixture in the local pub, never seen without a glass of whisky in his hand. He is somewhere between a best friend and adopted father to DÁITHÍ, the pub owner. Cheery and always on the look out for something to make him chuckle.

Winner of Blackshaw’s Showcase Award 2016, CAILLEACH ÓG by Gerry Moynihan, has been in development for a year.

Myth and reality clash when a strange woman arrives in a quiet pub in the west of Ireland on a stormy November night.

Husband and wife DÁITHÍ and MÁIRE UÍ DHOMHNAILL own a pub in Bally Briocht – frequented by local barfly SNIBBER BANNON. A strange woman calling herself CAILLEACH ÓG arrives, and is soon making wild claims about being “The Mother of Mountains” as well as being “all wise and all knowing” much to the amusement of DÁITHÍ, MÁIRE and SNIBBER.

DÁITHÍ subsequently finds his fate increasingly intertwined with that of CAILLEACH ÓG. And as his life very quickly unravels beyond his control, he desperately tries to hold on to his marriage as well as his sanity.

But who exactly is this strange woman called CAILLEACH ÓG? And what really brings her to Bally Briocth?

“CAILLEACH ÓG…? She arrived on the back of a pig. What else do ye need tae know?”

Auditions & Rehearsals will be in London locations on the following dates:

Sat 11th Feb 3-6pm (Auditions)

Sat 18th Feb, 11am-4pm

Sat 25th Feb, 11am-4pm

Sun 26th Feb, 11am-4pm

Mon 27th Feb, 6-9pm

Wed 1st March, 6-9pm

You will be needed all day/evening at the Pleasance Theatre on 2nd March for rehearsal and performance.

Whilst unpaid (expenses cannot be offered), this is a great showcase opportunity (we will be inviting lots of industry folk, and welcome your suggestions for industry comps (including casting agents). The aim of the show is for the piece to be picked up for further development/production – past winners have taken the cast with them when this happens! You will also be able to get production photos for your portfolio.

 

The Blackshaw Arts Hour – Episode 54

This week on the podcast, Iasha is joined by Matt, Ellie, Helen, Strat and Alex.

Matt reviews Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (aka, that new Harry Potter film) and Start and Alex are doing an Art! This week they’re going to write sonnets, following the proper Shakespeare rules.

We hear a peice of new writing called SMS performed by Emily Jane Kerr and written by Marianne Powell and Helen reviews nd talks about the West End musical Half a Sixpence.

Throughtout the show Strat and Alex have been writing their sonnets, and then read out their finished work at the end of the show. Listen in to hear who is voted the winner!

 

 

Why enter our new writing competition?

2016’s Showcase Award Winner, Gerry Moynihan, tells us why you should go ahead and enter this year’s new writing competition.  You too, could be having your work developed and produced at a London theatre!

 

Deadline: 30th December.

Info on the scheme and how to submit, here.

 

“I submitted a short piece called “CAILLEACH ÓG” to the showcase largely on a whim. At the time I had no idea who the central character was; what the play was about or why I even wrote it! I only  had a vague idea that I wanted “to write something for the stage”. But winning the showcase award soon provided me with the incentive to grapple with the central enigmatic figure who seemed to have come from nowhere.

Blackshaw certainly created a momentum as they immediately set about planning a full production of the play for March 2017. This certainly focuses you and  is a valuable  yet risky leap of faith in the writer; just what most aspiring writers need in fact. But luckily Blackshaw are a writer-centred organisation who are friendly, supportive, approachable, enthusiastic and proactive in their endeavour to get things done.

If you win the showcase award your play will be produced. I recommend that you get in there and very quickly you will move from being “someone with an idea for a play” to being  a writer  with a deadline working towards a full production of your work. And what writer doesn’t want that?”

– Gerry Moynihan

The Blackshaw Arts Hour – Episode 53

This week on the show, Iasha is joined by Vikki and Matt, and Strat and Alex are back once again to tackle an art, this week we’re doing sculpture!

Matt reviews Arrival and can hardly contain his excitement for what seems to be a high contender for one of Matt’s picks of the year.

Vikki tells us about a very immersive theatre experience she and Alex participated in last Friday and we also hear a live recording of a Scare Slam story from our Scare Slam at the Horse and Stables last year.

Below is the photographic evidence of the sculpting that took place during the live recording of this podcast…keep reading to find out the winner and the artist whose work would make it onto the fourth plinth (if this were a real contest and not just us making things up for the sake of radio…)

Alex halves the block of clay, pure joy.

art-1

Strat gets in close to achieve optimum art.

art-4

Alex gives us “Giving Thanks”. Not enough to win this time.

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And the winner, deserving of a spot on the fourth plinth, Strat’s “Trump Slug”

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Well done guys, another successful ‘art”

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