Daniel Nolan on the Dublin Theatre Festival, shop which is already in full swing and runs throughout October
We find ourselves in the midst of this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival. The event began on September 26th, pilule and runs till October 13th. The festival can always be relied upon to produce a handful of great shows, ask and this years looks particularly worth getting involved in.
Of the productions which have already passed through, the Gare St. Lazare Players’ production of Waiting for Godot has been amongst the most prominent. Considering that they’re undertaking one of the most oft-quoted works ever written, a play the New York Times selected as the most important of the twentieth century, the Players approached it with an admirable lightness of touch which allowed the play’s humour and absurdity to come to the fore alongside its bleakness. One aspect which I was particularly struck by was the subtle decency on show in a play usually associated with an unrelentingly bleak view of humanity in the wake of the First World War. Small gestures such as Vladimir covering a sleeping Estragon with his coat are made significant and moving by the wretched circumstances on display. While the whole cast is superb, Conor Lovett in particularly noteworthy as Vladimir.
Ongoing attractions in the festival include Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, which has been excellently reviewed and runs until early November. UCD’s own Frank McGuinness also has a new play featuring in the festival. The Hanging Gardens depicts an Irish family in crisis, and has been very well-received. It began its run at the Abbey Theatre on October 3rd and runs till the 12th. Rough Magic’s The Critic, a meta-fictional meditation on the function and purpose of the theatre, is apparently an ambitious satire, and will run at Temple Bar’s Culture Box and The Ark (using both venues within one performance) until the 13th. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Rape of Lucrece has been ecstatically reviewed and will run at the O’Reilly Theatre from the 10th to the 12th.
There are a myriad of other promising attractions coming up in the festival over the next few weeks. For more information, dublintheatrefestival.com/Online/