No More Workhorse Review

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Generally, I can’t abide criticism. Outside of academia, it serves little function beyond banal consumer recommendation. However, my principles won’t get me free cinema tickets, now will they? Here’s my first wee report for No More Workhorse.

Todd Phillips made a career out of fusing comedy with ‘high concept’ action, raking in a fortune from the Hangover trilogy. Hill transcended gross out comedy to earn an Oscar nomination for his outsized role in Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street. Teller, hazed in a series of frat house comedies, gained attention for his turn in critical darling ‘Whiplash’. So can the Philips succeed in wringing engaging and humorous performances from such promising leads?

Read the rest.

Love & Money – Reading Plays – Episode 16

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Love and Money is a little known play from 2006, an early work by Dennis Kelly, the London Irish television writer who would go on to create controversial British television series Pulling & Utopia. The play debuted at the Manchester Royal Exchange, before moving to the Young Vic. It was recently staged in Dublin by the La Touche Players, in a production directed by James O’Connor. The play has been called variously ‘one of the best new plays of the year’ and ‘beyond doubt the most self indulgent drivel I’ve ever reviewed’.

Our protagonists David & Jess, live their lives backwards, moving from horrific conclusion to existential conundrum – by way of addictive shopping and sexual harassment. Thematically, Love and Money is a contemporary piece – concerned with the impact of debt and the crushing phenomenology of the bureaucracy on families and marriages. Tonally it’s a pitch black comedy, with aspirations to social criticism. We take two hours to explore this timely piece of modern theatre.

Download: Episode 16 – Love & Money

Reading Plays‘ is a discussion show, featuring Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal. Each week we do a close reading of a modern play, discussing it’s merits, themes, issues raised, and so on. You can play along by reading or watching a production of the play before you listen to the show.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

Image – Rude Guerrilla Theatre Company production 2009.

The Miss Firecracker Contest – Reading Plays – Episode 15

THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST PROMO

A satire of the Southern potboiler in the form of a beauty pageant, The Miss Firecracker Contest was first performed at a tiny LA theatre in 1980. Later moving to an off Broadway production directed by ubiquitous character actor and storyteller Stephen Tobolowsky. Tobolowsky’s childhood experiences served as the inspiration for this story of narcissism and loathing at the Mississippi Rose of Tralee. The part of rakish Brontesque lead Delmount was written with him in mind. Miss Firecracker Contest was later adapted into a film starring Holly Hunter. Beth Henley’s script has been praised for it’s ‘quirky characters’ and ‘strong messages’, but is this a profound comedic examination of the lives of Southern women? Or merely a message in a bottle – a didactic wafer thin work, constrained by form and inhabited by shadows?

The play centres around one aspiring firecracker Carnelle Scot, raised by her cousins – the glamorous Elain Routledge and the roguish sex offender Delmount Williams. Carnelle’s efforts to win the contest are aided by her goggle-eyed, underclass seamstress Popeye Jackson, and deterred by her reputation as a floozy. Despite having cleaned up her act and treated her syphilis, Carnelle is haunted by the neglect and abandonment of her parents and her years as the town’s good time. Meanwhile Carnelle’s lush cousin Elain has left her wealthy husband, and her hated brother Delmount has returned from his imprisonment in a mental asylum – where he was committed due to his penchant for broken bottle fights, devirginations and attempted strangulations – to sell the family mansion.

Download: Episode 15 – The Miss Firecracker Contest

Reading Plays‘ is a discussion show, featuring Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal. Each week we do a close reading of a modern play, discussing it’s merits, themes, issues raised, and so on. You can play along by reading or watching a production of the play before you listen to the show.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

Disco Pigs – Episode 10 – Reading Plays

Disco Pigs

Arriving at the end of the nineteen nineties, at exactly the time Martin McDonagh was exploding the Irish national theatre with the first of his Leenane trilogy, Disco Pigs articulated a radical new vision of Irishness. An Irishness deracinated of nationalism, appalled by republicanism, raised on television and clubland. A dissolute Irishness – frozen in the decaying embrace of the still powerful church. Our soi-disant twin protagonists Pig and Runt are, like the nation, awakening just before the dawn of the 21st century: Becoming self aware in a final desperate defence against perpetual inferiority. The plays ostensibly simple dialogue takes us deep into an expressionist teenage universe, where sex, violence and imagination dissolve the surface of a mundane world.

First staged in 1996 at the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork, Disco Pigs moved on to the Dublin and Edinburgh festivals. The first production starred Killian Murphy and Eileen Walsh. Eileen would go on to star in the Magdalene Sisters and win best actress award at the Tribeca Film festival for her performance in the 2008 film Eden. Although she was to replaced in the role of Runt for Kirsten Sheriden’s film version, by Elaine Cassidy.

Download: Episode 10 – Disco Pigs

Reading Plays‘ is a discussion show, featuring Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal. Each week we do a close reading of a modern play, discussing it’s merits, themes, issues raised, and so on. You can play along by reading or watching a production of the play before you listen to the show.

Next weeks play: Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

Arcadia – Episode 6 – Reading Plays

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The titular Arcadia is Sidley Park, Estate of the earl of Croom. We enter Sidley park at the dawn of the 19th century, and today, as two parallel storylines converge to resolve a literary mystery. Arcadia is a Wildely brilliant farce, which examines the spirit of an age and it’s relationship to time, the mathematics of chaos and it’s relationship to determinism, and whether knowledge is ultimately discovered or created. The play was written in 1993, and first staged at the Lyttelton Theatre in London, starring Rufus Sewell, Felicity Kendal and Bill Nighy. It was awarded the Lawrence Oliver award for best new play, and the Tony for best play. Today we discuss whether the work achieves its aim of marrying rapier wit to intellectual rigor, or merely orders the chaos of half understood ideas to don a costume of regency verbiage.

Download: Reading Plays – Episode 6 – Arcadia

Reading Plays‘ is a discussion show, featuring Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal. Each week we do a close reading of a modern play, discussing it’s merits, themes, issues raised, and so on. You can play along by reading or watching a production of the play before you listen to the show.

Next weeks play

Doubt by JP Shanley. We’re actively soliciting suggestions for what plays to read in the coming weeks and months. If there’s a play you’d like us to discuss – especially if it’s less well known, or if there’s a production of it coming to Dublin soon, let us know in the comments below.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

Threat Detection – Episode 20 – Character in Videogames

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Download: Threat Detection – Episode 20

Does character matter?
A vessel for the player to travel through the story.
An enigma in his/her self.
Often times an empty receptacle for containing player projections.

How can it be conveyed in interactive media?

Characters can often be more than their general perspective of first and third person perspective.

Often times the perspective of the character is taken advantage of to better inform a kind of meta narrative or even just to take a more focused and fixed look on the game’s themes (a la Half Life)

Characters can also be unsculpted mounds of marble for the player to not only mold to their tastes but also to have the availability to shift the game engine’s choice of perspective between first and third person.

Will you be the stabby stabby guy, the hammering Yorkshire madman or a resigned and fashionable wizard who flames his enemies.
Distance between player and manipulable character is drastically shortened. This enhances the likelihood of the player embodying his character. They are verbs of the player’s whim and the supplementary background.