Doubt (Part 2) – Episode 8 – Reading Plays

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We conclude our discussion of JP Shanley’s classic play, doubt.

Download: Episode 8 – Doubt (Part 2)

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: ‘The Bald Soprano‘ or La Cantatrice Chauve by Eugène Ionesco.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

Reading Plays – Interview – Cast of ‘Welcome to the Ethics Committee’

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We interview the cast of the recent Smock Alley production of ‘Welcome to the Ethics Committee’.

The play was based on the collaborative fiction project, The SCP Foundation, and was written and directed by Katherine Farmar. We spoke to some members of the cast – Elitsa Dimova, Libby Russell, Jack Beglin, Liam Hallahan, and Declan Gillen.

Download: Interview – Cast of ‘The Ethics Committee’

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

Doubt (Part 1) – Episode 7 – Reading Plays

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In the introduction to his already classic play ‘Doubt: A Parable’, JP Shanley writes ‘we are living in a culture of extreme advocacy, of confrontation, of judgment, and of verdict’. In the decade since the publication of the play, as the culture wars have expanded, his words have seemed ever more prescient. Doubt is a work with uncertainty at its heart. The play deals with a monstrous allegation and it’s consequences, but its theme is really the consequence of ignoring such allegations. Shanley challenges us to acknowledge in doubt, the possibility of growth, to chose a shared illusion a little less distant from reality, to sacrifice the vestments of perceived virtue for robes of uncertain good. Doubt was awarded the Pulizer prize for drama as well as a Tony Award for Best Play, and has been adapted into both an opera and an academy award nominated film.

Download: Reading Plays – Episode 7 – Doubt (Part1)

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: We continue our discussion of Doubt by JP Shanley.

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.

The Misanthrope – Episode 5 – Reading Plays

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The Misanthrope (or the ‘The Cantankerous Lover’) by Moliere, is a comedy first performed at the Theatre du Palais-Royal in 1666. Despite its age the play deals with modern concerns, like the nature of friendship and the choice to embrace cynicism over solipsism. Although absent the careful plotting, dynamic staging or linguistic experimentalism of modern theatre, Moliere’s wit remains alive and entertaining. The influence of his barbed dialogue and high society brinkmanship can be seen in writers from as Oscar Wilde to Whit Stillman.

In life Moliere (born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) was a controversial figure. Arguably one of the first literary celebrities, he was accused of numerous villainies, including having illegitimately fathered his much younger wife.

He once wrote ‘Doubts are more cruel than the worst of truths’, and it is this ambiguity that lies at the heart of The Misanthrope. Moliere writes ‘one cannot look into the heart’. Thus we vacillate between paranoia and pronoia, never certain in this life of the nobility of our actions, or whether moral pragmatism is ultimately more valid than holding a steady course. Is it true, as the cynically flirtatious Celimene says, ‘It is easy… to blame or praise everything and everyone may be right, according to their age and taste’. Or is there a moral centre to life, we may avoid or obey, according to our character.

We read the Henri Van Laun public domain translation of the play from the university of Adelaide.

Download: Reading Plays – Episode 5 – The Misanthrope

Next weeks play

Arcadia [PDF] by Tom Stoppard. 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.

Death of a Salesman – Episode 4 – Reading Plays

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Death of a Salesman is perhaps Arthur Millers best known play. A seminal work of twentieth century American theatre, it touches on themes as diverse as the death of masculinity, family dysfunction, the role of women, and the changing nature of work in a rapidly advancing, materialist society.

The play was written shortly after the Second World War, in a time of triumphalism and economic assent in the United States. Yet it is a tragedy, that concerns the impossibility of intergenerational communication, of escape from a life of failure and of the American dream itself.

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.

Download: Reading Plays – Episode 4 – Death of a Salesman

Next weeks play – The Misanthrope by Moliere. 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.

The Baltimore Waltz – Episode 3 – Reading Plays

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This weeks play – The Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel. The play was recently produced by Acting Out at the Harbour Playhouse in Dublin, and we’re joined by the cast Michael J. Kunze, Niamh Denyer and Brian Graham Higgins.

The Baltimore Waltz was first produced off-Broadway at the Circle Repertory Company in 1992, and first published by dramatists play service that same year. It was awarded Obie awards for Best New American play, Best Performance, and Best Direction.

The play is an allegory about the aids crisis, and the death of the playwright’s brother. Despite the heavyweight subject matter Baltimore Waltz is a highly stylised, cinematically referential comedy with an unconventional structure. Three actors, Anna, her Brother Carl and a chorus ‘The Third’ (playing a variety of roles), travel across an imaginary Europe, tracing the trip the playwright regretted never taking herself. The play tackles the tragedy and impossible uncertainties of the very early days of the aids crisis with a lightness of touch, and a playful approach to symbolism that creates a space for poignancy to naturally emerge.

Anna is ill with Acquired Toilet Disease, a sly wink to Gay Related Immune Deficiency (GRID), the original diagnosis for HIV / AIDS. She leaves her job as a grade school teacher, as does her brother, fired from his position as ‘the head librarian of literature and languages at the San Francisco Public’. Together they cross Europe, in search of a cure, pursued by a mysterious ‘Third Man’ trafficking something in stuffed rabbits, and finally meeting ‘the doctor’, an eighty year old urologist Strangelove type figure, who ‘uriposia’ therapy is based around the enthusiastic collection and imbibing of urine .

Download: Reading Plays – Episode 3 – Baltimore Waltz

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 – Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

The Lonesome West – Episode 2 – Reading Plays

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This weeks play – Lonesome West by Martin McDonagh.

Lonesome West is part of Connemara triology, along with Beauty Queen of Leenane and A Skull in Connemara. Published 1997, Methuen Drama. First performed Jun 11th, 1997 at Druid Theatre in Galway, in a coproduction with London’s Royal Court Theatre. Went on to Broadway in 1999, where it was nominated for Tonys for Best Play, and Best Actor.

Set in the post-apocalyptic town of Leenane, with the apocalypse in question being the destruction of the mythological Irish West, and its explication on stage in particular.

McDonagh’s play captures something of the grim reality of the gravity hole of Ireland. This is a desecrated space, a world in which the rare old characters of post colonial Ireland, collide with a Tarantinoesque modernity drenched in stylised violence, substance abuse, and sexual possibilities both intriguing and forever denied to it’s protagonists.

Download: Reading Plays – Episode 2 – The Lonesome West

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 – Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel.

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.

Oleanna – Episode 1 – Reading Plays

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This weeks play – Oleanna by David Mamet.

First produced 1992 (stage), 1994 (film) starring William H. Macy & Rebecca Pidgeon. Oleanna was controversial on release and remains so, as it deals with issues of sexual harassment and rape. Mamet’s interest in these themes arose out of the media circus surrounding the nomination of American Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas. The play features two characters John and Carol – a university lecturer and his student, whose mutual misunderstandings and power plays descend into dark accusations and violence.

This is the first in a new series for Radiomade.ie. ‘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 – ‘The Lonesome West‘ by Martin McDonagh.

Download: Reading Plays – Episode 1 – Oleanna

Music – Amor & Psyche – by Bitwise Operator.