Archive for the ‘Theatre’ Category

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Shakespeare

In Theatre on April 24, 2010 by Miche

Like most people, I was introduced to Shakespeare at school. So I hated him. It is a terrible disservice to any writer to put them on a syllabus.*

(*Fuck off, pedant. I used singular “them” because the default “him” is sexist and “him or her” is rhythmically wrong.)

I was in my late teens by the time I came to see the sainted Wm as a confrere – a proper living writer, rather than a bust on a shelf. In a fit of self-improvement I bought three Everyman volumes of his works from a second-hand bookshop, and I read a play every Sunday for half a year. Even so, it was only when I had the chance to act in one of his plays (Romeo and Juliet, Ulster Youth Theatre) that I began to appreciate his craftmanship. The following year I played Prospero in The Tempest – a part I’d dearly love to revisit – and had a crash course in literary spelunking: I was still discovering depths and nuances in the role two years after the show closed.

I haven’t done as many Shakespeare plays as I’d like. I had a great time doing Comedy of Errors at the Abbey: there’s a special thrill that comes from a warm wave of laughter, and I felt priveleged to be the deliverer of gags written by a man nearly 500 years dead. I was an indifferent Lorenzo in an indifferent production of The Merchant of Venice. I disappointed some by playing Ross, in Macbeth, the way Shakespeare wrote the part. Before I die I want to play Malvolio, Richard II and Richard III. And another go at Prospero, please.

PS: There are twats who insist that Shakespeare can’t have written Shakespeare’s work because he was a yokel with no formal education. They construct elaborate scenarios involving the Earl of Oxford, or the faking-dead Kit Marlowe, or some such nonsense. The proper response to such people is pointing and laughing.

PPS: If you don’t think Shakespeare was a great writer, have a look at this:

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

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Building a Better Belfast

In Theatre,Words on May 4, 2009 by Miche Tagged: , ,

[Something I wrote a while ago for Kabosh Theatre Co for a Titanic commemoration event. Character is a bored tour guide. Time: 2012]

Spirit of Harmony

Spirit of Harmony

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome on board for our Titanic Centenary tour. On this site just over a hundred years ago the White Star Liner R.M.S. Titanic was launched from Slip number three. She was 882 feet eight inches long and ninety-two feet wide. She had two steam reciprocating engines and one turbine engine, with a total horsepower of 51,000. She had 24 double ended boilers and 5 single ended boilers, for a total of 159 furnaces. The Titanic carried twenty lifeboats plus 3560 life belts and 49 life buoys. She also had a swimming pool, the first on a ship, plus a Turkish bath and a squash court.

The hull shell plating on Titanic was 1″ thick. The anchors weighed 31 tons in total. Over three million rivets were used in the construction of the ship, not counting six that were thrown at an unpopular foreman when his back was turned. The rudder weighed 101 tons and was made from six separate parts.

The ship was built by Harland and Wolff, which had a workforce of 14,000. Three of them were Catholic. All of them wore dunchers. Seventy-three percent ate fried soda farls at least five times a week; thirty-one per cent on any given day had jam in their piece, while only 4.2 per cent had egg and onion. Twelve per cent of those over thirty had their own teeth. They lived in humble and often insanitary conditions but had a strong community spirit. They never locked their doors except when commiting incest.

Belfast cranes

Nowadays, of course, the Titanic Quarter is a dynamic and imaginative, mixed use, city centre quarter for Belfast, providing employment for tour guides, baristas, estate agents and many more. A new dedicated berth for visiting cruise liners provides a highly attractive first impression of Belfast for tourists, delaying for up to an hour the unpleasantness of the second impression. Within the Quarter over six hundred litres of mocha latte are consumed every day. It has been estimated that all the paninis sold in a single week, if laid end to end, would stretch half way to Larne. The density of web developers per square mile is the highest in Ireland outside Rathmines. The Quarter now generates over fifty new logos and thirty-five Flash-based advertisements per week. It is estimated that by 2020, daily production of bullshit will have passed 100 cubic metres.

To celebrate the centenary of the Titanic’s launch, a massive project has been underway and is almost reaching fruition. If you look to your left you will see it just coming into view: what will, when it is complete, be a perfect symbol of the regeneration and rebirth of Belfast… the biggest cappuccino ever made. 882 feet eight inches high and ninety-two feet wide at the top. There is no truth – I repeat, no truth – in the rumour that it has been described as “undrinkable.”

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Where the Shoe Pinches

In Me,Theatre on June 13, 2008 by Miche

Just a quick heads-up that I’m taking part in a rehearsed reading for Tinderbox in the Pick & Mix Festival at the OMAC. Where the Shoe Pinches is by John McClelland. It’s a really good piece, based on the life and work of  the Czech poet Miroslav Holub. Saturday at 7pm, and again on Sunday at 2pm.