Spectacular….Great Buzz…Astonishing

‘Magnificent’,  ‘Marvellous,’  and ‘Astounding’…now I know why I read these words so often on bill boards and theatre headlines…they are the words that must be used in connection with a truly brilliant theatre performance! I don’t know why, but I feel I must put them to use.

I went to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night at the Bord Gais this week and it was truly ‘extraordinary’. I think it is a National Theatre production (UK) which is on tour, so if you get a chance, do go. The production is very faithful to the book by Mark Haddon and is beautifully acted and choreographed. The actor playing the role of Christopher Boon (the autistic child) was Connor Curren. He was absolutely amazing. I was in the front row and could see the sweat, spit, and muscle he put into the performance. Seriously, at the end of the show, I was wiping away the tears.

It was cleverly produced. I read the book twenty five years ago…and what stood out for me was the journey taken by the boy from Swindon to London. On stage, they danced the crowds, whistled the wind, and truly achieved the whirlwind of pushing, shoving, stumbling that you get at rush hour on the tube.

The set was ‘extraordinary’! The stage was a perfect square, made up of electronic tiles which became star constellations through which Christopher flew (with the helping hands of the troupe). The set accommodated and was able to convey beautifully the rational, logistical inside of Christy’s head. All the acting was superb, though for me, Connor stood out.

The book must be on the school curriculum for the theatre was full of school kids. This can sometimes be a mixed blessing (at The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, a child sitting behind decided to practice her hairdressing skills on me) but in this auditorium you could hear a pin drop! If you get a chance, go and see it.

The other ‘spectacular’ event this week was National Poetry Day. Poetry Ireland do a great job facilitating the celebration of poetry, and their supports for National Poetry Day was great. They are so helpful and supportive, I almost expected to see staff turn up at my front door offering to help me with the baking of the Lemon Drizzle and Ginger cakes and concoction of the fruit punch! The Town Hall is also just a brilliant venue. We are very lucky to have it in Cavan. I had chosen to hold the poetry party in the small reception/kitchen area because I didn’t think too many people would come (I had received a fair few apologies), but we ended up having to squeeze more chairs in and people were hanging out at the door, tongues out (the cakes were at the other end). The poetry was brilliant, some home grown, but we also had Emily Bronte, Noel Monaghan, and a few recitations. I can’t thank enough Aisling from the Town Hall, Breege O’Brien and Jerry Fitzpatrick for the tea making, photos, hosting and crowd control!!!


Thank You, World

2017 has been good to me, so far. My mother would say that by announcing this, I am putting its future in jeopardy! But to hell with caution, my yellow daffodil of spring wants to trumpet!

I have funding from Cavan Arts Office for a fourth series of AT The Edge this year, and not only that, we have nine brilliant readers (think cat and cream and you have the right image of me here). The first on Tuesday 2 May will see Cavan welcome Kate Dempsey, Colm Keegan and Helena Mulkerns. In August, Maurice Devitt, Stephen James (tbc) and Lisa Frank and in October, Afric McGlinchey, Mairead Donnellan, and Brian Kirk. I am so looking forward to seeing them all in Cavan.

So, I was surprised when another Cavan Arts Office envelope plopped down into the porch of The Bungalow last week – the porch is where I occasionally sit when my muse goes awol. I smoke, keep an eye on the neighbours, and watch for what my garden is growing. Anyway, this envelope from Cavan Arts Office was telling me that I had been given a professional development award to get a mentor to help me finalise my first novel and collection of short stories. This was brilliant news which came at a very good time for me as my muse has been more missing than musing recently. Not writing is another ‘art’ of writing that my mentor may have to help me with! In fact, in the past few months, I have spent more time submitting material (thanks to Angela Carr for her circulation of submission and competition deadlines) and editing my early stories. It has been alarming but interesting to see how raw and unkempt my early short stories are; a raggle taggle of cock tales in sore need of pickles and extra shots! I vaguely wonder, how I know this. When and how did I learn the craft? More to the point, what exactly did I learn so I can do it now? I’m hoping my mentor who has much more experience than I will be able to tell me!

Anyway, that is not all! There is more good news. We are having a poetry party in Cavan at the Town Hall Arts Centre on Poetry Day, Ireland (Thursday 27 April at 6.30pm). The Town Hall has just received good news too. It has received three quarters of a million euro from the Department to refurbish the listed building. They plan to install poets on every landing to recite poetry every thirty minutes (not really, I’m just getting carried away). So, we having a poetry party to celebrate Poetry Day, Ireland, but not just a poetry party, we’re having a poetry and cake party. What better way to spend a few hours on National Poetry Day, reading poetry and eating cake!

So, this Spring is good, and I want to say thanks. Thanks to Crannóg in Galway, the Lakeview International Journal, Anomaly, and the Honest Ulsterman for publishing four of my short stories.  I loved reading at the Crannog launch in Galway last Friday. My son, Joe, said there were two women who were crying with laughter. I could hear their guffaws and it was very encouraging, so thank you to them. (The story is Irish Mothers, Beware and you can read it in this edition of Crannóg (http://www.crannogmagazine.com/). Thank you to Cavan Arts Office for supporting At The Edge, Cavan, and myself. Thank you to all the readers who are prepared to come to Cavan and read. Thank you to Nuala, and all the local poets who come to my own poetry workshops, and thank you for reading this blog. I should also thank my family, and Poppins, my dog, and, Ciaran, the postman who brings such good news and is nice about Poppins barking at him, and oh, my mother! I should thank my mother!