Tag Archives: drama

A Definite Daffodil

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Just got news that my KCLR 96fm radio drama series The Daffodil has been given the funding nod by Broadcasting Authority of Ireland – should be hitting the studio in October. Oh yeah!

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Fringe thus far…

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I’ve been thoroughly entertained for a week both by the festival itself and by old friends I’ve met up with (planned and unexpected) and so far this trip has been a 2013 highlight. Edinburgh Fringe is a swirling, bubbling, boiling concoction of the performing arts. And I’m dizzy. There are, I’m told, 45,000 shows here over the month of August and, it seems, every single one of these shows is represented on The Royal Mile by a clown juggling on a unicycle, dishing out flyers as she goes. It’s overwhelming. And it’s unique.

With so much on offer, there’s  always going to be a wide range re quality and it’s difficult to make a decision re what to view when all you have are lists and lists and lists of names. I’ve been advised to stick to a few venues that are known for picking quality shows and then I also chose on the basis of my own taste/interest/content (ie my novel involves a lot of juggling, so I went to see a juggling show).  But even with this advice in hand, the results were not quite what I expected.

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The juggling show has so far been the hands down (‘scuse pun) best theatre I’ve seen at the Fringe so far. ‘Smashed’ by the Gandini Jugglers at the Assembly Hall is a hybrid of dance and juggling which manages to be smug-ironic funny, thought provoking, skilful, thoughtful, entertaining and just the right amount of crazy. And I only went there for juggling research purposes! Unexpected delight. Five stars for ‘Smashed’.

And I’ll give a four star review to ‘The Events’ at the Traverse. The Traverse has a reputation for picking the cream of the crop and scooping up Fringe firsts. This is a play that raises questions that linger in the mind long after the performance – which is what art should do. The performances by the two professional actors are outstanding and the writing is clever and weaves and juxtaposes opposing philosophies. The Events uses a local choir partly to sing, partly to act out ‘members of the public’. They don’t try to be anything but reading-off-the-page-with-a-mike, non-actors which while I admired what the production was trying to achieve, I felt these moments jarred too much with the rest of the performance. Also, the cynic in me wondered if the non-professionals were funding donkeys – something which only works if you can make it feel right and I don’t quite think this quite did. Still, it’s a small quibble in an otherwise excellent piece of theatre.  Zoe Lyons, at the Assembly rooms also gets four stars. Her comedy is keenly observed simple truths about life, warmly told.

Three stars to ‘The Secret Agent’ at the Traverse. This production was popping with good ideas, visually interesting, beautiful moments of choreography, funny comedy, high drama etc… the problem was that the piece never really figured out its own identity and ended up being rather a blancmange of genre, each one pulling against the next and the audience and production lost the plot, quite literally.

And two stars to ‘Tell me the Truth about Love’ at Underbelly’s Topside. Much like with the Gandinis I went there for Auden research purposes and this is his work put to music (inspired by the rhythm in his poetry) and sung in a Noel Cowardesque manner. The idea was interesting, the material good but somehow it fell down on the delivery and the result was Brideshead camp and monotonous after a fashion.

Obviously, I’ve only seen a few grains of sugar in a bowl full of performance – And there’s still a week to go! Oh, and thanks to Colette (comment on previous article) for the dining tips – Spoon for lunch and Kilimanjaro for coffee are ace – maybe see you there.

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I’m in the Mooovies!

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Well, ok, not the mooovies, rather I’m on the radio…

Yep, I’ve got the first broadcast date for my radio drama, ‘Cow’. It will air just after the 11am news (local time in Ireland) on Easter Monday on KCLR 96fm (yes, that’s April 1st – and no, this is not an April Fool’s) – here’s the scoop:

‘Cow’ concerns ‘Agi’, a beautiful Hungarian woman, arrives on Clearys’ farm, Glenmore, Co. Kilkenny, to work as a mushroom picker. The Clearys’ already strained, childless marriage appears under further threat by her presence, however an unlikely friendship develops between Marie Cleary and Agi, leading both women to a new world view.

‘Cow’ is a contemporary radio drama which explores immigration into rural Ireland and the social perceptions of women, both immigrant and native. And, in a light hearted fashion, the play views rural Irish cultural mainstays through the eyes of the bemused foreigner.

To listen, go to kclr96fm.com and click on the listen live button. It may take a minute or two to configure.


It’s The Way You Tell ‘Em

Jokes! Jokes are a great source of plot ideas. An established writer gave me this tip years ago and it has served me well.

Jokes, you see, are plots in miniature. Stories sealed up and ready to go. You’ve got your beginning, middle, end, your conflict, your characters – flaws and all. All you’ve got to do is flesh it out. Expland on it. Change gender and setting if possible. And no, it doesn’t have to be funny because many jokes (indeed, stories) need an element of tragedy to make comedy (and vice vearsa) and you can just crank up the aspect you want to emphasize.

Here’s a joke that gave me an idea for a short story recently shortlisted for a competition:

“It was Ryan’s funeral and the pallbearers were carrying the casket out from the church. When they bumped into a pillar, one of them heard a moan from inside the coffin. They opened the lid and found Ryan alive. He lived for another ten years before he properly died. Another funeral was held for him and, as the pallbearers were carrying out the coffin, Mrs Ryan shouted “Now, watch out for that pillar!”

OK, it’s the way ya tell ‘em… But the point is that they don’t have to be the funniest jokes – just so long as there is a story in there, a universal truth with which your readers will react and engage. Wordplay/puns won’t work so well, go for the story…

Here’s another one you can chew on for a story idea (it goes down well in the creative writing classes I give in an English prison…)

The defendant knew he didn’t have a prayer of beating the murder rap, so he bribed one of the jurors to find him guilty of manslaughter. The jury was out for days before they finally returned a verdict of manslaughter. Afterward the defendant asked, ‘How come it took you so long?’ the juror said, ‘All the others wanted to acquit’.Image


Have A Go…

Writing Competitions with a February/March deadline:

Let spring in...

Right, that’s January out of the way – a month where one recovers from Christmas. In fact, I’ve always found it a rather silly month in which to make plans and resolutions, as one doesn’t feel like doing much when it’s brass monkeys outside. February, however, is a different matter. In Ireland, February 1st, St. Bridget’s Day, is the first of spring. There’s not a helluva lot of differnce between winter and spring (or indeed summer) in Ireland – but it is the concept that is important. On February 1st, I get moving again.

And, if I’m moving, I’ve got to enter some comps. So, let’s have a look at competitions with deadlines running up until the end of March. You’ll notice that many of these are Irish competitions, this is partly because, obviously, I’m Irish and these are the comps I know of, but also because the short story and story telling is held in such esteem in Ireland, it’s got to have more writing contests per square foot than any other district of the universe. However, if you have information regarding prizes, contests or awards with a deadline before March 31st, running in your country  – please feel free to add/comment.

Finally, please note that I’m merely collating information posted elsewhere on the Internet. I am not responsible for or affiliated with any of these competitions and have no more information than that on the website listed. Please do not send your entries to me and please do not write to ask about the specifics of individual contests. I won’t know. It’s best to go to the website address provided and inquire there.

And good luck!!!

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition

Prize: £500 plus a place on an Arvon course

Entry Fee: n/a

Deadline: February 14th 2012.

Website: http://www.writersandartists.co.uk

 

Irish Post/Stena Line Writing Competition

Prize: £500 & free travel to Listowel Writers’ Festival in Co. Kerry.

Entry Fee: £n/a

Deadline: 2nd March 2012

Website: http://www.irishpost.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=100

NOTE: Only open to Irish/Irish descent resident in Britain (ie the theme concerns the Irish immigrant experience in the UK).

The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Competition

Prize: €2,000

Entry Fee: €10.00

Deadline: 2nd March 2012

Website: http://writersweek.ie/the-bryan-mcmahon-short-story-competition

The Writers’ Week Originals Competition

Prize: €750

Entry Fee: €10.00

Deadline: 2nd March 2012

Website: http://writersweek.ie/writers-week-originals-competition

 

The Eamon Keane Full Length Play Competition

Prize: €500

Entry Fee: €20.00

Deadline: 2nd March 2012

Website: http://writersweek.ie/eamon-keane-full-length-play

 

Twisted Stringybark Short Story Award 2012

Prize: $300 AUS plus publication

Entry Fee: $9.75 AUS

Deadline: 4th March 2012

Website: http://www.stringybarkstories.net/The_Stringybark_Short_Story_Award

 

Cúirt New Writing Prize 2012

Prize: €500

Entry Fee: €10

Deadline: 5th March 2012

Website: http://www.cuirt.ie/component/content/article/3-newsflash/70-cuirt-new-writing-prize-2012

 

Limnisa / Bluethumbnail SHORT STORY Competition

Prize: One week full board writers’ retreat at LIMNISA

Entry Fee: £6

Deadline: March 15th, 2012

Website: http://www.bluethumbnail.com/Author/competitionpage.html

 

Mslexia 2012 Women’s Short Story Competiton

Prize: £2,000

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: 19th March 2012

Website: http://mslexia.co.uk

 

Molly Keane Memorial Creative Writing Award (I won this last year!)

Prize: €500

Entry Fee: n/a

Deadline: 26th March 2012

Website: http://www.mollykeanewritersretreats.com/2012writingaward.htm

 

PJ O’Connor Radio Drama Awards

Prize: Professional production of the best three 40-minute plays with 5,000 to Winner

Entry Fee: n/a

Deadline: 30th March 2012

Website: http://www.rte.ie/radio1/pjoconnorawards/

 

The Bristol Short Story Prize

Prize: £1,000

Entry Fee: £7

Deadline: March 31st 2012.

Website: http://www.bristolprize.co.uk

 

Plymouth University’s Short Fiction Competition

Prize: £500

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: March 31st 2012.

Website: http://www.shortfictionjournal.co.uk/

 

The Moth Short Story Prize

Prize: 1,000

Entry Fee: 8

Deadline: March 31st 2012.

Website: http://www.themothmagazine.com

 

The Short Fiction Journal Prize

Prize: £500 plus publication

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: March 31st 2012.

Website: http://www.shortfictionjournal.co.uk/competition.html

And finally… not a competition per se, but a chance to have your work published in leading literary magazine. The Stinging Fly are accepting submissions up until March 31st: http://www.stingingfly.org/about-us/submission-guidelines