Why oh why has Irish Theatre gone down the tubes? All we get in Dublin is safe conventional plays that do no service to Theatre - especially when three former prime ministers and a bunch of their co-horts have been found guilty by The Mahon of Tribunal of corruption and forced - one jump ahead of being put out of Fine Gael.
Theatre in Ireland used to have fire in its belly [Abbey Theatre riots etc] but now the theatrical community seem happy being conformist and not rocking the boat - to get their grants form the government. He who pays the piper - etc.
What a shame. Interesting you should say safe. I sent a play of mine to a theatre in Dublin. It follows two women who join the 'cause' following Easter Rising. I got a very detailed critique back. Their harshest...I was too hard on the British.
There is no one commissioning. Time was the Peacock Theatre did 6 new plays a year and at least one would deal with present day politics. The present director of the Abbey has to close the peacock because he's too many staff working there and funding has been cut also.
Weird. I'm going to Ireland at the end of summer. In North America, in an Irish Bar you'll find Irish music. I've been told to expect C&W in Ireland. Also, here, there are a ton of theatres that do Irish plays by Irish playwrights, dead and alive.
No grants from the Irish again this year. Culture Ireland who are supposed to encourage Irish art abroad have had their funding cut as well as Downes leaving.
Yet, only in tonight Irish Times (I read it when the Irish are asleep) they are stories about civil servants who took the pensions and early retirement and now been re-employed by the government, one of them getting 60K for six months work.
Personally, I blame the words. There's generally too many of them in the typical Irish play, and usually too few people delivering them. Ten or twelve thousand sentences and most contain a profanity. That adds up to a lot of "shites", "fecks" and "bollix's". - Swearing has always been a substitute for humour in Ireland.
For a while there was a bit of a movement against the SFB quotient. Irish writers tried, and in some cases succeeded, in purging their plays of SFB, but audience opposition was stiff, especially in London where the roguish stage Hibernian is expected to gush on for hours in a kinetic narco-frenzy about his hatred for the Catholic church and his enduring love for Guinness and masturbation.
As an Irish writer myself, I have one simple rule of comedy: "How do I know something is funny? I laughed out loud when I wrote it. -- How do I know something is not funny? I saw it in the Abbey." And that's the feckin' truth.