I have never been to the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. To my shame. I have made tear stained, fist-clenched vows to myself that I must rectify this. To date that has not happened. The Gaiety owing to its size attracts large, expensive shows. As a result ticket prices tend to be prohibitive. Unlike the Abbey Theatre, which often sells tickets as part of promotion,or at a heavy discount for early booking, the Gaiety doesn’t seem to have the same offers. So forlornly I still wait, for my glamourous debut as a Gaiety audience member.
The Gaiety Theatre runs an acting school – cunningly entitled The Gaiety School of Acting. This school is in a separate location. It is located beside Smock Alley Theatre in Temple Bar. I’ve been to the theatre there – most recently last night. Just not to the mothership near St. Stephen’s Green.
The school has a black box theatre with an audience capacity of about seventy people. Last night it held a showcase of short, original pieces by the level three class at the school. Admittance was a tenner – a bargain. And the proceeds of the show would go towards the class’s summer show.
I entered the theatre, with my stylish manbag swishing in my wake. The performers were already on stage – five seated on either side. Not moving. Their faces solemn. I recognised a few of them from my adventures in the dark underbelly of the Dublin theatre scene. Resisting the urge to wave at the people I know, I took my seat. Distracting an actor minutes before showtime is not a kind or sensible action. They need to focus.
When the show began, one by one each of the performers emerged from the sidelines and performed their self written piece. Each lasted approximately five minutes.
With any sort of showcase you cannot really predict what you are going to get. The stories and themes naturally change for each piece. Ten stories, ten actors, ten moods. The staging, lighting and scene changes were all very sharp, and there were no visible malfunctions – that’s always a bonus/
Some of the pieces were very strong.
My personal favourites were ‘The taming of the pubes’ by Dympna Heffernan – a hilarious account of the perils the modern woman faces when engaged in personal grooming. Theatre can be educational. I had no idea about any of this topiary. I predict a glorious future for Ms. Heffernan. I can see her on stage in fake tan and leopard-print, in her near future in fact.
Jason Dowdall’s piece ‘The Barman’ was excellent. Half of his face was painted in kabuki style, as he played a barman calling last orders. In a flowing silk Japanese robe and walking stick. Done in a slow motion style, which included a mimed fight sequence it was both incredibly funny and fantastically executed.
Eilis O’Sullivan’s piece ‘Adore you’ saw her playing a young woman getting ready for a night out. Things take a shocking turn.
All told it was a very enjoyable evening by talented performers. I hope to see them all on the Gaiety main stage very soon.