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Irish Theatre is Rejuvenating

9781472576699Patrick Lonergan has recently written a piece in the Irish Times about his new book “Contemporary Irish Plays – A New Anthology“. Patrick is┬áProfessor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway.

The piece was particularity interesting in its appraisal of the current output from new writing in Irish theatre in light of a difficult few years.

Patrick Lonergan outlines in his piece that from around 2005 until quiet recently, new writing and challenging theatre went a bit quieter than usual.

In 2005, Irish theatre had one of its worst ever years… Dublin Theatre Festival failed to produce a new Irish play for the first time ever… the Abbey Theatre almost went out of business.

Whether the country is moving to a point of closure politically, economically or social in relation to whatever went on over the past 15 year, well, any such talk would really be premature, but it is probably fair to say that we are perhaps only at the beginning of the end.

Theatre will very often try to put a mirror up to nature and force us the audience to engage and question ourselves. During Ireland’s crises, there have perhaps been far to many questions and too few answers. So much has been bubbling underneath, namely, the truth in relation to what the hell has been going on nationally and personally.

We read with great joy and expectation that the fortunes of Irish Theatre is changing and the future is brighter. This gives the theatre-going public great encouragement…

Theatre excels at helping us to address our own personal or collective issues, in a sense, helping us discover our true position or opinion – one that is not populist or obvious. This function of theatre is no doubt why so many of us hold this medium of expression in such high regard. Irish Theatre has a reputation for doing just this and it seems there is signs of a return to form by our writers.

Most Irish plays invite us to identify with their characters from the relatively safe distance of an auditorium, but Lowe instead demands that we immerse ourselves fully into her production.

In a country struggling to come to terms with issues of culpability, agency and responsibility, Boys of Foley Street thus forces the audience to think about their own decision-making – one of the many reasons why it felt so urgent and essential when it premiered.

Read the full article at http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/was-the-demise-of-the-celtic-tiger-the-saviour-of-irish-theatre-1.2109647