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Here’s a look at another of the shows from our In The Future When All’s Well residency here in No.76. This shows one of the more popular scenes from Shifting by John Kennedy wherein the characters at the party take part in a little bit of late night Bohemian Rhapsody. Par for the course at most parties isn’t it? If you missed the show, it gives a good indication of the set for the play and how we changed the formation from Scratcher.

Shifting played April 18th – 23rd this year in Kilkenny Arts Office.

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The following review appears in the current edition (July 8th 2011) of The Munster Express, penned by Liam Murphy who was in attendance at the Monday performance of Smitten. We would like to thank Liam and The Munster Express for taking the time out to travel to Kilkenny for each of Scratcher, Shifting and Smitten as part of our residency here at No. 76 and carrying words like these in the papers. The online world can only get you so far and we’re absolutely aware of and thankful for the support of traditional and broadcast media throughout the residency and the past five years of The Devious Theatre Company.

John Morton and Suzanne O'Brien in Smitten

The Review

The excellent Devious Theatre Company completed their residency with Kilkenny Arts Office with an updating of another John Morton play – Smitten – a Kilkenny love story, a play that wants to be a musical. As ever there is a newness, a freshness, an in-your faceness about Devious that does not have a Waterford equivalent – mores the pity. They seem to assemble excellent casts, time after time and convert spaces into site-specific performance places.

Smitten is a contemporary love story, as evocative as the movie Love Actually and as episodic. But by introducing a song and dance approach you got a trivialisation that is the staple of moon and June, Singing In The Rain type shows.

In Act I the stage changes to song and dance mixed with sketch type Fast Show routines diluted the contemporary mes- sage and even the bad guys and girls were beneath it all, good people – In The Future When All’s Well.

However, in Act II a more edgy darker story emerged but drunks were good drunks addicts didn’t OD and people agreed to begin again, give it another go, another lash as it were. Once again, the individual work of the ten person cast was impressive.

Director and writer John Morton played a pivotal role as easy-going tattoos Tommy but maybe this was a dance too far. Amy Dunne was a wonderful contradiction as the librarian who swore a lot. Ken McGuire was Dave the unemployed, remorseful drunk and he made the most of his appearances. David Thompson becomes characters and I loved his emigrating carpenter whose hands were always in bandages. He was the accident that kept on happening. Suzanne O’Brien was luminous as the ditsy Daffney Molloy was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz but there was no Yellow Brick Road in Kilkenny. However, it was Annette O’Shea as Clare the nurse who went and came back that brought a quality to an amazing place. I felt the standing ovation was particularly for her and a theatre company who make new theatre, obviously.

The day has arrived. D-day. Or S-day, depending on how you look at it. In just under 8 hours time we’ll be kicking off Smitten, the latest and final installment of our In The Future When All’s Well theatrical residency here at No. 76.

The seats are in, the venue has been dressed, the lights are hung, the stage is set, there’s all kinds of cables running to all kinds of places but most importantly, Smitten is ready to go for Kilkenny audiences.

It’s already ten days since we performed Smitten at Solstice as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival and ten days on we’ve added a scene or two, a light or two, and installed the show quite comfortably back into what’s been our home for the past six months.

On the show itself, it’s well worth noting that it does contain strong language and sexual references throughout. We’re advising a minimum age of 16, with parental discretion advised. Doors will open at 7:30pm, seating can be filled from 7:40pm and the show will commence at 8:00pm. Due to the nature of the show and venues, latecomers will not be admitted until a suitable break in the performance (interval). There will be one interval of 10 minutes maximum for folk to stretch legs, grab a breath of fresh air with smoking permitted outside the building only.

Tonight marks the first of a seven night run for the show, building on Scratcher (five nights) and Shifting (six nights) in order to facilitate demand for the work produced over the course of the residency. Our thanks to everyone who’s made the opening night possible, especially Mary and Niamh here at No. 76, Maeve Butler (Cillin Hill, seating), Vincent Dempsey and all at Barnstorm Theatre (Rostrum for tiered seating) and of course, you. Without you, we wouldn’t be doing the work we do.

A limited amount of tickets priced just €8 are available for tonight’s show, booking on 086 1048191 or in person at the Arts Office until 6pm and pre-show from 7:30pm. We hope you’ll be entertained!

Smitten performs June 26 – July 2 here at No. 76 John Street. Buy your tickets online, reserve via mobile on 086 1048191 or 056 7794138 (office hours). The box office is open 10am – 6pm daily with tickets for the week priced just €12. For more, visit DeviousTheatre.com.

A question for every member of the cast of our current play Smitten.

Ken McGuire (Dave / Producer)

What was your reaction to the uptake of singing and dancing in this version?

I’m all over it. There wasn’t half enough dancing in Cannibal! (2007) and the last time I danced on stage I wound up getting shot in the head as a result. I learned my lesson. Flash forward four years though and I’m looking forward to it. The dance rehearsals have been good craic and fair play to Gemma for putting up with us for the past few weeks. If you’re able to get over the fact that you’re dancing and prancing around like an eejit, then you’re sorted.

Amy Dunne (Cat)

Considering you’ve done 2 plays as part of the same season. Have you found any similarities with the concerns of your character here and your character in Scratcher?

Similar to Cat, McC was frustrated and wanted to take control of her situation. Cat is alot more reserved in her emotions but still manages to get her point across. McC however is alot more spontaneous in her actions and doesn’t think things through as much. McC would definitely beat Cat in a physical fight but I’d imagine Cat would tear McC to shreds verbally. They’re great ladies really!

John Morton (Writer / Director / Tommy)

So where next for Smitten? A book? The big screen? Another version in three years time with even more dancing and singing?

I’d love to do it again in 3 years but I think it would probably be more beneficial to use the same characters when I’m in my 30’s to talk about my 30’s. I have a screenplay and there has been some interest in it (which is me not trying to jinx it by saying from where) so I think ideally, I’d love to see it being made into a film. But yeah, I’ve been writing those characters since I was 17 and I figure I’ll get a lot more out of them. Whether people want to listen to them or not is another thing entirely.

Kevin Mooney (Niall)

Having directed and produced so many plays for us, were you excited to just be acting this time?

Yes. It’s nice to just worry about your own performance. I haven’t been onstage in quite a while though, so I was a bit nervous about getting back into it and shaking the dust off. But I’m really enjoying concentrating on the acting side of things. It’s been both relieving and terrifying.

Lynsey Moran (Ailbe)

Do you think the play gives an accurate view of Kilkenny? Or just not at all?

This play does show a side to Kilkenny, the side that we see when we’re in our twenties and do not know where our lives are going! Kilkenny is a beautiful place but like every twenty year old, we all need to leave at some point!

David Thompson (Kevin)

You weren’t in Smitten the last time. Seriously, what did you think of it?

I sat with Eddie Brennan who kept making snide remarks about the actors, he thoroughly ruined my theatrical experience. When he wasn’t talking, I really liked it, and all my friends were in it! This Smitten is much better though…

Maria Murray (Bronagh)

How have you found dance rehearsals on this production?

I have this theory that John and Gemma have actually collaborated to dance us all to death. Feeling a pain in places I never knew existed. But it is so much fun but fast, so many fast dances. Thursday mornings were my favourite rehearsals because at least when you were doing something embarrassing everybody else was right there doing it as well.

Annette O’Shea (Claire)

Your character Claire is pretty much the lead in this production. How have you been finding it?

The lead? I think it’s more of an ensemble! I have been finding it… tough I guess. But very exciting and exhilarating, the craic is had everyday.  I never take for granted how lucky I am to be working with such a brilliant company and so to be apart of that ensemble is fantastic. I am just out of college going into an uncertain business in an uncertain time so to be blessed with acting work of a professional standard is great. I get to work with amazing actors and an amazing company who have taught me so much. I am currently going through a time of great transition in my own life, like Claire, so I can certainly relate to her situation in a small way. That helps. I am really looking forward to getting onstage and giving Claire a chance to say her piece.

Jack O’Leary (Tony)

So, what’s your favourite musical and why?

Coincidentally enough The Wizard Of Oz because of the very clear literal views on what the characters are, view and want. Its actually quite simplistic and basic story telling but with a unique sugar coating that I’ve never seen before… Also it works really well with Dark Side of The Moon when you’re baked.

Suzanne O’Brien (Daffney Molloy)

You’re being well kept out of all the promotion (apart from this). How does that feel?

Ah sure lookit, it’s grand. It’s fun to be the character who’s doing something a little different to everyone else.

Smitten plays Kilkenny Arts Office from June 26th – July 2nd at 8pm nightly. It marks the final part of their In The Future When All’s Well residency. Tickets can be bought here in the Arts Office or booked on 0861048191. Online bookings can be made at tickets.devioustheatre.com

We had our first (and possibly last) poster and promo shoot for Smitten this past weekend.

It was a tight squeeze timewise on Saturday night but we managed to get a large amount of content, both for our poster and for a series of promo photos and images. Bases were covered all round!

It was also the first time we had all 10 members of the cast in costume and looking like their characters so it was doubly exciting. Our crack team of theatre professionals worked overtime to get everything up to speed and between props, make up and costume the look of the Smitten characters was brought roaring to life. It’s really at this point in a production where it starts to come to life as the actors finally get to grips with their costumes and how they look.

Again, it was another green screen job like the Shifting poster before it. We set up 3 green screens (2 for backdrop and 1 for the floor) in No. 76 on Saturday afternoon, spent a few hours lighting it and test shooting and then we let fly with the promo shots.

We tried hitting the town to get some exterior promo shots but rain + Kilkenny City on a Saturday night = Disaster. So we had to abort mission before returning back to the Arts Office to complete our shoot.

The concept of the poster is going to be very much in the style of a 1950’s movie poster and like the teaser poster has a whole load of rain and umbrellas. We’ll keep it all under wraps (and the characters) until the big reveal later on this week.

Keep an eye tuned in here and on the Devious Theatre website.

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Art at No. 76

The aim and focus of the Art Residency at No. 76 is to enable the successful applicant to research and develop their practice. Other aims of the residency are to: give insights into how and why artists create their work, build relationships and further promote the Arts, provide an awareness and further appreciation of the Arts, cultivate and develop new audiences. The Kilkenny Arts Office is part of ArtLinks.ie

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