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After 6 months, 3 shows, nearly 50 cast and crew, over 1,000 audience members and endless cups of tea, we at Devious Theatre have completed our residency in Kilkenny Arts Office.
It’s been an amazing, fantastic and hugely enjoyable ride and we’ve loved every second of it. It has really helped push us as a company and given us a platform from which we can engage with the next few years of our work.
The get out of No. 76 was a tough mistress and we were very sad to be packing, painting and rebuilding. But it was made all the sweeter by the news that we’ve acquired our own fulltime base in The Maltings off James Street. So we won’t be returning to our old homeless, guerrilla ways!
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mary Butler, Niamh Finn and Kilkenny Co. Council for all the amazing support and opportunities that they’ve given us over not just the last 6 months but the past few years. We couldn’t have done this without ye.
To the future, when all is well!
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.
We’ve been working overtime on turning No. 76 into Kilkenny’s nicest, prettiest black box theatre space over the past few days and we’re nearly there!
It’s been a tough few days building, drilling, plotting, lifting, staging, teching, lighting, tea drinking, dancing, dressing, painting and theatre making but we’re on schedule to open Smitten tomorrow night with a bang.
The logistics of lighting the building have been completely different as we don’t have the natural darkness that Scratcher gave us in February or the real time light transition afforded to us in Shifting. Here, we need to block out all light and make a theatre.
And for the first time we’ve really made a go of turning the Arts Office into an actual theatre space. A lot of black paint has been used up, a lot of black curtains have been drilled in and 3 backstage areas have been put into place. And as for the set… well, it looks pretty theatrical.
But I guess theatre is the name on the tin, right?
Come see what we’ve done with the place when Smitten opens at 8pm tomorrow night in the Arts Office! The discounted opening night tickets at €8 are still available here. Bookings can currently be made on 0861048191.
We hit the Arts Office hard this weekend to put in place some of our set but mostly, we focused on building the stage for Smitten.
Yes, the stage! The residency has enabled us to afford to build our own staging, something which will stand in good stead to us for the next few years! It’s the first time we’ve done anything approximating a proper stage in the Arts Office for any of the shows and we’re hoping that it really adds to the bigger theatrical vibe in Smitten.
We’ve deliberated over the past few weeks as to what we’d use as a floor. We wanted a bit more variety than the carpet of the Arts Office (which in fairness has done us proud in Scratcher and Shifting) but we’re also well aware that the dancing mightn’t work as well on a wooden stage… lots of unwanted noise as 10 actors hop, leap and tap around the place. We’ve done some basic dance tests that seem to indicate we should be okay. But we’re not going to know until we do the testing the week before the show.
We’ve put it in place and it looks really well and hopefully it will set this play apart from the other two productions. Eddie Brennan, our set designer of many years, put the plan in place for the floor and assisted by an army of our crack team of theatre professionals, the staging was built and (slightly) fitted on Saturday. The pictures here will give you some idea as to how it’s looking.
This past weekend we spent many hours turning the Arts Office into one big production factory as set building, rehearsals, costume fittings, dressing room buildings, prop design and a whole bunch of singing and dancing.
And of course, there’s the above picture of what the finished product is going to be like. Designed by Eddie, with some help on the visual presentation front here by Paddy Dunne, it doesn’t stray too far from our initial Smitten set design of 2008. It’s framed by the familiar arch of the Butterslip (which as you can see here is perfectly created by the arch in No. 76). The rest of the set is a magic realism version of various Kilkenny attractions like the Tholsel, Canice’s Tower and obviously Kilkenny Castle. They’re all quite colourful, like the rest of the play really and keeps with our general rainbow aesthetic that we’ve got going on with Smitten.
The basic idea with the set was to do a classic Hollywood musical designed by Michel Gondry and then run from there. So that’s what we’re aiming for… will we achieve it? Fingers crossed!
Whilst we’re dashing off to Cork for Solstice, the set will be put in place in the Arts Office for the Kilkenny run. Obviously the plan is that it looks something like what you see in the above picture.We want to create a fully immersive experience for the audience in as much as we can and we’re quietly confident that it’s really going to transform the space for what will be our third and final time!
As for Cork? We’re bringing 2 plinths, 6 chairs and 2 boxes of props. We could call it downscaled but that’s an argument for another day.
Smitten plays No. 76 John Street from June 26th – July 2nd. Tickets are available from the Arts Office and on 056 – 7794138.
From yellow to black.
For the first time since we’ve started our residency here in No. 76, we’ve decided to try and make the space look like a proper black box theatre. So this time we’re going to black out the walls, install a proper lighting rig and even go as far as building a stage. Yes, we’re going all out theatrical on this one. (Well, in as much as we can in a space that’s not a theatre. There won’t be a balcony or anything)
Which makes sense considering how theatrical Smitten is in itself. In fact, anything less probably wouldn’t have worked so well. The play is all about magical realism so we’re working overtime to make sure that the experience is properly magical for the audience and not too real. It’s a 70/30 balance we’re hoping… (they say optimistically)
Set building begins proper in here tomorrow morning and goes on all weekend so pop in if you want to look at us transforming this place beyond some form of recognition! Or else, a lot of people covered in black paint and cursing at each other. Once we’ve made a few more movements on the set itself, we’ll show you our initial design and we’ve gone about transforming the space. But for now, here’s a look at the lovely white walls and open space of No. 76 being transformed into a dark, black box type space. And you’ll also probably find a few little clues as to how we’re transforming the space for Smitten. Watch this space… we’re painting it black.