Fight Night

To paraphrase a line from this play by Gavin Kostick, after getting a good sorting out from a Cuban, you usually get a bronze Olympic boxing medal. The main character and protagonist in Fight Night, Dan, doesn’t come close to the Olympics. And at the close of the play, we don’t really learn with absolute certainty if he ever will. Time is against him for one. And the play ends in much the same way as the original Rocky movie that is cited by the central character. But Dan’s ancestors and his bro have done very well with the boxing. His problem is trying to live up to expectations.

It’s a great, tight monologue, at about fifty minutes in length. Aonghus Og MacAnally carries the burdens of a guy who has a lot to live up to with a terrific performance – and we learn as Dan starts his new family that there are cycles of both perfectionism and dysfunction that ought to be broken.

If you come away from the play thinking that maybe it’s more than okay to just coast through life at a level of mediocrity, then the message of the show is a positive one. And it’s positive because MacAnally makes Dan such a likeable character. He plays him with an authenticity that could’ve been undermined with mimicry for the other characters – for example, Dan’s mother is quoted once or twice. The posh voice MacAnally puts on for these moments is made real by the fact that his vocabulary remains consistent with Dan, rather than with his better spoken mother. The “impersonations” of other characters are equally deftly handled. Dan is also made real through his likability, in spite of all the justifications and his rationalisations. His failures make him an attractive and endearing character. And his significant other, Michelle, feels the same way.

The nuances of family are covered beautifully in a script that appears – deceptively – to be just about the boxing. MacAnally conveys these subtleties with consummate skill, to the point where we may sometimes question his reliability as a narrator – just as he questions himself as a man, while we learn what brought Dan to this point, and why he feels that he must face down his demons – and a fella from Galway.

If the play ever goes up anywhere ever again, it’s well worth a look.

All photos courtesy of RISE Productions.

The best way to tackle constipation

The best way to overcome constipation is to get pulled over by the police. How you manage to do this is entirely your choice.
Photo courtesy of anotherview.

You may wave and point at the policeman as he comes up behind you in his squad car. This may give the police officer the false impression that you are under the influence of alcohol or some other substance. Once the police officer has turned on his lights, you should continue to drive at least fifty metres before pulling over. Hopefully, this will heighten the officer’s stress levels to a point where he feels you are being uncooperative. You can continue to be unaccommodating as you show him your licence. Don’t worry, take your time. Being uncooperative leads to a slightly unsettling feeling and it may result in a ticket or a citation of some kind. If you find that you are not quite as anxious as you should be, try being a little bit more disrespectful to the police officer. He will resent you, but luckily, both you and he will leave the scene feeling nicely on edge. Once you’ve returned home, you will find – miracle upon miracles – that you can quite easily clear the bowels.

Which College Society is the One for You?

Have you yet to join a college society?

Well, whether you’ve been raised among a pack of wolves, or you just want to smoke cannabis that’s been through an elephant’s digestive system, then you can be sure that there is a student society at your university with your name on it. First Year student Pavel Turney made that exact discovery when he delightedly signed up to join the Pavel Turney Appreciation Society at last year’s Fresher’s Week in NUI Maynooth.

Membership fees and benefits vary from society to society and from college to college. The Rye Eaters’ Society of Carlow IT charges a three euro membership fee, but discounts on rye products in Carlow town make the costs of subscription an absolute bargain, with students saving as much as 10 cents on each loaf of bread.
A half loaf of bread, at a Rye Eaters' student party.
A demonstration by the Rye Eaters about the price of wheat on the world markets two years ago led to hundreds of arrests in Carlow, with much confusion in the courts as some students admitted guilt when they were charged as rye eaters while others denied inciting rye eating on the town’s streets. The magistrate hearing all of the cases, Justice Cathal Scally, caused a storm of controversy by defining rye eating as “sudden and chaotic vandalism in the streets of a town or city,” at which point Melissa McKenna, auditor of the Rye Eaters’ Society, burst into tears from her seat in the dock and declared: “We just like eating bread, your Honour,” rounding off her statement with a healthy fibre-driven trumpet of flatulence, the force of which so impressed those in the gallery that it was met with enthusiastic applause.
The same loaf, a few hours later, after being lifted and admired..

The same loaf, from yet another angle, later that night.

If brown bread isn’t your kettle of fish, you probably fancy yourself as the next big African American Lesbian Writer and Type 2 Diabetic. Why not join UCG’s African American Lesbian Writing and Diabetes (Type 2) Society? Getting a piece of poetry or prose into their critically lauded annual publication, Hyperglycemic Beeatches (also available in Braille), can do wonders for a literary career.

Or even if you just fancy yourself, then the Narcissists’ Forum (NF) at UCD might be your thing. The British National Front (NF) Party would like to point out that it is in no way affiliated with the Narcissists’ Forum.

The Pachyderm Filtering Club, also at UCD, sources its drugs from South East Asia, and thanks to Dublin Zoo veterinarian Anthony Bennis, converts raw cannabis into difficult to analyse but high grade elephant effluence that the police don’t even want to look at.
A wrecked Indian elephant (Photo courtesy of Howe1634)

The Nelly Memory Loss Prevention Society, meanwhile, is a rival club at Trinity dedicated to undermining certain activities of the former association.
Two more wrecked elephants. Photo © Susan Bein

Undergraduates who aren’t interested in either group might find the underarm swimming classes provided by the Half Deaf Islamo-Fascists’ Equestrian Club at DCU more to their liking.

Finally, physics students yet to reach their twenties who were reared by wolves, bears and other wild animals finally get a society all to themselves with the newly established Higgs Boson Particle Study Group for Feral Teens at UCC. Weekly discussions are held all year round by this hugely popular society in the Higgs Boson Particle Study Group for Feral Teens’ Reading Room in the Boole Library, with free pebbles and grass for all who attend.

McAdam’s Torment by Audrey Devereux at Bewley’s CafĂ© Theatre Oct 31st to Nov 12th

John McAdam (played by Paul Cunningham) recounts a series of events in his life that took place three decades earlier, from his deathbed. He and his servant Caleb were caught in a blizzard in the Scottish countryside. The mystery behind Caleb’s disappearance in the storm takes up much of the tale – and the play. We gradually learn through the course of the drama exactly what McAdam’s Torment is. It’s worth the wait.

This is a great yarn set in the seventeenth century with plenty of Gothic and horror elements – and a fiddle. The set is minimal with the two impressive actors, Cunningham and Rab Handley, employing touches of mime, music and mimicry to fill in the gaps.

Written by Audrey Devereux and directed by Graham Eatough, the production has already played in Scotland so it’s been through any teething problems – if there were any to begin with. Everything about the show is tight. It can be easy enough to lose audience interest in small, relatively low budget productions, particularly for monologues or a two hander like this. But the venue is small enough that the focus remains on the onstage action and the script is a cracker – with some great, organic reminders of what’s been happening so far without the signpost of a big “Previously, on McAdam’s Torment” type declaration.

Based on a Scottish legend, the piece is dark and bleak with an occasional dash of humour. It’s well worth a look. Check it out!

Photos Courtesy of Oran Mor Theatre.