Dublin’s fringe festival, Absolut Fringe, is always a bewildering mass of entertainment, art, experiment and self-indulgence. Here are some suggestions for finding your way to the best of it.
Go on a date.
Actress Lauren White is single (for real), and trying to do something about it. You can ask her out via Facebook or Twitter (@Lauren_White88). Each night, she’ll present a shortlist of possible dates to the audience and ask them with whom she should go out after the show, and how she should behave. On the final night she’ll bring all her dates back on stage and ask the audience who should get a second chance. Think Cilla Black meets Stanislavski. Sept 11-15, 6pm, the New Theatre.
There’s even more single folk on stage in Singlehood, the new show by Una McKevitt, which features a bunch of ordinary, single people “talking about their lives, loves and longings.” McKevitt can make the ordinary sing: expect something extraordinary. Sept 18-22, 6.30pm, Project Arts Centre
Watch someone expose themselves.
Shane Byrne got lost somewhere through secondary school. He lost his confidence, gave up on life, stopped eating, then started binge eating. It was a long time before he found himself again, and when he did, it was as part of the hyper-inventive Theatreclub group. Hungry Tender is their latest show, a solo piece by Shane about food… and Elvis Presley. Sept 14-22, 9.30pm, Project Arts Centre.
Martin Sharry is the third generation of Martin Sharrys from Inishere in the Aran Islands. He’s spent the last year living in his family’s ancestral home on the island and I Am Martin Sharry, a monologue, is a meditation on that experience. Sept 19-22, 8.30pm, Smock Alley Theatre.
Go down the farm.
There’s a Farm in a warehouse on Grand Canal Dock. A real farm, with real animals. And real farmers. And actors. And dancers. What more do you need to know? Sept 10-16, 7pm (and varying other times), meeting at the Lír on Pearse St.
Another opportunity to go behind the scenes of an Irish institution presents itself in Green Street, at the Green Street Courthouse. This was where Robert Emmett was tried; in recent years, is served as the Special Criminal Court and heard IRA cases. Percolate, a Dublin writers’ collective, have put together a theatrical response to the building’s history. September 14-22, 7pm and 9pm, Green St.
See a show in a bag.
Fishamble Theatre Company’s Show in a Bag has been one of the most successful fringe ventures of recent years: performers come to Fishamble’s resident writer, Gavin Costick, with an idea, and he helps them writes a show fit for touring (it has to fit in a bag). Sonya Kelly’s A Wheelchair On My Face, from last year, has just won a Fringe First at Edinburgh, and a batch of other shows in bags have done the business. This year, Conor Madden’s U-R-Hamlet looks like a hit in waiting. Sept 12-21, varying times, Bewley’s Café Theatre.
Keep your wits about you.
Did you leave the Bourne movie wishing that, though you’d rather not be brainwashed into a secret CIA assassins programme, your life was just a teeny bit more exciting? If so, then the Playground series of shows is for you. These shows all place you, the audience, at their heart, and give you a game to play or a challenge to overcome. In Just In Time, you are tasked with no less than saving the world (as a member of the time-travelling Time Police). You and your smartphone have one hour to track down an arch-criminal, and he/she hurtles through time and the city. You don’t have to be particularly fit and you won’t have to sing in public or do anything embarrassing – this is a game of wits, not showmanship. Sept 12-16, various times in the afternoon and evening, meeting at the festival box office.
The Absolut Fringe box office is at Filmbase on Curved St, Temple Bar. Tel 1850 374 643. See www.fringefest.com. This was published in the Irish Independent, Saturday September 8, 2012.