Sunday, September 15, 2013

Distance from the Event - Go See It!

Disclaimer: Before I start this I must admit that I know little about art or theatre, but I saw an intriguing play last Monday night and I wanted to share it, and I want everyone to go see it so I can talk about it with them. Also, full disclosure, a good friend of mine is the producer.

Distance from the Event is the new play by Collapsing Horse Theatre Company, one of the hottest new theatre groups in Ireland. Having seen (and absolutely loved) their Monster/Clock show earlier in the year, I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Distance from the Event.

“It’s very, very different”  was all the information I got about the play before I saw it.

Oh boy is it different. Set in a future world where human colonies are sent around the galaxy, the play centres around the exploits of two detectives who are trying to foil a paper smuggler who seems to be always one step ahead of them. At the same time a mystery starts to unfold about an entire human colony that has gone missing in distant space. Intriguing. I don’t want to go too far into the plot, but it is intricate and it leaves quite a lot up to the audience to interpret.

What struck me most though about this play was the astounding ambition. Here is a group of young writers, directors, actors and producers who aren’t afraid to think differently and take massive risks in the pursuit of delighting us.  While I was watching it I just felt that this is what art should be all about. In an age of auto-tune and focus-group designed productions, here was a play that dared to try something totally different. The play probably isn’t for everybody but I absolutely loved it, and even if you don’t like it I promise it will leave you thinking and more hopeful about the future of Irish theatre.

Basically, go see it, and let me know what you think. It’s on as part of the Fringe Festival until 21st September in the Samuel Beckett Theatre in Trinity:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The See-Saw Madness of International Football Management

Arrivederci Trapattoni

Trapattoni is gone. I thought he was a great Irish manager, but in the end there was too much against him and it’s probably time for a change. 

And so now it all starts again. The see-saw madness of international football management. Whenever one manager finishes his time with us, we focus on some of the core features of that manager and demand the opposite in his replacement.

A Short History of the See-Saw in Action: 

Jack Charlton played route one football. While he had some big successes, we eventually became tired of that. Time for something new.

Mick McCarthy comes in promising a new brand of attractive passing football (culminating in botched attempts to play with wing-backs, which was popular at the time). McCarthy was obviously successful in getting us to a World Cup, but ultimately when McCarthy’s time came to an end, we decided we wanted somebody who had more managerial experience.

In comes Brian Kerr, with lots of experience managing teams successfully in the underage tournaments for Ireland. When he didn’t work out so well, we all agreed that his lack of experience playing international football was a problem.

"Wait!" we said "who has played lots of international football?"

Steve Staunton! He was the highest capped Irish player of all time. I don’t need to dwell on how bad that was. Why? Because Staunton had absolutely no managerial experience.

"So….who has the most managerial experience in the world?"

Bongiorno Giovanni Trapattoni.

So now, after 5 years of Trapattoni, you can bet your life that it will not be another foreign manager. We might be able to stomach a Scottish or even an English manager. But good luck to the FAI if they try to appoint another manager for whom English is not their first language.

This swinging back and forth to extremes isn’t helpful when you’re trying to make important decisions about which manager to choose, especially when drawing from such a small pool of potential applicants.

It seems like Martin O’Neill would tick all the boxes that we are looking for, but if he’s not willing to do it, we should be open to the whole world of football managers, and get the best man for the job, regardless of how we feel about what has gone before.