(u;la la)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Spaghetti Brains!

I was eating spaghetti bolognese in Bristol at the weekend. I needed to stock up on carbs because I was about to run in 2.8 Hours Later , the zombie game that happens as part of Igfest in Bristol every year. The city centre was full of grown adults all playing very strange games with each other and having fun.

The spaghetti might be my last proper meal I figured, and I knew that I had a long run ahead of me. We queued up with over 200 other people to play this game on a Saturday night in this bustling city centre. After receiving a quick briefing, we were let loose with a map and told to make our way to the zombie resistance HQ. In order to find the HQ we had to run through zombie infested areas, find clues and try and stick together. The latter proved impossible as we were picked off by brain-hungry zombies in alleyways, underpasses, parks and shopping centres. Zombies are not as stupid as you think. They wait for food to come along and then they run after it. The hungrier they are, the quicker they run. The nearer we got to the HQ, the quicker the zombies seemed to become. They must have been olympic sprinters before they got infected. You never knew when or where a zombie would appear so the body and mind was on full alert, adrenaline flowing and the blood pumping getting ready to scarper if they appeared around the next corner. We got lost, got frightened and made new friends along the way. Survival was the name of the game and us humans tend to last longer when we work together. Very few made it to the HQ without being infected. They were just too fast for a lot of us in the end. As a game, it is well designed. It combines the sensation of genuine fear with running like mad while grinning like a ten year old, and we all remember what that feels like. Inside you were screened for infection and if you were given the all-clear you could go and have your picture taken as a zombie survivor. Those of us who got infected were not so lucky.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Arts Journal

The red carpet was out in Kielys Bar in Trim last night and the popcorn was piled up in bowls along the counter. Film-maker, Noel Farrell, was having a local showing for his latest piece entitled "The Arts Journal". Noel directed and co-produced the piece which was written by Rita- Marie Lawlor. The Arts Journal is a pilot that will be sent out to national film and TV production companies in the hope that they will show an interest in developing it further. It shows a lot of promise.
The concept is a great source of comedic episodes as it follows the adventures of a frustrated presenter and cameramen whose job it is to travel around Ireland interviewing artistic types and ego-maniacs for a low-budget community TV show. The nearest thing they get to glamour is when they don't get abused by the people they are trying to help.
Rita-Marie plays the main character herself and Noel has gathered together another strong cast who are comfortable in front of the camera. Johnny Elliott is so comfortable that he should be arrested for pulling focus and Noel continues to work with local talent by persuading band on the rise, Youth Mass, to take care of music duties for the closing credits.
Noel is already working on getting ready for his next production, a web series based on his novel, Booker's World.
More popcorn on the way!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Kids are Alright

The excitement is building for the CDP drama group who are busy getting ready for their showcase in the next few weeks. These young people have been meeting every Saturday morning for the past year to explore drama and writing with the support of Meath Arts Office . Last year we had a look at character development and play structure. They enjoyed that so much that they decided that they wanted to learn how to create their own characters and write their own short skits. The results will be put on stage for their families and friends to see on June 11th in Claremount Stadium, Navan.

The group are made up of local kids aged 10 - 14. The majority of them have never acted before and despite the age differences they have all collaborated on their projects. It has been fantastic to see the progress that they have made since they first met as a group of strangers. The pieces reflect the individual interests of the performers, ranging from quirky characters, farcial slapstick and dark dramas. What has been most surprising about the work with this group is the ease with which they slip into the most surreal storylines that they can dream up. They even created a mad movement piece with very little words and abstract set-up!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Long Day

Midsummer is fast approaching and this has traditionally been marked in Ireland in different ways. These events have ranged from the pagan to the religious to the just plain weird. There is usually something for everyone to do to mark the day.

This year we are busy organising a colourful parade for Solstice Arts Centre. This event will see more than 500 children and adults, part of schools and groups in Navan, take to the streets on Thursday 23 June at 11am. All week, the festival will offer an array of cultural activities to celebrate the summer solstice, whether it is drama, film or music, so there will be plenty to see and do.

We are particularly excited about seeing the amazing Fidget Feet while the kids are looking forward to watching the Secret of Kells.

Should be fun!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hey Mr Cromwell, can we have our ball back?

We were up in the Porchiefields in Trim the other evening, watching Meath footballers try to kick a ball through the open window of St Mary's Abbey. The fact that the window was about 100ft up did not deter the lads from aiming potshots like Cromwells' cannonballs skywards. Photographers ran about the field snapping with their high powered lens while trying to avoid getting a ball on the head. Once the Meath lads found the measure of the Yellow Steeple (as it is known in the town), it wasn't too long before the balls started to sail through the window and out the other side.
The footballers were there to publicise the Trim Haymaking Festival which kicks off on the weekend of June 18th. This year there will be a High Kick contest with a cash prize going to the GAA club of the winner. There will also be the Toss-the-sheaf, the roll-in-the-hay, and us. Yes, Oulala Productions will be in the field.
We were there to talk to the organisers about our latest idea. They were delighted with what we had planned and gave us the go ahead. So we will see you all in the Porchiefield in Trim that weekend. Keep an eye out for us.
Roll on the 18th!