(u;la la)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Follow the little white ball...

Last year, Meath Tourism and Meath Economic Development & Innovation approached us to realise a short video promoting the many activities the county has to offer around the time of The Solheim Cup 2011 and all year round.

The resulting film, produced in association with Supernova Productions, follows the Meath Tourism golf ball around our stunning sites and attractions: taking off at Killeen Castle with professional player Hazel Kavannagh, the little ball bounces on to the Newgrange site were tourists happily throw it on its way to the Fairyhouse Racecourse. There, the Irish Grand National is in full swing and the ball lands in front of Meath horse Garden Market. A young stable boy picks it up and the ball flies off again, bouncing from Trim Canoe Club, to Bective where Paul from Anglers World in Navan fishes it out, to a romantic lunch Brabazon Restaurant at Tanckardstown, followed by a beach roll in front of The Cottages at Bettystown. The cheeky ball pays a visit to punters and renowned Meath musicians Emmett Vaughan, MacDara and Micheál Ó Raghallaigh in Brogan's Bar, Trim. On its way out, our little hero is given a might good shot by Rosalie McCormack, a lady who has been a member of Trim various golf clubs since 1936! Finally, it is caught in mid-air by Joe Leahy from Ballooning Ireland, who gently drops it on the green of Killeen Castle Golf Course for a last winning hit by Hazel.

The film, written & directed by Delphine Coudray and beautifully photographed by Bertrand Lassallette-Desnault, took a month to shoot on location and wouldn't haven't been possible without the precious help from the venues and groups mentioned above, including Trim Drama Group and Bernard Caldwell. Last but not least, the sensational new band Henrietta Game brought the final touch to the film with their musical soundtrack “28 Hours” from their latest album "Black Ship".

You can see the video on the Meath Tourism Website www.meath.ie/tourism/ or Youtube page www.youtube.com/user/meathtourismIreland or follow the links on www.oulalaproductions.com

Friday, September 9, 2011

Trim: what are we facing now?!

I have learnt that most Irish Houses are designed on the same model: there's the kitchen where everything happens. Then, there's a sitting-room, or the “good room” or the “front room”, which the proud Mam always keeps tidy and nice. That is where visitors are brought to first. That's where the whole family gathers for very special occasions.

Well, for me, the Town Hall is the “Good Room” of the Town. Or at least, it should be. You wouldn't gather your loved ones, including your old auntie who's got arthritis and your little nephew who's four, into the garden shed for Christmas, now, would you?

And that is probably why so many people from Trim -including me- feel so angry or worried about the closure of their “Good Room”. The thing is, they have been angry or worried for a while. Sure, wouldn't you be if your front room was leaking, a bit smelly and -let's be honest- a bit dangerous? You'd do your best to patch things up. To make things look nice for when people come over. But you'd still be on to your landlord with some pleas: “what's going on? Can you do something about this?” You've always paid rent, so you think you are entitled to. You think it's not nice when, at night, after the washing-up is done and you'd love nothing better than to put your feet up in there, with your family, to enjoy some entertainment or just to be together, your landlord just walks in and says "Sorry mate, but you won't be able to go into this room anymore. Thanks for the paint an'all, but you'll have to use the garden from now-on".

Moving away from this analogy, but not too much, I remember that Trim Town Hall was the space that really welcomed me to Trim. I had been living here for a year, but I didn't know the community I had just moved in. It's through the Drama Group and the Musical Society that I got to know people in town. Not in the pub. Not in the shops. Not in the restaurants. That came later, because by then I had a “way in”. That community space was the way in.That is what INTEGRATION was about for me. I could have joined the GAA but I can't run to save my life. I could have join the choir, but I can't sing either. What happens in a Town Hall is unique, varied, entertaining and unifying.

I remember the small village where I lived in France and the Town Hall we had there. The design and size were exactly the same than Trim's one. It held dances, discos, plays, (we don't have pantos in France!) lectures, meet-and greet, mushroom exhibitions (!), we showed films, some practiced Karate, Yoga, weaving... I could go on. It was buzzing.

I even played bingo in Trim Town Hall. I painted sets, I acted, I directed and made really, really good friends. And I laughed a lot. I also cried a bit when I saw my babies on stage for the first time, with all their little friends, in bright costumes and proud as peacocks.

A town needs a few important things to survive:

- a butcher, a baker and a grocer to take care of people's Belly.
- a clothes/shoes shop to take care of people's Skin.
- a school and library to take care of people's Brain.
- a sports field to take care of people's Blood.
- a ruin to take care of people's Memory.
- a church (of whatever denomination) to take care of people's Soul.
- a pub to take care of people's Spirits. (Pun intended)
- a town hall to take care of people's Heart.

I am always proud to say -in Dublin, Navan, Paris or Brest- that Trim has it all and more... I am saddened and -frankly- a little bit horriffied to see that this may change.

My town, my new home, my new family, is now losing its “Good Room”, one that ceased to be Good a while ago, despite the efforts of the community. I know they won't give up quite yet. And now that I am -I believe- part of them, I won't either.

Delphine Coudray
Oulala Productions

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Community Theatre – Petty Court Sessions

Dunshaughlin Harvest Festival is fast approaching but the buzz already started a couple of months ago when Oulala Productions were approached by the festival committee: they wanted to bring the old courthouse back to life and give festival-goers a taste of the Petty Sessions as they used to be, back in the 1800s.

A period piece, site-specific, in its original setting, involving research, writing, costumes and enthusiastic performers from the community... what else could we ask for?

We got to work and immersed ourselves in the dark but fascinating times of the Famine, of Meath and its colourful characters, of quirky cases, moving human stories and how the good people of Dunshaughlin may have travelled to escape the hunger. In our writing, we could not ignore the political background of the times and had to include a very well-know English gentleman who changed the fate of many Irish children. We could not leave out the (in)famous Workhouse either... which, from the staff or the inmates, caused the most shenanigans? I'll say no more! Just maybe that we are thrilled to be part of this wonderful project; how much we have learnt so far and laughed and cried... and that's before the rehearsals even started!

Is it a coincidence that our last stage production was set in a courthouse, too? Maybe the Law likes us... let's hope it will last and that the only time we will have to stand in front of a Judge again, will be to adjust his wig and help him with his lines!

See you all on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of September in Dunshaughlin's Courthouse.