VENUE:THE GIG ROOM, KINVARA COMMUNITY CENTRE. SAT. 27 JANUARY 8.30PM (DOORS 8PM). ADMISSION: €10.00
Special Guest before the show: Eugene Lambe
David Marcus’ translation of Brian Merriman’s epic poem is brought to life by Gerry Howard in a show that enraptures and resonates with the thoughts, mores and preoccupations of every generation.
A special treat for you this wintry week:
KINVARA AREA MUSIC PRESENTS:
THE MIDNIGHT COURT
BY BRIAN MERRIMAN
(translated by David Marcus)
Performed by GERARD HOWARD
Directed by PAUL BRENNAN
Design by PETRA BREATNACH
Unless there’s a spurt in procreation, we can bid goodbye to the Irish Nation…”
The one they forgot to ban (in the 1950s): Sharp, witty, coarse, pithy, vicious, hilarious.
All of these. David Marcus’ translation of Brian Merriman’s epic poem is brought to life by Gerry Howard in a show that enraptures and resonates with the thoughts, mores and preoccupations of every generation.
A Clareman takes a walk around the shores of Lough Greaney and without warning, finds himself hauled before a judge. His crime? Failing to act, to perform, to be a real man!
In an Oscar-winning performance, Gerry Howard brings to life the various characters who castigate and belittle this poor man whose only defence is his meekly proclaimed innocence.
When composing this poem (Cúirt an Mhéan Oíche), Brian Merriman (1747-1805), who hailed from Ennistymon, Co Clare, produced a hilarious commentary on the mores of church and state and on his contemporaries. It proved so popular since then, that it generated no fewer than 13 different translations from miscellaneous literary figures, including Frank O’Connor, Séamus Heaney, David Marcus and more recently, Ciarán Carson.
And so we listen to these lofty creatures who are called to give witness of his failings. One by one, in a series of rants, they rail against him in David Marcus’ nifty rhyme, lecturing him before the judge in invectives that are at once, hilarious, witty, earthy and downright bawdy.
The show is directed by Paul Brennan, whose acclaimed adaptation of Dónal Ryan’s Spinning Heart recently completed a successful run in the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. The ingeniously constructed ‘walk-in’ costumes, in which Howard brings to life his characters, were created by Petra Bhreatnach, well-known for her work with Decadent Theatre Company and other productions.
Paul Brennan, writes: In his 1953 version of The Midnight Court, David Marcus placed the emphasis on the comical and bawdy aspects with a relentless four-beats-to-the-line metre and rhyming couplets.
Marcus’ motivation, he said, was to “share the joke” of a piece that was not so well-known at the time. He was unconcerned with anachronism or modern references, as long as the effect was comic. He notes how many of the poem’s concerns resonated with the Ireland of the 1950s, such as declining population. The poem’s particular take on the battle of the sexes is also a theme that is if anything, more apposite now than in the 1780s or the 1950s. Since then, the poem’s popularity has grown, having been rendered in performance in several versions including a musical.
Note: NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN: