Fun For All The Family: The Rathmines Festival 2009

It’s been quite a while since my last post as I’ve been pretty busy lately. Too busy to do more than live in the moment and enjoy what was happening anyway. But it’s all good. Essays are handed in (and in fact already corrected and it was totally worth it, phew!) and I’m back from Wales (more about that later, as it happens there are all sorts of adventures to be found in the most unassuming of places).

Now I’m trying to remember a weekend in April when the Rathmines Festival took place. This is actually quite a worthwile exercise come to think of it. Which events impressed me enough to remember details of them well over a month later? Well, one that definitely stayed with me for longer than the end of the weekend was one incidentally entitled ‘Forgotten’, a brilliant solo piece by Pat Kinevane (iKeano) in association with Fishamble Theatre Company. The show which combines story telling aspects and Japanese kabuki theatre centres around the experience of a group of elderly people all living in retirement homes around Ireland. As the individual stories unfold, the ebb and flow of the characters’ lives is brought to life by Kinevane in a sometimes hilarious, sometimes frighteningly raw way.
Having been to Japan twice before I was surprised to learn that Kinevane, who wrote the play himself, had not been to the home of kabuki himself. For me this made it an even more astonishing feat. His sensitive depiction of the sometimes fragile yet often truly inspiring inner lives of elderly people was a show that might not appeal to some more traditional theatre goers. Yet, for those who are open to being swept away by emotions which we sometimes refuse to recognise in ourselves, it was a beautiful and surprising journey to be taken on for the duration of the play.
Photo by Ger Blanche courtesy of Fishamble Theatre Company
Photo by Ger Blanche courtesy of Fishamble Theatre Company

Of course there were lots more events on during the festival: gigs, exhibitions, guided walks, readings, a kids day in the park and many more. Quite astonishing how much hard work by dedicated volunteers goes into preparing for a local festival this size. To most of us festivals often look like they ‘just happen’. And of course that’s how it should be. In reality though every euro of sponsorship, especially if it’s a new or smaller festival – and especially in the current economic climate – is hard fought for over a long period of time. So if you’re at your next festival and see some stressed out looking fellas running around like headless chickens while you’re happily sipping a cocktail – do buy them a drink, they’re bound to be the festival manager (aka the main scapegoat if anything goes wrong) or the volunteer coordinator (aka the lead shepherd). Bless them!


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