Creativity Run Amok at Solas Nua

In the vein of loving the Irish in the arts (see the Julie Feeney post), I want to tell you about Project Brand New at Solas Nua (9th and G, NW, just off the Chinatown Metro stop).  Project Brand New is a mini-theater festival featuring three 40 minute plays in various stages of development.  After a successful run at the Dublin Fringe Festival, the tour has come to the States (no one but Europeans say the States.  Love it).

Rather than making the viewer feel he’s back at theater camp, Project Brand New presents excellent, creative material, then respects the audience enough to covet its feedback.  After each show, the audience is dismissed for a short intermission: people write an opinion (mine–“love love LOVE”) on index cards, and snack on PBR and PB and J.  I love the alliteration, PBN, PBR and PB and J, what could be better?).

The first play is called Twenty Ten: The World Is Getting Bigger Not Smaller.  The raw material comes from THEATREclub, to which people anonymously submit and email of one thing they learn every day.  This play takes entries from January of 2010.  Most of the entries concern Dublin, a few concern Dublin in the snow; some are funny, a few are heartrending.  The way the sentences are pieced together expresses the show’s story in one its emails: the world is getting bigger, not smaller.  To participate with what you learned today, email

The second play, 565+, centers on Marie O’Rourke.  Marie has been to over 565 plays and counting.  The theater is the only relief she has been able to take in a life full of disastrous circumstances.  “In the theater, I can sit with my fear; but my fear does not control me, I control it.”  The catharsis of theater is expressed viscerally.  I was moved by Marie’s story.

The Ballet Ruse, the final piece, was the funniest (and only) funny ballet I have ever witnessed.  Aside from being laugh-out-loud raucous, the dancers and choreographers, Muirne Bloomer and Emma O’Kane, show the stress and panic of performing.  They also show the resilient spirit of a dancer, of anyone under absolute pressure.  Also, there are cigarettes, toilet paper, and Lady Gaga.

These three shows play together, last night Saturday at 7:00, for the low price of $15.  That’s $5 a play!  Yes, yes, you should go.  You should tell them how much you love them.  Because you will love them, no doubt in my mind.


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