“It’s True I Love You All So Much” – Theatre Preview

Self-harm takes centre stage in this digital play produced by Galway-based Eva’s Echo Theatre Company.

Jenni Nikinmaa’s new play It’s True I Love You All So Much is an interactive, theatrical experience directed by Rena Bryson with completed dramaturgy by Sarah Hoover. Streamed digitally, it encourages the audience to engage with theatre in an intimate and personal way to explore the topics of mental health, family dynamics and relationships. They watch in front of their screens, disconnected from each other and disconnected from performance, performer, and stage, which are the same thing; the screen. The audience is part of the process, the part that is watching how self-harm and ‘madness’ perform themselves.

Jenni Nikinmaa, playwright and spoken word artist, originally hails from Finland and has lived in Ireland for two years. She creates poetic plays that are disturbing yet beautiful. They often engage with curious theatrical devices and adventurous, misbehaving poetry.

‘I wrote it for computer so it was never a play for stage… it’s a play about self-harm and family and I wanted to write a play that tries to figure out the kind of the unexplainable or things you can’t express within self-harm. It’s very post-traumatic and poetic and has no resolutions.’

She wants the piece to highlight acceptance and kindness.

‘Often when people are suicidal or harming themselves they are afraid. You’re not afraid to talk about it but you’re in a position when you start talking about it and other people get scared and then you feel like you have to carry that as well as your own struggle. So, I think that’s a big reason why people feel like it’s difficult to talk about it because the reaction from other people is often fear or anger, which is very understandable, but it also makes it very difficult for the person going through the period of self-harm. ‘

Nikinmaa wrote It’s True I Love You All So Much first as part of her master’s dissertation. She later sent it to Eva’s Echo who read it, loved it and wanted to produce it. It has an unusual set of dramatis personae. The only real character, if you could characterise it as such, is a Blackhole who writes dating bios as a sidebusiness. The rest of the parts are just called Performers. There is Performer A and Performer B and there is a lot of sound acting at the same time.

‘The plot is very post-traumatic – it’s a bit autobiographical, so it’s part of my own experience. Part of it is the experience of others, people I’ve met – you wouldn’t recognise anyone except for me because I’m very open in there. It’s a collection of moments and memories and experiences and I’d say the plot is more like how they relate to each other and how life kind of accumulates. I think self-harm is kind of a blackhole, where you fall into yourself and then you are out of space and the only thing you could do is harm yourself to kind of gain some agency.’

‘I think it’s very, well, for me, it’s a very brave play because it’s autobiographical; it’s about self-harm, it’s about family, it’s about self. I think it’s going to be the bravest thing I ever write. But it’s also beautiful, it’s poetic, it’s sad, it’s full of kindness and, like I’d say, if you have anyone in your life, if you ever had anyone in your life struggling with self-harm or any of that kind of experiences, come see it because – I know I’m biased because it’s my play, but – I think it kind of manages to, not explain, but give some form to the inexplainable experience of wanting to destruct oneself. Even though self-harm is always personal and there is no place that would say everything about it, this is a kind of door opening what it is.

‘If you come to see it, wear your headphones. It’s basically designed to be watched alone from a computer with your headphones on.’

The talented cast and crew consist of Jemma Curran, Sarah Fahy, Peter O’Brien, Siobhán Hickey, Hazel Doolan, and Sabrina Kelleher. Costume design is by Julie Quinn, stage design is by director Rena Bryson, sound design is by Kate McBrearty and the film is by Brian Waldron.

It’s True I Love You All So Much runs from September 30th to October 2nd 2021. The dramaturgy is generously supported by Galway Theatre Festival and the production is backed by Galway City Council. Tickets are availabe at https://evasecho.com/its-true-i-love-you-all-so-much/

Euphoria Flirt FM July 2021

The last episodes of the year. Hope you enjoy!




Latest Euphoria episodes from Flirt FM

Have a good Easter break and enjoy! We’ll be back on Tuesday 20th April 2021 at 2pm GMT on Flirt FM 101.3 and flirtfm.ie


Euphoria on Flirt FM

Restream episodes of Euphoria, a fashion and culture radio show I put together with my friend Yishi Chakrabarty for my college station Flirt FM 101.3. We’re on the airwaves Tuesdays from 2pm to 3pm GMT available on flirtfm.ie and you can follow us on Instagram @euphoriaflirtfm



Volunteering for Galway Fringe Festival 2019

The Galway Fringe Festival ran for two weeks from 15th to 28th June 2019 alongside the Arts Festival as it has for nine years, promising to give emerging artists, productions, demos and plays from here and abroad a platform and support, as part of over 200 Fringe programmes all over the world. This year there were some award-winning shows and local debuts. There were creative writing readings, music and film incorporated into one-person theatre events, visual arts and pottery fairs.

What is surprising is that, although the Fringe usually provides a mix of appealing, intimate events without the pressure of the mainstream, more commercial festivals, this year saw some cancellations and it appeared that there was not enough attendance by the public. This is a shame as we should support the acts that come to town, even the lesser known ones, and give them an audience. The rather smaller variety of 2019’s line up compared to previous years can only be improved by continuing to support the festival with ticket sales, public volunteering and contributing acts. The acts who do get in have a role in advertising their own events in conjunction with the Fringe doing their best to get the word across. The added competition of NUIG’s 2019 Summer Drama festival being held at the same time did not help attendance numbers.

I was given the suggestion to volunteer my skills in helping with the Fringe festival behind the scenes by a fellow volunteer for Galway Film Fleadh TV. After a three-week stint of training, undertaking interviews, filming and editing for the Fleadh week, this was a more relaxed duty of posting on social media, thinking of ideas for sales, taking door tickets and getting to watch shows. It was nice to meet the Fringe festival artists, such as writer Niamh Nic Aodha Bhuí, whose first-time offering to the Galway Fringe was her piece Unveiling which deals with life, existential questions and suicidal thoughts. A former secondary school student of Dominican College, Taylor’s Hill like myself, she has tried her hand at various art forms since studying in different third-level fields.

At the Fringe, there were a group of work placement students from GMIT studying Tourism, but anyone from any background could and were encouraged to apply as a regular volunteer. Most events took place at Seven bar’s The Loft, De Burgo’s and The Cellar, with some of the visual arts and photography scattered around county Galway. The main office space was located above the Bank of Ireland near Lombard St. The Fringe ends each year with an Awards Ceremony in different categories.

One particularly emotional play was Prodigal by Andrew Carney which depicts an estranged son’s reunion with his father after the funeral of their elder brother and son. The son partakes of a drink, which his father declines as a reformed alcoholic. He makes his son talk to him and they go on to discuss their past life, relationships and family, the effect of the alcoholism on them all and the brusque son’s struggle in the shadow of his late brother.

There was a higher turn out for plays such as Runaway Princess: A Hopeful Tale of Heroin, Hooking and Happiness, and the jaunty literary recap Strolling Through Ulysses! The award-winning Velvet Determination: A Young Pianist’s Journey to New York could have seen more of a crowd despite its delightful recital and true-life account. The Galway Fringe Festival will continue to have sporadic events until later in the year so make sure to follow them online and be ready to do it all again and more next year.

“HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr” at the Galway Town Hall Theatre

Photo Credit Al Foote III

Sprightly and humorous, Heather Massie’s one-woman show documents the life of Austrian Hollywood and inventor Hedy Lamarr (1914 – 2000). After having appeared at the Galway Fringe Festival previously, the international production was staged again in Galway in the Town Hall Theatre on the 29th May 2018 at 8pm with a Q & A at the end. It is part of a planned trilogy by Massie highlighting women in science.

It opens with an exposition of video footage of Hedy and the show features a recording of her voice. She is presented as reappearing from the dead to tell her story which has often been misrepresented or forgotten. This is all done with gracious, affectionate address to the audience without a hint of bitterness. She often comes directly into the crowd to interact with them as herself, although at other times Massie switches to impersonate different characters in the story. The props are simply two tables, some chairs, an old-fashioned telephone. A version of the flip cell phone she helped create makes an appearance. It’s all decked out elegantly, much like Hedy herself in a bejeweled dress.

Hedy fostered a self-taught interest in applied science, first encountered while growing up with her parents, although her mother encouraged her to learn music and performance as a young lady. After marriage, she came up with the idea to change the squarish shape of aeroplanes for efficiency. Her joint patented idea of The Secret Communications System with composer George Antheil to evade the threat of torpedoes being jammed in the Allied effort during WWII could have saved many lives if taken on board by the US Navy against the Nazis. After initially rejecting the idea from an actress, the US Navy used it during the Cuban Missile Crises.  Her intellectual ingenuity is boasted of via comic responses to award recognition her invention finally gets. Also referred to as Frequency Hopping or Spread Spectrum Technology, her invention is used today in cell phones, WiFi, CDMA, GPS, Bluetooth and other wireless systems. She continued to doodle inventions into her later life.

Massie captures the style of a bygone era in manner and voice, telling the story of the ugly duckling who would be later dubbed The Most Beautiful Woman in the World and inspire the creation of Snow White and Catwoman, as well as many woman who copied her look with dark hair parted in the middle. This  notoriety did her no favours, however, when it came to being taken seriously. One man admired her beautiful mouth which he said prevented him from listening to a word she was saying.

The behaviour towards women in the film industry during the 1930’s – 50’s is outlined with ironic light-heardedness. While Lamarr is known for acting in many films such as her role in Samson and Delilah in 1949 and produced a few films herself, she featured in the controversial film Ecstasy in which she was duped into being filmed nude from afar without being aware of the high-power telephoto lenses. The film was banned in America for being overly sexual, and by the Nazis because of Lamarr’s Jewish origins just after her escape from mainland Europe from a stifling husband who tried to buy the film outright out of jealousy. Hypocritical American producers critically evaluated the actress’s body behind the facade of family-friendly censored film standards.

This theatrical biopic deserves the acclaim it has been awarded at various festivals around the world. It brings to life this intriguing lady and the individuals she engaged with, including her three children and some of her six husbands. It positively highlights her achievements as well the ups and downs of her life; a celebration of her scientific prowess without renouncning her graceful charm and arts background.

Heather Massie as Hedy Lamarr - by Al Foote III (1).png