“Young Sheldon” — Student Independent News (SIN)

More detailed analysis of how this spin-off prequel fits in with the mother show will be coming soon to The Bigger Picture



Is it the archetype busking film that springboarded all other Irish busking films? Above all, based on a true story, its vignette on human life and living of a certain socio-economic status is so realistic that it’s easy to nitpick on imagined faults.

Written by John Carney and starring the writers of the featured music, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, this is a poignant and lifelike music film of struggling yet hopeful artists living in the Dublin cityscape. For those of you who know his work, John Carney does low-budget, independent films of this kind and one of his most well-known productions made it into the big screen in 2013 with Kiera Knightley, Adam Levine and Mark Ruffalo. “Begin Again” featured the song “Lost Stars.”

When the leading man meets the leading lady while busking with a guitar on the street, she decidedly makes the first move. Irglová gives a charming performance as a persistent, poised and mature Czech woman. Although not an actor himself, Hansard plays off her well as a down-to-earth Irish guy trying to make living and still follow his passion. She is insicive about his past love life which he writes about in his song and invites him to lunch after happily insisting he fix her broken vacuum cleaner.

What that would mean in 2006 I don’t know, but they develop a bond over music, as they are both singer-songwriters. He asks her to spend the night and she refuses, with a “fuck this.” He’s a lonely guy and she’s a gorgeous girl; the next day he promises her it won’t happen again and they can be friends, but what she doesn’t tell him until later in the film is that she’s in a namesake marriage with the father of her child.

The film undoubtedly gets most of its traction from its performance scenes but also its very human interactions. The most famous one is the scene in the piano shop where she goes often to play and where they perform “Falling Slowly.” Whereas that is the swell of initial attraction, the surreptitious backstage ballad or her moving rehearsal of lyrics to his music give insight into the characters backstory as their relationship blossoms. The actual busking, recording and listening back of the album they work on stages the kind of access hard to find without actually being on-the-ground in music production and performance. The comic opening sequence in which a man tries to rob the hero’s busking earnings and gets chased down the street almost steals the show.  The scenario where he sneaks his dad’s bike away to take her on a ride is touching, his earnest and her playful back-and-forth are relatable. It also paints a fair representation picture of foreigners living in Ireland.

It’s hard to come to a verdict on the two young people’s relationship. We never find out the meaning of the Croatian answer she gives him as to whether she loves her husband. His ex, who he writes songs for, who he’s going to revisit and who later stands him up, isn’t mentioned when they see each other. When he asks, for what seems like the twentieth time, whether she’ll come over to his apartment and spend time alone with him, she merely comments that it will end in hanky panky and “would be interesting.” She gives nothing away, yet we have to ask, if she feels she has responsibility to her child why does she let him get close to her in the first place? In the end, it’s an understandable and affecting closing, a almost-love story of a tangential connection that ends in ‘once, I knew this girl…’


Interview with Rena Bryson: “The Way It Is”

It’s been pleasure getting to know the projects of the Eva’s Echo Theatre Company. They’re part of the new, upcoming theatre scene in Galway, having won “Best Emerging Artist” at the Galway Fringe Festival with their debut production. This month, on the the 22nd February at the O’Donohue Theatre during NUIG’s Theatre Week, their newest drama, “The Way It Is” is expected to make audiences think about the complexities of human nature, relationships, male victims of domestic violence and the dilemma of women’s life choices today.

Among the budding talent to be found at this year’s NUIG Theatre Week will be an incisive one-hour play, aptly entitled The Way It Is, written by American playwright Donna Hoke, adapted for a Galway setting and staged through Eva’s Echo Theatre Company. It promises to deliver a complex, many-layered exploration of the problems in a couple’s relationship that can come to light after a break-up. It will be held on the 22nd February 2018 at 8.00 pm in the O’Donoghue Theatre, University Road. Tickets are €8 at concession or €10 general admission and can be purchased at the SocsBox and on their website http://bit.ly/2BLj00D

In an interview on the 1st February 2018, director and co-founder of Eva’s Echo Theatre Company, Rena Bryson said that out of nearly 100 submissions, The Way It Is stood out as quite a meaty script with many twists and turns, chosen for its compelling emotional drama which fits in with the overall themes the company tries to address. They aim to “express the modern soul of Ireland,” voicing the challenges present in modern Irish culture today. They also strive to help other emerging artists through involvement in their shows and by always crediting and paying everyone committedly.

“The play focuses on the relationship between two characters, Yasmine and Cane, and they’ve been together for eight years, they’ve been engaged for four and Cane leaves Yasmine and then has to go back to the house they both shared together to collect the rest of his things. The drama kind of ensues from there and in real time we get to explore the issues that were in relationship and really kind of look at issues through that, like the pressure on women to, you know, have the career and the ring and everything by thirty and that there’s that kind of ticking clock thing. We get to look a lot at domestic abuse towards men, verbal and physical and sexual abuse towards men.

“What I’ve been kind of looking at through the lens of is a lot of media, especially sitcoms and television, and the stereotype of the nagging girlfriend or the nagging wife and where that can go from a stereotype, a fun comedy character into something that people think is okay to do because it’s a woman doing it.

“I do feel that those issues do speak to that age group, like, student age group and that people of this generation are looking at those kind of things that were never looked at before. We’ve been in contact with Amen and with the Galway Rape Crises Centre so we’ll have information and support numbers there on the night in case anyone’s affected by anything they’ve seen in the play.”

The male lead Cane will be played by Michael Reed, a professional actor for 13 years and the voice behind Mickey Mouse, Spiderman, Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon and Speed Racer in Croatia. He’s written a few things too and is expected to appear in the new Irish film Black 47 and Red Rock.

It will also star the company’s second founder, Hazel Doolan as Yasmine. She is very much influenced by the works of Shakespearean drama in her acting. She featured in The Big Wall with Bob Kelly and Pygmalion. She and Rena Bryson graduated from IT Sligo where they studied Performing Arts before coming to Galway and setting up Eva’s Echo. The upcoming production company is best known for their debut Match, a romantic comedy that earned them Galway Fringe Festival’s ‘Best Emerging Artist’ award in 2017.

Rena is now a student in NUIG and started the MA programme in Drama & Theatre last September where she learns theatre directing. She has nothing but praise for the quality of drama coming out of NUIG. In particular she’s looking forward to the Jerome Hayes one act plays as well as “Dead Set” by Cathal Ryan during Theatre Week.

How will “The Big Bang Theory” End?

TBBT was a show I went to for some laughter and a little intellectual conversation. On closer inspection of their newer seasons, it looks like they’ve got some complicated character development in the works. This is my objective reading of the popular sitcom.

The Satisfaction of a Gentlewoman

Here’s How to Fight Right — when, why and *sigh* without your fists

“Swords or pistols?” In the olden times, there were usually three reasons someone would pick a fight; love, money and honour. Nowadays, the only real excuse for it is in self-defense or defending others — which is different from routine horseplay, wrestling and pranks. If you’re like me, the aged, idealised notions of duelling are still there. After all, what could be more self-sacrificing than to defend or fight for you family, lover and friends? I’d like to think a really worthy partner would do the same for me. But one must concede there are better ways of settling a dispute than taking the law into your own hands.

As mentioned before, I would not on principle initiate a physical confrontation with serious intention to harm. Still, in my mind’s eye, there are certain acquaintances lined up as potential seconds and thirds — wingpeople in case I should ever need back up, moral support or someone to take over should I fall. That is, of course, if they are available on hand. If a spontaneous brawl were to occur, I might not have the addition of a representative to communicate with my adversary’s second-in-command prior to the meeting.

If I should be duped in an intrigue,  I would resort to a passionate battle of wits or justifiable war of wills against my rival.  Ideally, this should be in something both opponents are good at. In such an instance, at a prearranged time and place, I would be willing to defend my honour with words and a game of skill. Even if I lost, I would let it be known I would not suffer myself to be deceived (which is the main thing) and would fight for my spouse or lover as is their due merit.

It’s noble to have a measure of magnamity if the object of your affections genuinely prefers someone else. If you truly care for them, you’d have their best interests at heart and perhaps wish them both well.

In the case of financial debts of honour, it can be best to let the payment go. Someone might just do the same to you.

In the aftermath of the fight, if the losing or innocent side were really in disgrace or wanted to nurse a broken heart, they would often go abroad to lick their wounds and start a new chapter in life. It can be good to get away from the drama, gossip and old social circle at least for a while. People also went abroad or to war if they lost greatly in gambling or faced familial dishonour.

At the end of the day, hopefully whoever has the greater mettle or is the most deserving will win. Much of any confrontation will be determined by what happens beforehand, so endeavour to always keep your conduct above reproach. If you’re in a public place and things seems to get rough, take time to cool down. If you’re a bystander you can take steps to break it up, even without getting directly involved. Be sure to choose your battles wisely. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and, if appropriate, demand the satisfaction of being heard.