Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spilt Gin present 'Andy Warhol's Nothing Special' in the Belltable

FOUR FIGURES stand, hands by their sides. They are well-dressed, fashionable even, wearing sunglasses and matching blond wigs. This is the cast of ‘Andy Warhol's Nothing Special’, a new play by the Dublin based theatre collective, Spilt Gin, which was co-founded by Limerick woman Maeve Stone, originally from Castleconnell.

Described as a “playful riff on pop-art”, this innovative piece of writing from James Hickson - fellow co-founder of the new theatre company - is a play about love, art and beauty, and “really pops”, as the tagline goes.

“The piece is basically a treatise on art and love, but in a more practical sense it is about this artist who is not too confident in himself and his work, and he creates an alter-ego called Andy Warhold,” explains Maeve Stone.

“This character becomes the embodiment of what he would like to be as an artist and as a result and falls in love with a character called Eve. It is about the relationship between the characters, which makes it sound serious, but it is really funny, the writing is brilliant,” she adds.

The duo formed Spilt Gin while still in college in Trinity, where they studied Theatre and English. With Maeve more interested in directing and James a natural playwright, the partnership was an instant one.

"We have been working together just over a year and it has been going really well. It is a partnership that works, that dynamic is always crucial,” explains Maeve. “My focus was always primarily on directing and James really shone against the backdrop of our writing, it was always terrible having to read after him in class,” she laughs.

There have been some serious changes made to the piece, which they first performed for 'The Theatre Machine Turns You On' festival in the Project Arts Centre, Dublin in December last year. Chief among them was losing the main actor who played Andy.

“We have made some huge changes. The actor that originally played Andy had to return to London and wasn't available, so we re-cast the main part, and we found that to be a positive thing, because in some ways it invigorated us and made us look at the play anew,” she explains.

“It has expanded from the original show - James took the opportunity to revise it and expand on it and add a lot more meat to the characters, so it is a bigger beast,” laughs Maeve.

Fittingly for a piece inspired by ‘pop-art’, the staging features some vibrant colours, while the music of David Bowie and the Velvet Underground has been reworked and recorded for the play. “James has a real knack for quick wit and pithy humour, so it is really funny and the music in it is great as well,” says Maeve.

“A lot of the design elements are inspired by pop-art and it has got a lot of vibrant colour and the designs and costumes gesture towards that era,” she adds.
‘Andy Warhol's Nothing Special’ opens in the Belltable tonight, and runs until Saturday.

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