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The Vacuum Issue 11 spacer Issue 11
vote vote vote
Tinderbox Theatre Company
Old Ulster Bank Building, Waring Street
November 18th

by Theo Stuart
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This is a collection of about a dozen short (5-10 minute) pieces by the cream of Norn' Irish dramatic writing talent that would better have been entitled 'Don't Vote, Don't Vote, Don't Vote'. It seems that when faced with a brief to dramatically comment on the elections what our artists come up with is, in the main, a series of spoofs which demonstrate how corrupt, predictable and downright silly the whole process is. The variations (formal and thematic) which illustrate this basic position are interesting enough, funny enough, in some of the pieces - including a faux Gilbert and Sullivan operetta and a Wizard of Oz reprise - but the parodic tone varies little. Only one piece, Glenn Patterson's, is vulgar enough to be entirely serious about the whole business. Daragh Carville's is silly despite itself. A few others try to be serious beneath the gags, jumping headlong into info-tainment, and the rest go for broke into pure comedy. It goes without saying that it has that horrible smack of desperation that just isn't funny. Alan McKee produces a cultural vignette that is vivid and entertaining with authentic characters in a short piece about cultural change, but what it says about elections is totally oblique.
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This over-riding scepticism about the electoral process is odd in the context of a themed event which seems to aim at generating interest in this process. It could, of course, be seen as a kind of progress towards that 'normalisation' which we so crave, where nobody cares about elections anymore. In the Western climate where spin and lies abound it's a pity that the most imaginative response we can produce is that we too can get to the stage where nothing really matters anymore as long as it's a laff. Sectarianism had its downside, but at least elections used to matter.
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