Caca Dana Review: “All the World’s A Cage” – By Niamh Ryan

Caca Dana Review: “All the World’s A Cage” – By Niamh Ryan

By Cathy Lee

The brilliant “All The World’s A Cage” engages and grips an audience from the beginning. On entering the small secluded dimly lit made-to-do theatre at “The Teachers Club” Dublin 1, the actors we had not yet been introduced to were already present on the background of the stage. This set a relaxed sort of mood into the air as the stage was at ground level, we relaxed into the comfortable couch-like audience seats and all I could experience was the feeling of curiosity the entertainment to come, and I wasn’t to be disappointed by this expectation! I would wholeheartedly describe this play as another success for the fantastic playwright and star Niamh Ryan, who plays “Jill”.

The very limited stage space was essential and fitting for the story. This one room setting exposed the character of the lives that the three young women held together, tightly bound in a not exactly cluttered scenario but one of great importance we are to learn to each of them, particularly “Tina” – played by Marie Hegarty. We discover each of these young women, graduated from college in Galway in their early 20s, as we watch the hilarious lack of interaction unfold between the ladies and the driven TV License inspector. We later discover that maybe indeed that this authoritarian figure isn’t the only one of his kind in their lives. Be it boyfriends, co-workers or closed-minded directors – these young women are really up against it.

The placement of individual striking lines in the play were exceptional for me as they were very captivating and allowed me to further my belief in the talents of Niamh Ryan as a script writer. Most of the comedy was physical at the beginning of the play, from yoga fitness moves of “Jill” to exaggerated facial expressions of “Amy” and the improper placement of some lemons and limes. But as the themes of feminism and power in the play further, lines from Tina and of course Jill, played by Niamh Ryan were hard hitting and to the point.

I found the characters to be strong with each possessing a distinct individuality and their own world view, strongly expressed at differing points in the play. Niamh Ryan as “Jill” and Katie Reid as “Amy” were headstrong and often outrageous bringing in heavily the humour and dominance into the scenes but I feel too that “Tina” played a distinct role in balancing out the possibly deeper strength of characters in the acting of Niamh Ryan and Katie Reid.

The play addressed a form of modern day millennial message or struggle and a strong feminine message which broke down barriers of fear in that of being a woman, the restrictions and draw backs found that we see existing here as the story unfolds. Through strong will and true togetherness in friendship, the girls overcome their challenges and the energy within the play can be felt, through the honesty of humour and the true sense of belief in one another as women and as good friends.

Although the play only held one setting due to the limited stage space available, the actors made this work through their use of physical space to depict time passing and also the excellent use of selective lighting present was visually important. Props were used to a good affect, from the weapons to the couch – which both united and separated the girls at different stages. I think this also added some colour to the play in a different way than the strong comedy did, as sometimes the atmosphere was dreary as the sense of hopelessness became present for the characters at their current and somewhat fixed reality.

Niamh Ryan is clearly a multi-talented young woman, with excellent script writing skills and is a capable actress herself included. Having seen another Caca Dana production “Eternal Youth” before,” All The World’s A Cage” showed me a new side to the writing of Niamh Ryan and I think her talents are very diverse with the potential for a vast future to explore, which audiences of all kinds should enjoy.

I wish the team at Caca Dana Theatre company all the best for their ventures stateside and I look forward to their future productions, wherever they may be. You can check out their website here for further information: https://www.cdtheatreco.com/

21 blog posts series find five

21 blog posts series find five

Five: “Valuing and appreciating individual friends”

Friends are valuable things and I’ve come to realise recently that really, you can never have enough. They’ve addictive things, like a good box of chocolates. Now what’s good about the fancy chocolates you get? I’d personally say that it’s how each is a specially selected chocolate that has its own specific identity, and you have your favourites sure but you appreciated the individually of all.

You’re not going to be ungrateful for a box of chocolates just because you like some more than others.

This is the same of friends. What I’ve found is that sure, it’s great to have your old reliables, the quick fix that you know exactly what to expect from. Keep those close as they’re a necessity. Always appreciate the role they have in your life in terms of them always being there and close at hand.

But, have the oddballs and irregulars too. I find that a great way to do this is to have specific friends that are based on the mood you’re in or the mood you want to be in. If you’ve a bitchy or gossipy friend and you’re in the mood for a goss sesh, go straight to them. It’ll be a laugh if you’re in a foul mood.

If you’ve a friend with opposite views to you on things, don’t underestimate the value of this. If you don’t surround yourself with people who have varying views possibly different to your own, you aren’t being challenged to new thinking. You can even get yourself into something of a bubble affect where you only see one world view. Not ideal I’m fairly sure I’m right in saying.

Basing friends off your mood can be something great as you spread your friendship about. But no matter what, always appreciate each friendship no matter what level it’s at. The great thing about friendships is that they’re entirely unique to just you and somebody else. But as well as this, it’s a two way street.

You have to make time for friends. If you really do care about somebody as your friend, not having the time to meet them for a coffee or a quiet drink is something that can really hurt someone or even get on their nerves. Even if there’s no badness intended in your action, do you really want your friend feeling like that?

These sorts of things can cause bad feelings between friends and the last thing you want to do is fight with friends. It’s something that digs deep into you. Friends are people we’ve given our trust to, time and of course dedication. So feeling an unease there is something that leaves a definite uncertainty.

So with things like that, I’d always say it’s better to have things out in the air to settle it as soon as possible. Time moves very fast and allowing things to build up can have a real ripple effect and even appear in the form of an outburst that can change a friendship completely. So, best to be avoided wouldn’t you agree?

On that note I’d finally say: never exclude and always give some form a chance to people, out of simple respect. For the sake of the time you’ve given to a person: all the text messages, snapchat streaks, lazy days in front of the TV and adventurous summer activities among secrets and all important laughs shared – everyone deserves a second chance. If not, were all of those things meaningless? Prove to the friend of yours that they weren’t and don’t be the first to give up.

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

She

Of course it wasn’t about me,
Was it ever going to be?

Never the chosen one

but always the chosen, in the end I mean

 

I don’t feel jealousy anymore

I know she means something different to you

I will never understand.
You take my hand but I know somehow

hers is preferred

 

She can take you further than me

I don’t have that much to offer

She’s there and she can do it,

She has the power

 

She welcomes you in more than I do

It’s a safer feeling, such certainty

While I give you tales of some far away fantasy

that is never real for you

 
How selfish of me,

To expose this to you

knowing that you are where you are,

unchanging.

 
I will never get her nor her I

We will laugh and smile to one another but never talk, really.

She knows me but doesn’t ask to be kept up to date.

 
I’ll ask about her though,

Because I just want to relate to you

She’s your interest,

your something sweet,

in a setting I’m far gone from

 

 

Still you are my home,

My welcome back

While she’s something present and always exciting,

She can bring you away
Lift you from the reality that I left you in

Filling the gap that I was inevitably to bring.

The Chosen Few

When something is precious,
We keep it close.

Protect it, keep it safe from harm.

To do this we must arm ourselves.

 

My armour are those I hold dear,

The ones I turn to in times of fear.

Those who have seen tears shed and never fled.

And never will.

 

What can we do when the chosen few are not close-by,

Distance separating our beating hearts

With the worry of the ship falling wrecked.

 

Know: I keep you, I hold you.

My precious piece of armour.

You’re everything I need,
why my heart beats and bleeds.

A message amidst madness series: Facing Challenges

 

By Cathy Lee

“Cancer”.

It’s a threatening word that faces us in modern day life, something that we can’t back down from.

The pronoun before the dreaded word is very important too. “You have, I have, your wife has, your friend has” and so on.

Cancer is a sickening challenge, like that one competitor in the game who’s a born dominant fighter that you have to rise above to have a chance at overcoming.

Not an easy thing either, I might add.

How people tackle the beast of the C word has always fascinated me. From those suffering with the outer skin types, the internal organs types, brain tumours and in my opinion the worst case, the blood.

One in three people in Ireland today are affected by Cancer directly, but think about how many families and friends are indirectly affected.

This probably sounds like it’s going to be a downer piece but trust me, it’s not.

I want to share with you an incredible story of friendship, innovation and generosity which I witnessed in my own home town recently.

Last week I came across a link called “Aaron’s fight” that friends from home were sharing online. The image attached to the link looked kind and familiar, like I recognised the kids in the photograph across the screen.

The online world is a hectic place. Things such as these are easy to scroll past or look at half-heartedly. But not this one.

I clicked in, thinking some young lad from home had gotten in a fight or something. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this wasn’t the case.

“Aaron’s Fight” is a fundraising campaign for a young man, Aaron de Veerde, who has been fighting T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia for just over one year now.

Fighting is not strong enough of a term to describe this young man. From my reading and from talking to his best friend Blaine McKeever, who started this campaign, he’s an inspirational kid who has never wanted to give up.

Since his diagnoses, Aaron

has suffered the loss of sight in one eye and also missed out on the chance to finish secondary school with his classmates, a big step defining step in any adolescents life.

With this in mind, feeling inspired by his friend, Blaine came up with the innovative idea to use online means to secure Aaron a fighting chance at overcoming his cancer.

Blaine is a UCD student aged 19 and comes from Wicklow and is a long standing friend of Aaron. This campaign was a simple idea of telling Aaron’s story and appealing to the generosity of others in order to raise €10,000 for Aaron to travel to Florida to seek vital survival treatment.

This escalated over the last few days, with nearly 350 people donating to the cause online as well as directly to Blaine himself.

The €10k was collected in under a week from friends, neighbours and even those outside of the Wicklow catchment area.

The response was huge, as now there is even a charity concert being planned for early March with local bands who are friends of Aarons providing the entertainment.

“Aarons’ Fight” will go on until April, and the campaign continues today.

The extra donations past the now reached target are being used for family support and other donations such as to St. Vincents hospital, Dublin.

The support is huge and Blaine has been amazed by the ultimate generosity saying “It’s the people sharing and donating that deserve the thanks”.

What we can take from this story is that friendship is something extraordinary and any challenge, even one such as brutal as cancer, can be stepped up against with the strength and support in valuable numbers.

Daily, people complain about money constraints and their unwillingness to spend, yet this is such a different case. As the story grows and continues, I think the nature of giving will as well once this strong sense of dedication to friendship is recognised.

Check out the campaign here and I encourage you to donate to “Aaron’s Fight”. https://www.gofundme.com/aaronsfight