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 ease eleven

21 blog posts series ease eleven

Eleven “Managing your money”

We’re always told about saving for that “rainy day” occurrence. It’s something that’s planted into our minds from an early age from pocket money to cashing in for brithdays or special events. I agree with saving for the rainy day and rightly considering that you might not have an influx of money in the near future. But sometimes, with the money demands that come with being a student, it can feel like it’s constantly overcast and the rainy day is happening constantly, just above our heads.

Never fear, these challenges can be tackled with a small bit of planning and some self control. Before I get into this I will say that it isn’t very good to live your life in fear of spending. What I’ve learned is that with each purchase or investment we make, we must decide on the how worthwhile the action is that we’re taking. Start with devising in your mind whether the thing is a want or a need, like a form of pro or con list. At the end of the day, every time we make a purchase we are making a choice whether something is worth it or not in terms of parting with your money.

However it is you get your income, money comes with responsibility attached. It can easily enough become something scarce when not handled or managed properly. A smart way to go about spending less is to get yourself well set up to deal with the unexpected. There are some great apps out there for money management which are worth a try for sure. But what I’ve found most useful is having two accounts to work off one as a spending and one as a saving account.

It’s not really that much of a hassle, it just divides your funds more fairly so you can attempt to stay on top of things, having something to fall back on if you really need it. I think there’s something built in us to love spending money, I don’t really know of anybody who doesn’t partake in the act. But I think surrounding yourself with people who you know may entice you to spend can sometimes be an act of harm. But this doesn’t have to be a thing you avoid if you put a bit of planning into it.

If you’ve arranged to meet a friend out somewhere, say a café or restaurant – familiarise yourself beforehand with the price range of the place. How much are you willing to spend here? What’s your budget? For me, budgets and weekly expenses can fluctuate. I’ll have more money in if I get more hours at work but I won’t if that doesn’t come together.

So what do I do? Lock myself away from the world if there isn’t a certain amount in my account? No. I would say, always do the thing if at all possible, but think ahead of what you might need to draw in on and make sure you keep your wits to do that. Plan out what the likely expenses will be and see if there are alternatives to these in the situation. This can be applied to any sort of social event when you really give it some thought.

Student life can bring with it huge pressures, from money to exams and really the balance is sometimes impossible to get right. Should you get more hours at work or in the library this week? It’s hard to know. So I’d say if you’re really stuck, don’t be afraid to go for the student loan option, be that from a bank or another source. We all place value on our degrees and if a loan is what you need to get that done, so be it. Grants are great things and should be thoroughly appreciated but when it’s a tough time financially, do what you have to do.

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

21 blog posts take ten

21 blog posts take ten

Ten: “Learning from mentors, appreciating wisdom”

I’m learning to drive at the moment and I now see exactly what all the fuss is about. You hear about the trying times and the challenges it brings along and I get that totally. You’re placed in control of a machine that has potential to be very powerful and it’s not something you should take on lightly. But I will say, when you’re learning to drive to make sure that you’re surrounded by those you trust when you’re in the car. Be this the instructor, family members or friends. These people are forms of mentors and rightly demand the respect that experience brings in these situations.

Sometimes it’s better to shut your own inexperienced mouth and listen to what the other person has to say, but I will say don’t be a robot. It’s about striking the balance of self trust between taking on the instructions of others. Appreciate the fact that skills take time to learn and practise is very much key, a little reward or two is fine as well during this time. So the point being that I would see my driving instructor as something of a mentor to me, but I’ve come to realise that mentors and wisdom can come from many sources, not just your elders or those with a certain skill set.

Everyone can possess wisdom and I feel it’s something very disrespectful to doubt the thoughts and ideas of a person just because they’re younger than you. Sure, young people are trying to find their feet and place in an ever changing world but really, it’s not your job to make that task even harder by placing doubt in their abilities. I think wisdom comes from understanding, and each and everyone’s youth is something that was involved in that process.

Alongside appreciating the worth of youth, is respecting the place of the wisdom age brings with it. With this I would say, place value on the time you spend with older people. The stories they can have of their past lives and challenges they faced can be something truly fascinating. No matter how highly or lowly educated these people are, they’ll possess knowledge of things that you really wouldn’t think.

It just takes a little bit of time to dig this information out. But once you dedicate yourself to doing just that, it can really be something eye opening. The most important thing when it comes to this is how indeed you can apply this wisdom into your own life. The past generations had some good ideas and qualities and of course I know that times have and are changing, but it doesn’t mean that this way of life be completely lost.

For the most part anyway, we all love our grandparents and we cherish the fact that we are lucky to have them around. Show that you respect that fact and give your free time to sit down and lend them an ear. It doesn’t have to all be stories from way back when, you can throw in some of your own as well. The best way to start a dialogue is to simply freely open it. This can be something truly rewarding.

I attended a family reunion last month which had over 160 attendees of relatives from near and far. Looking around the room at happy faces it could be seen how although everyone lives separate lives, there was a respect and honestly about the room as everyone wanted to listen to one another and just simply share a joke or an old story.

This is something we should place value on. These stories get passed down through generations for a reason and I think we all have a part to play in keeping this alive.

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

21 blog posts series take two

21 blog posts series take two

Welcome back.

Day two brings us to the topic of travel, in that of appreciating how easy it is for us as EU citizens, the opportunities and adventures out there available to us.

Two: “Appreciating the ability to travel”

It feels strange writing about travel at a time like this. Just hours earlier on today, the city if London that I visited the week after my 21st birthday saw horror in the form a terrorist attack. The chaotic scenes flashed on to my TV screen when I arrived home today and took it all in. It felt strange to recognise the area so vividly, but it looking utterly different from the positivity I had seen there in early December.

I think in one sense of it, the aim of terrorism is to contribute in the form of creating that scene of distress, to take away the positivity associated with a place and flip everything over to show complete destruction instead. Destroying everyday like in causing heart-breaking chaos.

Of course following this, we’ll have heightened security and possibly further fear formed. I understand that this is of course necessary to protect citizens.

But I think to keep the sense of appreciation of traveling and staying true to ourselves as humans, travel and ease of travel needs to be part of what makes up human life. If we think of a world without integration and travel, without the mix of different cultures, people and places – I really don’t see that as a colourful or warm place to be.

Travel is essential and we are so lucky to have the ease of travel that we have. Just last week I went to visit a friend in Amsterdam, Holland. We also have another friend there who is studying on Erasmus. If the indicators around free travel within the EU and the systems of Erasmus were to change, these incredible experiences and opportunities for personal growth wouldn’t be possible. I’ve seen my friends grow and truly appreciate travelling, whether that be in the form of Erasmus, J1’s or even inter-railing. It’s all about the ability to interact like that and do so at ease. To really make travel your own independently.

I will admit that acts of terrorism can play a part in jeopardising that freeing mindset.

But one negative should not outweigh the endless positives. I think travel is something organic and easily integrated into our regular lives. It can play a huge role in the development of friendships and relationships, continued on wherever the people may be in the world.

Travelling to new places as a young person can really contribute to someone’s confidence as well as their own perspective on various things in the world, from humane issues to climate issues. It’s such an eye opening thing that I think everyone should get involved with in some shape or form. There’s an explorer or adventurer in us all and whether that be a big or small part of you, it cannot be ignored.

Also if indeed you are a bit of a home bird, I really think that you have to go away and come back to truly appreciate what you’ve missed and value your sense of belonging that comes with the security of home.

Being in the EU is such a resource to encourage us to travel. The dedication in the form of policy really places value of travelling during your youth and that in itself gave me a high appreciation for the mentality behind it. The inter-railing and Erasmus experience can be costly but in the end it’s something truly priceless. To put yourself somewhere new, challenges you to open your mind to new ideas and be immersed in something totally new.

The very best of luck to those taking on such a challenge and my heart goes out to those in London today.

 

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

The first of 21 blog posts

The first of 21 blog posts

Welcome back to the blog as it should be.

I welcome you back to a brand new series, of something never seen before on this blog. I see blogging as something personal that you’re presenting on a bigger platform. That being said, on reflection of my two year old blog (yes, a whole two years!) I’ve come to the conclusion that it maybe it wasn’t as personal as it perhaps could have been.

So I’ve decided to change that. For the next 21 days at 21hrs nightly – starting today on the 21st of March – I’m going to blog about 21 things I’ve learned since turning 21 (that being November of last year, if anyone is wondering about that).

I’ve chosen various topics from the personal to the ambiguous but throughout I hope to give some insight to my own learning of each topic from personal experience. Just to give you a taste these will vary from: appreciating history, learning from mentors, social media, money management, travel, politics and really, really much more.

I hope some of these topics will peak your interest and so I start with the first one, where else?

One: “The importance of being reflective”

I think that one of the most important skills we can learn and even teach ourselves is that of being reflective. This being: reflective of ourselves, our actions, faults and achievements. This can be both a positive and negative thing, as it takes you to different highs and lows that have occurred in your life. But I hope that through this process, sometimes challenging, we can find something incredibly new altogether.

This year in my journalism course, each student has to take part in in individual “reflective process” after completing each segment of the course. While I’ve been on work placement for the majority of the year, in the office we always had a bit of laugh that I had to go home and reflect for my college course or my day’s work.

But really, after thinking about it like this, it’s something so important to do.

If we didn’t reflect on our studies, I don’t think that we’d get as much out of what we’ve been taught. Education is something we dedicated a chunk of our lives to as well as our overall income, don’t we want to get the most out of it as possible?

Being reflective is something that is very personal and I suppose it comes to into the idea of giving a bit of self-love. I really think we are our own biggest critics, whether that’s something good or bad, I leave entirely up to you. If we reflect on our actions, we can pinpoint what we didn’t like and even train ourselves to be better the next time.

We don’t know for sure why things happen to us in life exactly as they do and I think in being reflective we can in some way help overcome that challenge. Putting things into perspective in a reflective way to me is like a calming process, an essential cleanse.

Life is full of decisions and that seems to be something never ending. In being reflective, going back on your past decisions and deciphering what was good for you or what wasn’t at all for you, can make a huge difference to taking on a decision you face.

I guess life is all about understanding yourself, to then go on and get on in the world you’re surrounded with. Being reflective is a key tool to doing this.

So in reflection: I want to challenge myself and give something back to this blog, the time and care it deserves. I look forward to sharing these twenty-one lessons with you.

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

Nothing in particular

By Cathy Lee

 

I’m not doing

Anything in particular

Just taking in those humble sounds

Of those around me, enjoying their selected company

 

From young to old, all collected here

 

It’s dimly lit and homely

Comfortably warm

While for show an unused fire,

Is completely provided for just in decoration

 

This is simply where I am

It’s recognisable

But not incompletely special

 

The wax trickles slowly down and it’s something steady

The bright yet translucent colour of the flame won’t give up

Not just yet

 

It’ll hold on with me, to welcome the next person to sit in its company

 

We’re in the land of a thousand welcomes

That is becoming something more special, now

Considering

 

Considering what’s going on, the current state of things

Those things that so affect us, going as far down deep as our morale and self-worth

 

The perspective of us, it’s shifting

The plates are moving further away

Shifting away from what’s known

 

I think these sails are facing backwards

The wind here is reckless and unusual

It’s no longer comfortable on this deck

 

I’d rather walk the plank,

Step off the platform and into the unknown

 

From one state of unknown to another

But consider this:

Coming out the other side,

Better.

Shortlist, Irish Blog Awards

Delighted to announce that this blog of mine has been selected to be on the Shortlist for the Irish Blog Awards 2016 for the Current Affairs/Political section of the competition.

It’s something incredible to have my blog listed alongside eleven others whom are as dedicated to writing and having an online platform on which to voice their views on such as this. I’m humbled honestly and I really wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has ever taken an interest in this site over the last year and a half of its existence.

Now, you have until Tuesday to VOTE for the blog which you can do by following this link: https://blogawardsireland.secure-platform.com/a/gallery/rounds/17/details/8666

I really appreciate this so much and it’s such a boost for going forward. Thanks to everyone who I know will vote!#LWIBloggies2016

 

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