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Kildare Youth Theatre Irish Premieres: 31 Mar - 3 Apr 2003

Totally Over You by Mark Ravenhill and Purple, by Jon Fosse : 31 March - 3 April : Riverbank, 8pm : Tickets €10 / €7.50

After months of work the members of KYT are proud to present the Irish premieres of two new plays written especially for youth theatres. These plays were commissioned by the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain for its Shell International Connections Festival of Youth Theatre, and as such, have not been performed anywhere in the world until this month. KYT will showcase them here before travelling to the Irish leg of the festival held in the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in April.

Totally Over You by Mark Ravenhill
Inspired by Molière's Les Précieuses Ridicules, Mark Ravenhill's ironic new play examines the world of instant celebrity, branding and illusion in an age of Big Brother and Pop Rivals. It is a love story for anyone who's ever dreamt of becoming a pop star, told a few lies and been dumped. This is a comic gem from one of the most talented and controversial writers of his generation. In Totally Over You, Ravenhill spotlights some of the most challenging issues facing young people today. It is directed by Peter Hussey, who also directed the Irish premiere of Ravenhill's brilliant Wildean farce, Handbag, for Crooked House in 1999.

Purple by Jon Fosse
In a cold, dank underground room underneath an old factory a boy shows a girl where he and his band rehearse. The boyfriend of the girl appears - the drummer - and there's immediate tension in the air. Purple is a mood-piece that explores the intriguing relationships between a tightly knit group of teenage boys and one girl. Not only is this an Irish premiere but it is also the first time that Finnish writer Jon Fosse has had his work produced in Ireland. Purple is directed by Darren Donohue and Yvonne Ó Hara, both of whom directed KYT's hit show A Midsummer Night's Dream in May 2002.

Both productions are designed by Ciarán Aspell.

KYT perform Totally Over You in London's National

KYT opened the Shell Connections Festival last Tuesday with Totally Over You. The production was excellently received by both critics and audience.

Kildare Youth Theatre returned from London this week having been selected to perform Mark Ravenhill’s Totally Over Youin the Cottesloe auditorium of London's Royal National Theatre. The young company opened the Shell Connections 10 day festival of selected youth theatres with their wonderful production of Ravenhill's specially commissioned play for teenagers.

Selections from Reviews

“Forget the rent boys and crack dealers – in Mark Ravenhill’s latest play the focus is firmly on the superficial appeal of celebrity, in a world where teens can dream either of being whirled to fame by Pop Idol or of breaking down on the Jerry Springer Show.
Here music is not the food of love unless garnished with promoters, screaming fans, movie deals and international tours – and if a boy can’t display the photogenic cheekbones of Brad Pitt or the publicity muscle of Robbie Williams, then he will never get the girl.
This, at least, is the premise of Ravenhill’s Totally Over You, one of 10 new plays commissioned for the National Theatre’s Shell Connections season, which targets secondary schools and youth theatre groups.
[…] Ravenhill’s play is based on Les Précieuses Ridicules, and was performed in a sparky, streetwise production by the Kildare Youth Theatre, complete with a satirically bland boyband.
If Totally Over You has a weakness, it is that a plot where four girls dump four boys in order to date celebrities can lead to over-repetitive observations on a world view fired by Heat magazine. Despite this, director Peter Hussey has coaxed winningly comic performances from a frequently entertaining script about the hormone-fuelled follies of the age. Kristina Peacocke as the calculating Kitty and Keith Burke as the boyfriend who heads a fake boyband to win her back lead a spunky, talented cast that differentiates with humorous acuity between school goers who are fashion victims and those who are merely victims.
[…] It displays both the energy and diversity necessary for theatre to enjoy a healthy future.”
- Rachel Halliburton, The Evening Standard, 16 July.

Four Stars****
"The National Theatre's new Shell Connections programme has begun on a high. Ten of our leading younger playwrights (including sarah Daniels, David Farr, Mark Ravenhill, Philip Ridley) have been commissioned to write shortish plays to be performed by youth groups; 165 schools or youth groups across Britain and the world are involved; and now the cream of the results is being presented across seven double-bills (July 15 - 22) at the Cottesloe Theatre.
[…] Superaltives for the play after the interval: Kildare Youth Theatre's enchantingly funny production of Mark Ravenhill's Totally Over You ...This is the lightest, most endearing, most hilarious, and most flawless play I've ever seen from him. ... And oh every detail is so funny."
- Alastair Macaulay, The Financial Times 17th July.

Three Stars ***
[Ravenhill's] play is set in any place where fame is the spur. His four schoolgirls long for celebrity, for their faces to be everywhere - the Coke tin, on the mouse pad. How to achieve this is a minor problem, and feminism seems to have made little headway in their minds if they intend to rely on dating celebrated men. First, however, they must dump their zitty boyfriends, and Ravenhill wittily starts off with four neatly varied rejection scenes. The boys seek revenge and the apparently dimmest among them (nice sense of the absurd from Ross Mac Mahon) comes up with a scheme that involves the local drama class: the four dumped boys will pretend to be a boyband, too cool, too famous, to bother with local girls.
There is a Molière play at the back of all of this, Les Précieuses Ridicules, but Ravenhill’s update is clever - and funny at least until after the moment when the foursome perform. The band name they invent for themselves is Awesome, and the just understated parody of boyband steps, shades and silly little dances (director: Peter Hussey) is as neat as the name, send-ups that edge over the boundary into the genuine.
Sorting out the consequences takes nearly everything back to square one, but perhaps Kitty – the girl’s leader – has learnt to look for the substance not the shimmer. On the other hand, Kristina Peacocke’s lofty distain in the early scenes is so convincingly contemptuous of the uncool, I would be prepared to bet she would eventually reject Keith Burke’s engagingly dismayed Jake a second time. Fame may be the spur but the longing for it is a goad that never gives up. A very Ravenhill point.
- Jeremy Kingston, The Times, 18 July.

Three Stars *** “[…] Mark Ravenhill’s 21st century teenage revenge drama puts laughs above gore, and will probably be revived more then some of his famous plays, such as Shopping and F***ing. That is only right, because it has been specially commissioned along with nine other plays for performance by schools and youth theatre groups as part of the Shell Connections season.
This National Theatre performance came courtesy of Ireland’s Kildare Youth Theatre, who performed it with evident enjoyment. It might be slight and deliberately light in tone, but it has plenty to say about a culture where our dreams are lies. And in the process it celebrates the transforming power of theatre.
- Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, 17 July.

Kitty – Kristina Peacocke
Jake – Keith Burke
Rochelle – Aoife Whelan
Hannah – Gillian Harrington-Lynch
Sinita – Deirdre O’ Donnell
Dan – Neil Connolly
Tyson – Joseph O’ Malley
Framji – Ian Hollinshead
Victor – Ross Mac Mahon
Letitia – Alice Cunningham
Donna – Orla Tinsley
Rachel –Sarah O’ Farrell
Indu – Emily Mc Cann
Rubin – Declan Armstrong
Michael – Eoin Barnes
Drama class – Joanne Browne
Catriona Curran
Sean Reid
Sophie Longwill
Terry Phipps

Director – Peter Hussey
Set & Lighting Design – Ciarán Aspell
Sound – Peter Hussey
Stage Manager (KYT) – Eric Higgins
Group Leaders – Darren Donohue, Yvonne O’ Hara, Alison Hollinshead, and Deborah Mc Cann


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