Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Something to Hide

A book recommendation, from John Fanagan : "I've just finished Something to Hide by Penny Perrick. It's a biography of the Irish poet Sheila Wingfield who died in 1992. She isn't much read now and hasn't been for many years, but some of her poems (a number are included in the Appendix) are quite appealing. Her life was fascinating: rich, beautiful, married to the Powerscourt heir, in later years addicted to drugs. I found the book hard to put down: it's a fascinating story and Penny Perrick does it justice. I strongly recommend it."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

2000 visitors

Yesterday we had our 2000th visitor, half-way through our second term. Traffic has increased steadily over the last couple of months, with 500 visitors in February alone, and now over 50 countries worldwide represented (recently from Lithuania, Singapore, Malta, Thailand, Norway, Sri Lanka ...). Referrals mostly come from Google, Wikipedia and the College site, and of course we have lots of regular parent/staff/pupil/Old Columban visitors.

'Bones are not lovely'

Sophie Haslett's article, previously posted here as 'The Shape We're In', is published today in the Irish Times (requires registration).

Monday, February 26, 2007

Popping the Question

Ronan Swift, producer of A Marriage Proposal, writes about the recent successful production :-

"The play is a brief one, even by one-act yardsticks, so we devised an opening tableau not suggested by Mr. Chekhov. Using a Shostakovich chamber symphony (cleverly looped by Benjamin Russell using a software package called “Garage Band”) we presented Lomov readying himself, as we imagined it, before walking out to nervously pop the question. Not only does he don waistcoat and tails, but checks his teeth for stains, his breath for undesirable odour! For the father/daughter relationship we tried to suggest a playful patriarch stymied by a fractious, argumentative and brat-ish lassie. He imagines a wildfowl shoot in his reception room, she scolds. She waltzes with a watering can suggesting perhaps her longing for a more animate object for her affections. Wait a minute; am I getting a bit heavy for you here? Yes, disgraceful indulgence, enough already and if you have read this far you deserve a more easygoing, conversational tone, it is a blog after all, not a prospectus. Well done. Good."

For the rest of his p
iece, 'Popping the Question', click here. We plan to put on the production again on March 15th in the BSR.

Pictures : top, preparing for the dress rehearsal (Ben Russell, Ben Armstrong, Ellie Russell). Below - waiting for the public performance.

Friday, February 16, 2007

St Andrew's acting awards

Our entry at the St Andrew's drama festival, Chekhov's A Marriage Proposal, went down very well on Wednesday night. The adjudicator commented on the 'three very good performances' by our actors Ben Russell, Ben Armstrong and Ellie Russell, and the 'very intelligent direction' by Ronan Swift. And last night at the awards ceremony, great news came that Ben Russell was Best Actor at the festival (he was also a superb Malvolio in our Shakespeare Society production of Twelfth Night in November), and Ellie Russell runner-up as Best Actress. We hope to put on the production again in school after the exams, particularly since many missed it due to sickness.

Half-term starts today, and term resumes on Monday 26th February, when posting on this site will also resume.

Visitors to this site seeking information on the English teaching job currently being advertised for September, please click here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Junior Play

Last weekend's production of Molière's The Hypochondriac (Le Malade Imaginaire) was a great success - an ambitious and difficult undertaking with young performers, the cast covering five different forms, from Primary up to IV. The picture shows Sebastian Stephenson and Sarah O'Mahony on stage (the production was put on 'in the round').

David Cooper (IV) played the part of Beralde, the hypochondriac's brother, and writes :-

"Without trying to sound corny, I thought it was a brilliant experience and I think the whole company enjoyed it greatly. Everyone's looking forward to next year and to more dramatic experiences in the future ... continued."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Marriage Proposal

Tonight our entry for the St Andrew's One-Act Drama Festival is being performed in Booterstown, with our Transition Year travelling along to watch and support. Last night there was a final run-through in the BSR, in front of an audience during prep.

Anton Chekhov's A Marriage Proposal is a short farce written in 1888-9. Ivan Vassiliyitch Lomov (Ben Armstrong, right in picture), arrives to ask his neighbour, landowner Stepan Stepanovitch Tschubukov (Ben Russell, left), for the hand of his daughter (Ellie Russell) in marriage. The two young 'lovers' can't help bickering - over land, dogs, anything. The play ends 'happily', with the two betrothed obviously destined for a quarrelsome life together.

Ronan Swift's inventive past-paced production opens with the strains of the allegretto from Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony 110a, and features excellent acting from all three performers, two with unfeasibly large eyelashes and two with splendid moustaches.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Post for English teacher

Ads will shortly appear in the Irish Times and the Times Educational Supplement for a new English teaching job in our Department. See the full details by clicking here. Interested applicants should contact the Warden, Dr Lindsay Haslett, by email or post as indicated. A good idea of the Department's activities can obviously be got from this site, and applicants might also look at the College's site.

(late March : please note that this job is no longer available).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Transition Year Information Evening

A reminder to parents reading this, that next Thursday we have our TY Information Evening (BSR, 7.30 pm, Calendar) - of particular interest to parents of III formers, but of course all others welcome too. This blog has details of our current English course (here) and plenty of posts over the last few months on TY activities - click on Transition Year in the sidebar under Labels. Our course has been running for over 10 years now, and has been an extremely successful bridge between the Junior and Leaving Certificates. At the moment IV form are studying Othello, and also starting to put together their Work Portfolios.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Le Malade Imaginaire

The Junior Play, Molière's The Hypochondriac (Le Malade Imaginaire) is performed on Friday and Saturday nights in the BSR at 7pm. It tells the story of Argan (played by Sebastian Stephenson), an inveterate hypochondriac. The author himself played this part in 1673 during its fourth performance, collapsed on stage and died some hours later - rather obviously genuinely ill and not feigning. For a summary of the plot, click here.

Pictured earlier tonight at the dress rehearsal, Cléante (Fred Mann) and Argan's daughter Angélique (Celeste Guinness) sing their love to each other as Argan, his maidservant Toinette (Sarah O'Mahony), Diaforious Senior (Robin Fitzpatrick) and Thomas Diaforious (Lorcan Maule) listen.

For the cast-list, click here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Reading survey

On display - latest news from our own newspaper, 'The Columban English Department'. Our first poll (voting still on here) suggests that our visitors read about a book a week.

Our next poll, now on the top of the right sidebar, surveys what kind of books our visitors read most often.

Well done to Lewis Mathews, winner of Saturday's House Debating final, and his House Glen.

(thanks also to The Newspaper Clipping Generator).

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Hypochondriac

More on the Junior Play. Sandrine Pac, in overall charge, writes :

"The Hypochondriac is on his way!

We are counting down to the big night. As we are getting closer, the rehearsals are getting more numerous and the actors are very busy juggling lines to learn, songs, preps and games. We even had a broken leg in the middle of it, but after all the play is about getting better, so you'll see if it has been fixed on the night! One thing is sure, the actors and Dr Stone (the Director) are giving it everything.

Meanwhile, Mr McCarthy has been busy writing the music and is now taking care of the music rehearsals with the different actors. We are very thankful to him for his time and expertise. Mr Girdham has also been helping with some scenes so that it will be perfect on the night. This week, there will be a full rehearsal on Monday evening and a costume-check. Then, we will be looking at the play in detail so that Tuesday and Wednesday are spent getting it perfect. Thursday will be the dress rehearsal and then Friday and Saturday the two big shows. "

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Junior Play

Rehearsals are now in their final week before next weekend's performances of Moliere's The Hypochondriac. The production is being done 'in the round', with the audience surrounding a small platform in the middle of the Big Schoolroom. Pictured are three of the main performers in rehearsal -David Cooper and Sebastian Stephenson on stage, with Celeste Guinness waiting.

Rehearsals also continue for our entry to the St Andrew's one-act drama festival, Chekhov's A Marriage Proposal. This will be presented internally in the BSR on Tuesday 13th February, before it travels to Booterstown on the following evening.

House Debating final

Tonight in the BSR at 8.15 we have the final of our House Debating competition, on the motion 'This House would reject any further expansion of the European Union.' The finalists are from Hollypark and Glen.