The Mayor Mary Roche marked the 25th Birthday of Red Kettle Theatre Company with a reception in her office at City Hall where there was a touching moment where absent friends were remembered. She articulated the pride, this city feels for their own professional theatre company and she spoke about the vital role of theatre and arts in the identity of a place. She had no fear for the survival of art and theatre makers.

She presented a copy of The God’s Are Angry Miss Kerr to its author and Red Kettle founder member Jim Nolan and recalled that she had played the role of Janey Mack in that seminal production.

It was a proud feeling to be at this reception with an old friend from my schooldays John’s Park-born Canadian, Eamonn Roche and his wonderful wife, Christy. It turned out he is a cousin of our beautiful Mayor.

It was nice to meet other old friends like Jim Nolan and his charming mother, Alice, Des and Mona Manahan, Conor Nolan Arts Officer, TV Honan, Ben Hennessy and his brother Tony. Jo Moylan the dowager of all things theatrical added to the sense of occasion as did Brian Dots Doherty.

To see the mix of generations was good and the future of Red Kettle was in the dreams and hopes of Jenny Clooney, Nick Kavanagh, Joe Meagher, Alex Browne, Holly Browne, Ben Quinlan and Ann O’Riordan.

Anna Manahan

After the Red Kettle reception the party moved to the city Library Lady Lane where Sinéad O’Higgins presided over Anna Manahan Remembered where the ladies of Positive Aging set the scene and guest of honour Barry Cassin spoke about his early and later memories of Anna Manahan and Irish theatre history. Fascinating stuff as he told about Equity Productions, Phillis Ryan and Gemini Productions. Billy McCarthy interviewed Barry Cassin and it was a pleasure to meet Anna’s brother Val with Terry Kiely and Jim Falconer who chauffeured Anna for years. Once again it was a pleasure to meet Declan Hassett who wrote sisters for Anna as it was to meet those darlings of John’s Park, Peg Tebay and Alice Power. The famed star and vaudevillian Denny Corcoran was in great form.

Window Dressing Art

Seems like a joke, a pretentious con-job in the guise of being an art exhibition or is it some clever statement about the ordinariness of an art experience and that art is all around us. Artist Chris O’Brien Shanahan calls it Window Dressing Art in a temporary art space – a site specific installation of recent work – the window of Kilo Wholefood Store 39 Michael Street.

Her small catalogue says the work in jars and some photos is inspired by gathering berries in the wild, harvesting cultivated apples, the ritual preparation of fruits…The craft…like performance art. But all you get are jars of coloured whatever in a window.

I just think it is a con-job, to provoke discussion about what non-art is. O’Brien Shanahan says – the documentation of art becomes Art. Bunkum might be a better word.

However, I have to accept that it has got people talking and visiting Kilo. Inside there is an emporium of taste and taste sensations – a wonderful visual and tactile place that this artist has used to pull people’s leg of goodwill. Visit the store, talk to the owner, Brett McGrath, perhaps even buy something.

That’s it, it is a marketing experiment. A trick to get you into the shop and a play to get Chris O’Brien Shanahan the arts notice she is hoping for.