Samantha Emily Evans reminds us that event applications for On The Rocks 2016 are officially open, and the deadline is fast approaching.
It is the final countdown. On January 6th, 2016, event applications for On The Rocks 2016 close. If this is one of your New Year resolutions, or perhaps, like me, on your final year bucket list, it is time to get the creative juices flowing and send in your application.On the Rocks is the largest student-run arts festival in Scotland, and it is taking place in St. Andrews from April 1st to the 10th, 2016. It is only the largest student-run festival because of you!Previous years have seen festivals packed to bursting with creative events and awe-inspiring performances. From letter writing workshops to open-air Shakespeare, there is no event too big, or too small. The team of artistically minded St. Andrews students behind On The Rocks are looking for that spark of originality and talent that captures the essence of the seaside town. They are looking for drama, music, photography, art, dance, fashion, comedy, spoken word, film, food, anything at all - just get creative! As exemplified by their sell-out first semester event Mörder, a thrilling and dark take on fairytales set in St. Andrews' castle, the On The Rocks team is looking for the creative edge; they are reaching for new and original ideas to showcase the very best of the town and university.Caroline, the Festival Director, said: "Every year we want to make On The Rocks bigger and better than the year before. This absolutely could not be possible without the huge variety of people who come to us with wonderful ideas for events, classes, workshops and performances. It is really amazing to be able to help create and facilitate these events so that everyone, in the University and the town, can enjoy and appreciate the talent of St. Andrews."So go crazy, and dream! Then hop on to On The Rock's website and apply before January 6th! Samantha Emily Evans
Catriona Scottreviews ‘Everyman’ produced by the JOOT Theatre Company, which went up as a part of the On the Rocks Festival. Billed by the JOOT Theatre Company as a popular medieval morality play re-imagined for the modern world ‘by setting it on the context of a dream,’ Everyman certainly seemed an unusual and innovative piece. As a Joint Honours Medieval History & English student, this looked to be right up my street, and, although I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, I was definitely excited to be introduced, even in a re-imagined form, to medieval theatre. Everyman is an allegorical play that explores Christian salvation and how to attain it. Everyman (Hollie Whitfield), the character who represents mankind, is confronted by Death and, in the knowledge that God will judge him on the basis of his good and evil deeds, hopes to convince his various companions to join him in his final few days of life, in the hope of improving his account and ascending to Heaven. Unable to persuade any of the others, Fellowship or Knowledge, [material] Goods or Strength to accompany him to the grave, at the play’s close Everyman comes to the realisation that he is essentially alone, and worth nothing without his Good Deeds (Claire Merten).The production began with quiet, stark simplicity, in contrast to the complicated theological journey the play embarks on. Meirion Jordan stood alone in a spotlight and played an eldritch tune on the fiddle and as his music faded away the Prologue began (spoken by the Messenger, Ian Low) and the play too, in earnest. Jordan and Low remained at the back of the stage throughout; Jordan playing a drum almost continually and contributing to the feeling of impending doom as Everyman’s end drew closer, while Low moved both props and set, including the hands of a large clock, which was at the centre of the sparsely lit stage, showing the passage of time both in the world of the play, and in our own, even more clearly.This same sparseness cannot be said of the costumes, which were varied throughout with hints of the nineteenth century or, in some cases, almost futuristic. The kimono Everyman wore on top of white, glittery trousers was disconcerting for a good portion of the play as the items were jarring, but when the black kimono was replaced with the white penitential gown in a later scene, the reason for this disparity became clear. One other design of note, for good reason, was that of Death (Kenneth Spence), dressed as a miner, helmet and all; for one who dwells underground, this was a fantastic concept, all credit to the set and costume designer, Jo George. The portrayals of such a wide variety of characters as the allegorical Kindred, Confession and Beauty, as just three examples from the eighteen strong cast, were mostly excellent. Kindred and Cousin (Elizabeth Rogers and Mayalani Moes) provided an entertaining back and forth as a Tweedledee and Tweedledum-esque pair, physically bound together, and Claire Merten was the picture of innocence and helplessness as the initially frail Good Deeds. Hollie Whitfield as Everyman carried the production, brilliantly embodying her character’s fear and anguish in both soliloquies and dialogue, speaking with great clarity and understanding.The same cannot be said for the entire cast, unfortunately. For some, it seemed as though they were merely reciting their lines instead of adding to them with characterisation, while others seemed uncertain; one member of the cast noticeably consulted a script onstage for some speeches. As well as this, some of the actors spoke too quietly to be clearly understood; I was only in the fourth row and just managed to hear some of the dialogue. With such archaic language, clarity was essential for understanding what was happening between the characters. For the most part, however, the performances were earnest, and the cast worked well together. One image that stayed with me was several of the allegorical figures swearing to help Everyman by placing their hands on the cross she held, a wonderful tableau. The scene where Everyman punishes herself by flagellation was also notable; in the background Low provided the sound effect with an actual whip while Jordan played a mournful tune, with Everyman crying out both in pain and prayer.Everyman was only an hour long, but it incorporated a great many complex themes and ideas in difficult dialogue. I can personally say that I understood what was going on throughout, but that may only be due to my having studied Middle English over the past year; for some, especially those sitting further from the stage, I fear what was said onstage may not have been as comprehensible. However, what this production may have lacked at times in terms of clarity and diction, the company more than made up for with their enthusiasm and their cohesiveness as a group. Overall, I greatly enjoyed this introduction to the world of medieval morality plays, and I hope to see more from this company in the future. Catriona Scott Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/events/454500234713279/ and Lightbox Creative
Adam Ishaque reviews 'Oleanna' directed by Matthew Knapp and produced by James Hall, which went up as a part of the On the Rocks Festival. Oleanna is a piece of theatre that explores many ideas, as a good piece should. Delving into ideas of education, sexuality, humanity, and equality, the teacher-student relationship transcends the stage to the audience, and gives us a new insight. It was especially apt to present at a university. Where many students go from school to university without truly considering their actions, Oleanna shows us the harsh truth of surrendering to our supposed betters.The two-hander by David Mamet is widely known and revered. The story concerns John (Oliver Lennard), a university professor about to be granted tenure, and Carol (Hannah Ayesha Ritchie), a naïve student who does not seem to understand how she can improve her grades. The story evolves into a power-play where Carol tries to gain the upper hand by reporting John’s indecent behaviour to the tenure committee and effectually ruining his professional career and family life.Matthew Knapp’s direction served well in presenting this power-play. The set consisted of two chairs, a filled bookshelf, and a desk adorned with John’s files, his telephone and a picture (assumed to be of his family). The desk was the symbol of power. As the play progresses John moves from behind his desk to the student’s chair while Carol stands threateningly at the desk, displaying the shift in power as Carol’s actions chip away at John’s life and he changes from the educator to the learner. The casting choices were similarly superb. A final year and a first year actor presented the experienced teacher and vulnerable student impeccably well. With the evolution of their characters throughout the show, Oliver Lennard and Hannah Ayesha Ritchie stood up to the task of bringing this spectacle to an eager audience. They both had their moments to shine and they took advantage of each one.Ingrained in Oleanna is the debate of who is right – who is the one we should side with? In the Director’s Note, Knapp states that both are equally right and wrong. Sexual harassment is not to be excused (in whatever form) but is it worth the the life of a person? It was wise not to present either side with particular dominance. One can expect Mamet wrote the play with this debate in mind and it is a shame some directors choose to ignore this. Thankfully, Knapp presented Oleanna for what it was with the inherent unanswerable question - who is the true victim? Adam IshaquePhoto Credit: https://www.facebook.com/events/832726396799211/ and Lightbox Creative
You’ve seen the TV show—now come see the real thing. On April 11th at 7.00 in Buchanan, the Ballroom and Latin Dance Society will present Strictly Come Dancing, pairing up local celebrities with ballroom professionals to compete in an event like no other. We asked the organisers a few questions about the event; here’s what they had to say. Describe the event in three words.Strictly Come Dancing! What makes this event an unmissable part of On the Rocks this year?Unlike most dancing shows, Strictly Come Dancing is a competition between several people who have never danced before and have had to prepare routines under huge time pressure (about 2 weeks or so). It adds quite a lot of spice to their performances—not to mention that they all are relatively known in the Bubble. Also, the public get to vote for their favourites. What’s something people might not know about the show?Apart from the competition part of the event we have (actual) professionals attending from other Scottish cities to demonstrate some advanced-level ballroom and Latin dances. We also have guests from Edinburgh Salsa Society, and the Hummingbirds A Cappella group singing in the meantime—so there's actually much more to the show that the competition itself. Tickets are available from the Byre website:
Billed as an ‘afternoon of music and sustainability’, Music, Art and the Earth is taking place in the Botanic Gardens and is a fusion of art and music.We chatted to the team behind the show to find out more: What format does your event take?We will be having a relaxing afternoon for you to come along, watch some a cappella, hang out in the Botanic glass house and create some of your own artwork! What is special about Music, Art and the Earth?Our event is a collaborative event with Transition, a local group dedicated to community action to mitigate the impacts of climate change. We are really excited to be collaborate with them and bring together an atmosphere of fun but also allow people to engage with some of the great movements happening at a local level in our community. What do you want the audience to take away from the event?We want the audience to take away a fun and thought-provoking afternoon, and above all, to enjoy the beautiful Botanics on a lovely spring day! Music, Art, and the Earth will take place 1 – 4 in the glass house at the Botanic Gardens on the 8th April, £3 (http://byretheatre.com/events/otr-music-art-and-the-earth/)To find out more join the Facebook event Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/events/879621455433722/
Promising a jungle, desert, and mountain face, The Art of Adventure will cover all corners of Earth from our little corner of Fife. Photography and music will be brought together to explore the beauty that comes with adventuring. We chatted to the team behind the event: What format does your event take?
The art of adventure will be a cultural awakening allowing you to experience the sights and sounds of exploration. Local adventurer Peter Syme will be speaking for an hour (6:30-7:30pm) about two of his epic adventures. The rest of the evening will be filled with live music, film and poetry to enrich your adventurous spirit whilst you browse our adventure gallery including photography from French adventure photographer Alexandre Buisse.
What do you want the audience to take away from the event?
It will be a relaxed atmosphere enabling you to absorb our relentless passion for adventure and hopefully you will leave with the realisation that anything is possible. Adventure is everywhere go out and explore.
As part of this year's On The Rocks Festival, the German Society presents Der böse Geist Lumpazivagabundus by Johann Nepomuk Nestroy, performed in German with English subtitles. Partially set in fairyland, partially in the real world, three poor citizens share the same fate of winning the lottery, after which they part ways to fulfil their dreams. Through the escapades of the three main characters, Nestroy asks the audience whether people are controlled by greed, money or love. We caught up with Olivia Morton from the team behind Der böse Geist Lumpazivagabundus to find out more. Can you tell us a little about Der böse Geist Lumpazivagabundus?This will be the first-ever performance of this play in German in the UK, which makes it an ambitious, exciting project and something most people in St Andrews won't have ever seen before. There are hilarious moments (I think!) and the plot also raises some really interesting questions about the effect of money and wealth on people. I think the cast is doing a fantastic job so far, their enthusiasm is infectious, and I would encourage everyone to come along and see what we have been doing this semester! With subtitles in English based on an unpublished translation by Professor Michael Perraudin, it's an event accessible to everyone regardless of what languages they speak. There will also be a wine reception in the interval, where you will be able to chat with the cast, crew and everyone who has helped put the performance together, which promises to be a great evening. What are some of the challenges in producing a foreign language play?Because the cast is comprised of some native speakers of German and mainly of non-native speakers with various levels of experience with German, from beginner to near-native level, this obviously adds an extra dimension to perfecting lines. Additionally, the play is in Austrian German, which poses a bit of a challenge to some native speakers too! The progress we have made with the play is even more rewarding for me because we are doing such an ambitious project in another language. We have also received a lot of help from the German department, who have helped people memorise their lines on an individual basis, which has allowed us to get lines learnt early and really concentrate on the performance. I have especially enjoyed watching the cast grow in confidence and just enjoy being engaging and funny on stage. At this point, looking back on where we have come since the first read-through is really exciting, I am very proud of how far we have come and can't wait for the cast to put on a fantastic show on opening night! What would you like audiences to take away from your show??Most importantly I want the audiences to enjoy the show, see a fantastic play they have probably never seen before and appreciate all of the hard work that has gone into the production. I am excited to bring a bit of Austrian culture to a wider audience, as is the cast and crew. I am hoping a lot of our audience members will be using the subtitles to follow the text and that they have a great experience of seeing a memorable, funny and just really enjoyable play be put on for the first time. Catch Der böse Geist Lumpazivagabundus at 19:00 on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th April, in The Buchanan. Join the Facebook eventTickets are available from The Byre Box Office
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the St Andrews Brewing Company, so when the opportunity arose for me to attend a tasting there, I was helpless to resist. Sweetening the pot was the fact that the incomparable staff and stock of Luvians Bottle Shop fueled the evening. The event, called Sustainably Sloshed, was a part of the Green Week 2015 Programme, and it emphasized eco-friendly options for fans of all beers, wines and liquors. The premise of the event was focused on how with something as popular and commonplace as going out and enjoying a drink, sustainability is an important factor to consider.Guests first chose a beer or cider from the Brewing Company’s extensive menu at the bar downstairs. We then moved upstairs to the beer hall for the curated portion of the tasting. On offer were two red and two white wines, vodka, gin and whisky. A full list of the drinks served can be found at the bottom of this page.After a brief talk about the importance of sustainable brewing procedures and the benefits of buying locally brewed drinks while we finished our beer and cider, we were poured our white wines, a buttery chardonnay and a fruity pinot gris. Both were distinct and tasty, and a survey of the attendees revealed an even split in preference. The red wines that followed were a full-bodied Syrah and a jammy Garnacha. Guests preferred the Garnacha, but both wines were excellent choices.After a brief interlude to try the various flavours of crisps on our tables and recover slightly from the four glasses of wine we’d each just had, we moved on to the spirits. Each table had varieties of Fever Tree tonic water (a personal favourite) and lime wedges, should we choose to mix our drinks. Our first spirit, a potato vodka, was strong on the palate when drunk straight, but mixed brilliantly with tonic water and ice. Next, the gin, one with an excellent back story might I add, wowed everyone in attendance, even the gin-skeptics in the room. And finally, to finish, we tasted a whisky that had a surprisingly lovely banana flavor. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve enjoyed whisky, and this time was one of them.Knowledgeable and friendly people who genuinely cared about what they were serving directed the whole tasting, and the theme of sustainability was neither lost nor made into a gimmick. I had a chance to talk with organizers Madeline Belt, the University’s Environment and Ethics Officer, and Rachel Rotheram, a member of the Luvians staff, and ask them about sustainable alcohol and why they chose to host this event for Green Week. They explained:“Drinking is obviously an popular part of our social lives in St Andrews, and this was a good way to combine our interests and the environment. We thought that a great way to get people involved in Green Week was to offer them something that they would be interested in, and learn something from.“St Andrews Brewing Co are a really good model for the steps being taken to make the brewing industry a more sustainable one – a lot of ingredients are locally sourced, the leftover grain gets sent out to farms in the area. There’s St Andrews Brewing Co. that actually brews in town, Eden Mill making great gin, beer, and soon whisky over in Guardbridge, Luckie Ales near Glenrothes, and soon there’ll be Kingsbarns distillery in East Neuk. We’re ridiculously spoiled for choice when it comes to great local booze.“But its not just little companies making these changes – Brooklyn Brewery, for example, is run on electrical energy generated from wind farms alone and Sierra Nevada is a little under 100% powered by solar energy.”Their final advice on making ethical environmental choices when drinking? “The best thing you can probably do is to keep things close to home. In Fife alone there are some great local distilleries and breweries, so you can be pretty sure your alcohol didn’t travel far to get here.”With resources like we have, it’s easier than ever to source good-tasting, good-for-the-earth booze. Visit St Andrews Brewing Co and Luvians Bottle Shop for their excellent selections of sustainable alcohol, and keep your eye out for this event in case it comes back next year. It’s not one to be missed! Olivia Ives Tasting Menu: Les Tanes ChardonnayYealands Estate Pinot GrisJean Luc Colombo 2012 SyrahEl Mago Franck Massard Garnacha Tinto Arbikie Potato VodkaSacred GinBenromach Speyside Single Malt Whisky All available at Luvians Bottle Shop