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We sent an email once a day to anyone who wanted to play and we asked them: What did you learn today?

Twenty ten was a huge year. The bonds, the bailout, the IMF, the snow. While all of that was going on we were making a show about it, as it happened. At the end of 2009, we asked everyone we knew to be a part of our next show.

We asked them to play our ‘2010 Game’

Those who said yes, recieved an email from us every day in 2010.

We asked them; What have you learned today?

They told us that the 25a won’t get you as far as Lucan. They told us that they were falling out of love with their partners, that they were embarrassed of Ireland and that they couldn’t work their new TV remote. They told us about birthdays and christenings and funerals.

They told their friends about our game and they played too. Other people heard about it online and some heard about it in the pub or in a newspaper.

They learned about Gaza, Bloody Sunday and Cancer Research. They learned about infitity and infidelity. They told us they felt alone. They told us they had run out of washing powder and they had no money to buy any more.

Now we have an archive created by a crowd and we’ve learned that we all felt the same things at the same time, and now we want you to know that too.

We were left with 4,000 of these responses.

And we made a show out of them.

Twenty Ten was a serial epic. Each nightly episode represents two months of 2010.

On the 17th of September 2011 we performed a seven hour marathon show. The omnibus.

Twenty Ten was developed as part of Project Brand New (PBN) through PBN’s programme of work for Imagine Ireland in the USA, a Culture Ireland initiative. It premièred on 10th September 2011 in the space Upstairs at Project Arts Centre at ABSOLUT Fringe as our Spirit of The Fringe Commission. on TWENTY TEN

“Having attended the play last night – the May-June segment, Shane’s (Byrne) description of the babble of voices being kept at a distance of anonymity was realised with lucid clarity. With six actors sitting along a table, facing the audience in a Last Supper sort of layout, we the viewer are fed back the information which we, as the public, initially supplied them with.

This confrontational delivery of the lines means a layer of illusion is removed in that the concept of a self-contained reality on stage is not adhered to. At one point a slow approach by the actors to the very front of the stage, where they scan the crowd,  increases this sense of co-existence, with every step forward being counter-balanced by a step back, a possible elaboration of the frustration some of the contributors expressed at their inability to act on their desires or achieve even simple happiness.

So emphatic is this supposed awareness of us, the viewer, one almost forgets the invisible filter of the actor-audience dynamic and feels compelled to shout out a response – I had to keep reminding myself it was theatre and not interactive performance art, and bite my tongue whenever a question was directly posed. Others who attended last night felt a similar sensation of perimeters pushed and boundaries tested;

The avoidance of attributed identity so essential to the composing of the script is maintained in the play’s production, in that no actor performs the role of a single character, all six constantly quote different personae and must alter their mood and delivery at lightening speed. Similarly, the tone of the play throughout its duration swings from blunt humour to the outright moving, so that at the start of a portrayal of shoplifting the audience may be laughing, but at its end feel rebuked for prematurely judging the tone. This incessant splicing and merging of the material could plausibly result in something more disjointed than it is articulate, but the script has an easy flow that is really only segmented by a ‘pinging’ sound, which means we’ve encroached upon another day.

This monitoring of progress is signalled by the numbers 1-31 suspended above the stage, which light up accordingly.This is indeed the only source for any sense of grounding, with the rest of the play seeming an exercise in displacement; with projected voices speaking for silent statuesque figures and actors stepping backstage to deliver a monologue through a television screen, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine where it is we should be looking, where the central action is taking place. In short, it’s impossible to guess what could happen next, a testament to THEATREclub’s keeping grasp of how the play’s first roots came to fruition, through spontaneous unrelated updates on the lives of those willing to participate.

In their quick-fire change-overs, darting between the categories of love, work, finance and gender, the actors are totally consumed by the content they deliver. The subject matter continually drives the play forward, rarely wavering in its intensity which is sourced in an inability to locate and define any single voice with certainty. Each statement must be taken afresh at face value, and we must employ our entire capacity for empathy to do justice to each one, again and again.”

All photos by Louis Haugh

Cast & Crew

“Twenty Ten was a serial epic. Each nightly episode represents two months of 2010.”