Report from Sharp Sticks, Driven Nails Launch
So the launch of Sharp Sticks, Driven Nails was last night and it was a good night.
Firstly, it has to be said that the Workman’s Club is a great venue – the front rooms have a stylish black and red theme going on, and the back room had an agitprop atmosphere.
Madeleine D’Arcy was up first, reading the opening story in the anthology, ‘Waiting for the Bullet’. It’s a great comic story and she is a very confident, natural reader. She really performed it – she even brought a toy gun up on stage with her as a prop. I noted away for future reference, ‘Read slow, read slow,’ as Madeleine’s unhurried, calm delivery really made the reading.
Last up was Kevin Barry reading his story ‘The Girls and the Dogs.’ Kevin is another accomplished performer and his story is hilariously depraved. He writes a brilliant sentence and then takes that sentence up a further notch in performance. I love how some of his sentences build and build, piling detail on detail of inspired grotesquerie.
My own performance was something of a learning experience. It was my first time reading a story publicly. I’ve read poetry on a number of occasions, but I quickly discovered that reading a story is much, much harder. It’s longer (in most cases) for one thing and requires a lot more concentration and arguably more performance skills, especially when you are dealing with dialogue. It was challenging, and really made me think about my story (and other stories) in a new way, in terms of their potential performability. By the end, I really enjoyed it, and I remembered to pause and slow it down at most of the right places!
Anyway, the anthology is out there now and kudos to Phillip O’Ceallaigh and Declan Meade for putting together such a diverse collection.