Love/Hate and A Night Out at the Theatre

Yes, as alluded to in my previous post, this past Wednesday, 18 Sep., my programme-mates and I attended “Bailegangaire” at the Town Hall Theatre.  The only light note was that the theatre was quite small, and as such, we all noticed that Irish comedian, actor and writer, Tommy Tiernan, came to see the same play himself! Galway being chill per se, no one bothered him, even when he stood outside during the 20-minute intermission. (Even me, promise – I just gawked from afar. Ireland is only 4 million in population, but still).

As if the Tom Murphy play wasn’t already dark and hopeless for a long while throughout the play, near the end, one of the audience members had, most unfortunately, passed out.  They were OK, thankfully, although the irony of that happening during a Tom Murphy play was pretty shocking.

While we had planned to go to Hughes’ bar after, we really felt relieved once the play was over.  “Enjoyable” would not be the word to describe watching the play. Stressful and cynically funny at times, yes.  Just to give you an idea of the nature of the play, “Bailegangaire” is Irish for “the Town Without Laughter”. We went to this play because prior to it this week, our three different groups in class had each been required to read a different Tom Murphy play (none of them “Bailegangaire”).

Due to our Tom Murphy readings and how they reveal a lot of unpleasant aspects of Irish culture, several of my classmates insisted that I watch Love/Hate – a rather violent drama about gangs, set in Dublin, Ireland – in order to understand contemporary Irish culture.  The show ended in November of last year and was extremely successful, totalling five seasons, although so far I’ve only seen the first series. Click here for the first series’ trailer (i.e., ‘season’).

If you watch the series, you may notice the predominance of tracksuits, matching or not – and this is certainly no less true on the streets of Dublin nor those of Galway.  When I mentioned that I had seen a lot of these outfits around campus, one of my flatmates said “Oh yea, when we did a class trip to France, we wore our tracksuits to school and they asked us ‘Why are you wearing your pyjamas to school’?! ” . . .

. . . and other observations on Irish culture:

1. fake tanning and makeup

Fake tanning is to Irish women what teeth whitening is to Americans.

My version of makeup for going out rarely extends beyond tinted moisturizer (i.e., slightly less-white-than-stark-white lotion for your face) and blush. I know, super exciting. Hold your breath, though, because that’s what my flatmates did when they asked what I did to get ready for a night out, before exclaiming “Whaaa’/What’t’h’h?! Tha’s/’ttss all?! I wouldn’t be caught DEHD wi’out/wit’out [etc.] . . . ” and so on.

Anyhow, I learned that fake-tan lotion is applied about two hours before the ETA for going out, and that there is “day makeup” and “night makeup”.  Apparently, “night makeup” is about 7 shades darker to accomodate the newly-acquired all-over temporary tan (applied with what looks like a scary oven mitt), and also involves various layers of concealer, bronzer, highlighter, foundation, eyeshadow &c.

2. tights

Again, no Irish girl woud be caught dead without tights if her legs were not fake-tanned, so I’m told.

Also, 20/40/60 refers to how thick the tights are – 20 making you question why you even bought tights (they are very thin), 60 being the thickest.

3. yer one, yer man, yer woman

“Did you see yer one there, completely mental!” They are not asking you if you saw your one soulmate/friend/acquaintance somewhere, or if you indeed even know that “one” mental (crazy) person.  Basically they are saying “That person over there was crazy!”

4. himself, herself, itself

The number of times I’ve heard “yer man himself”, or “the woman herself”.  A nice way to be really emphatic, yet casual, all at the same time.

5. “yehs”/”yes”/”yas” going’ …? -”

How to say “you all” or “y’all”. NO ONE  says “you all” or “y’all here”. No one.

6. “on the dole”

As we read in our plays that several characters didn’t have jobs, people in class mentioned So-And-So being “on the dole” which means out of a job and/or on social welfare because of this.

7. “Anything on tonight?/What’s on tonight?”

These mean “What’s happening tonight”?

8. turn on/off the immersion

Turning the immersion – hot-water heater – on and off is a big deal here.  People have been known to turn the car around in order to make sure the immersion was turned off.  It is part of a lot of Irish comedians’ routines.

Also, the “press” is what Americans would call a cabinet.  Towels are put in the press next to the immersion, for example – not to dry, but so that they are warm when needed. I had to explain that we would never put towels or clothing in the boiler room at home, which really surprised my flatmates.

9. Other Irish slang

“Savage” and “deadly” mean “amazing/cool/surreal”.  “Lethal” means “deadly”, as in, actually capable of causing death. “Mental” means “crazy”. “Sound” means “alright/solid/cool”.  If someone is “sound”, that means they’re good “craic” or, at a minimum, enjoyabe to be around.

10. tea

Never green tea, always black, at least with milk if not sugar.  I’m the strange one that has Barry Irish GREEN tea. Ah well, it takes all kinds.

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