Sunday, 19th August 2018
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The title of this show is a very literal one in so far as it is all about recreating costumes that are in paintings from different eras. If you are of a certain age, late 30's and upwards, then you can't but be aware of The Arnolfini painting as it was used on the Angelus on RTE for the best part of a decade. The painting dates from the early northern renaissance period and shows a couple in an upper class house posing for their portrait with a convex mirror in the background that shows the painter Jan Van Ecyk at work.

The main emphasis of this programme was to recreate using the tools of the period the green dress that the woman was wearing in the painting.

For centuries it was thought that the woman in the painting was pregnant but recent scholarship has shown that the bulk of her belly actually comes from the voluminous folds of the dress that she is holding up in her hands in front of herself. Needless to say it is a hard job to recreate such a dress as the one that the woman was wearing in the Arnolfini painting. Even to get the colour right on the dress takes some doing and includes of all things stale human urine to fix the right shade of green to the fabric. Also what they find out is that the dress must have been lined in fur and would have been extremely heavy to wear but considering that the continent was experiencing a mini ice age at that period it might have had its uses. When the dress is complete one thing they find is that the dress flows in a beautiful fashion and isn't particularly hard to wear, even if it is a little heavy. What everyone is agreed on is the skills of the original dress makers in being able to come up with such a luxurious and expensive gown. This is an interesting and informative show that takes a side ways look at fashion and is all the better for it, a first rate programme.


The ultimate hard man programme is back and as addictive as ever as unwitting recruits into this show enter to see who has what it takes to become a member of the most elite fighting force in the world. Everyone knows the history, or thinks they do, of the SAS but it is quite another thing to actually be in training and find yourself up against the hardest men in the business as they try and break you down and show you that you are not as tough as you thought that you were. In the first episodes it was obvious that there were certain people that the trainers didn't think were the best people for the course and they honed in one guy who was a professional boxer who they thought didn't have the correct mental attitude for the job.

By the time the trainers had finished with him he had handed in his number and had given up. Then there was another guy who broke down and had a panic attack while completing a mission but he foughtthrough and kept on going no matter what was said to him. It turned out that he had fought cancer the previous year but had not taken up the offer of counselling and was still working through the entire thing. One further set of guys that th ey focused on were twins where one of them picked the other for a fight in a set boxing contest. That was frowned on by the trainers and they couldn't understand why he would do such a thing. All in all this is a really interesting show to watch as much for the attitudes of the trainers as it is for the people that are trying to get ahead and get into the winning position. There is no outright prize in the show other than bragging rights and obviously that is enough for the majority of people that go into the contest. It is interesting to listen to the trainers when they say that the people drop out solely due to their mental attitude and nothing else, not the gruelling tests that they are put through or anything like that. But surely your mental attitude can only take you so far before your body gives out. Nevertheless they are the ones with the experience and it was sort of sad to see that the first person out was an Irishman this year. But if you've seen this programme before you will know that it is always the quiet ones that you have to watch as usually they are the ones with that inner grit and stamina to pull through and win.

The Woman is Present: Women's Stories of WWII

The Woman is Present: Women's Stories of WWII is a creative re-imagining of moments from the lives of women during WWII recalling stories of bravery, sacrifice and love amidst the horror of war, as women stood up against Fascism and totalitarianism and refused to accept oppression. The performance is followed by a post-show discussion with the artists and invited guest speakers to explore powerful women's stories in history and themes of gender equality and peace. Suppported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The performance features Ode to Ettie Steinberg by internationally-acclaimed playwright Deirdre Kinahan;

My Name is Neus by Mary Moynihan and performances including Mary Elmes and Dolores Ibarurri by Mary Moynihan, Fiona Bawn Thompson and Paul Kennedy, remembering stories of powerful women during WWII.

Women's stories in the performance include Mary Elmes (1908-2002), a Cork woman who was the first Irish person honoured as 'Righteous Among Nations' for her work saving Jewish children from the Nazi gas chambers during World War II; Ettie Steinberg (1914-42) the only female Jewish Irish citizen known to have been murdered in Auschwitz; Marta Hillers (1911-2001) from Germany who wrote her autobiography Eine Frau in Berlin (A Woman in Berlin) under the name 'Anonyma' (Anonymous), detailing her experiences of the last days of WWII as she and over one million other women were raped and abused by Allied soldiers of the Red Army; Neus Català Pallejà (b.1915) from Spain, a member of the United Socialist Party of Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, an active collaborator with the French Resistance during WWII and the only living Spanish survivor of Ravensbrück concentration camp for women; and Dolores Ibárruri, or La Pasionaria (1895-1989), from Spain, a revolutionary leader, political activist, Communist and crusader against Fascism during the Spanish Civil War who created the famous cry 'They Shall Not Pass'.


Letters to the Editor

  • Our View

    Rush to CriticismThere are not many people who at this stage have not heard about the Cash family and what happened to them. The mother and six of her children had to seek accommodation in the Tallaght Garda Station last week as they had absolutely nowhere to turn to. It led to an outcry as pictures of the young children sleeping on seats were posted to social media by the mother.Understandably there were a lot of people who were saddened to see that in this day and age that a family had to resor …

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