Monday, May 21, 2012

April 30 - Dublin; Alice in Funderland and More

Day 9 - Dublin

Today we got to Dublin!!! We learned a lot on our drive from the airport to the hotel from our bus driver/tour guide who was really funny. He told us a lot about the history of Dublin pre and post rebellion. When we got to the hotel, we had a bit of time to eat then get back on the bus for our tours.
            We started with a tour of Jameson Distillery. John Jameson, and later in partnership with his son, was one of the first to triple distill his whiskey for a better, smoother taste. He also used malted and unmalted barley and used a type of coal that was smokeless to dry out the barley because he didn’t want that flavor in his whiskey. To get its taste, it is aged for 8 years but in barrels that have already been used for other aging. After aging for 8 years, they mix it all together and bottle it to sell.
            After Jameson, we bussed over to Guinness for a self-guided tour of their converted stockhouse. Arthur Guinness signed a 9000-year lease for the last that the factory is on because he knew was the perfect location for his operation mainly because of the access to a river carrying pure water. This water was so important to him that he was ready to fight for it. He also began making ale for a few years before he was introduced to stout, which he started brewing along with the ale. After 30 years of brewing ale, he stopped his production of ale and focused on his stout. The tour culminated in a free pint of Guinness in their Gravity Bar 7 stories up that gave a 360° view of Dublin that was amazing and a trip to their gift shop.
            It was great to visit these places because it showed us just how important these businesses were to the Irish culture and their way of living. A lot of Irish were employed by both Jameson and Guinness and depended on them for their living and their family.
            After the tour, we were taken back to the hotel and given some time to get dinner before Alice in Funderland at the Abbey Theatre. I must say that when we first walked in to the theatre, I wasn’t fully sure what to expect with the preshow. By interval (intermission), I was really enjoying it. The original script/score was full of the hilarious pop culture references to Dublin and Ireland and some general jabs at global culture too. The second act was really interesting in the fact that in the beginning, we’re following Alice through her eyes but when we begin Act II, we relive what we just saw before interval except this time through the Queen’s eyes. We end up back with Alice but I enjoyed what they did to bring us into the act.
The original music was also really good and catchy. Some of it was better than others though. The three numbers I enjoyed the most and I think were written the best were the “We’re on the edge” song, the “Cut from the same cloth” song, and the song that ended the show. They were all performed amazingly and the language and topics of them, I’m sure, struck a lot of people’s heartstrings.
Then there was the spectacle of the show. Wow there was a lot of spectacle. The concept of this musical that I got was to go full spectacle the whole time until it was one of the important moments like the out on the edge song which was beautiful in its simplicity. The design elements were great and even though some of them and the concept was outlandish, it all came together very well and created a very enjoyable show.


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