Launch Press Release

Dublin, 5 October 2009 – Chaos Thaoghaire is a night of games, storytelling, posturing, judge-bribing, one-upmanship and cursing. The monthly event launches on October 14th at 6:30pm in the Odessa Club, Dublin, as part of the Dubliner Magazine’s Old City, New Dreams series of events and debates.

Interspersed with personal tales told by invited guests, there will be rounds of team games, each increasing in competitiveness, confusion, and potential for humble pie. The organizers’ motto is “The earnest pursuit of ludicrous things.”

It’s a literary night sewn on to a tabletop five-or-so-a-side league, organized by archaeologist-turned-journalist Jane Ruffino, and folklorist and anthropologist Amiee Curran.

It’s a way of incorporating traditions of storytelling into a broader 21st-century setting,” says Ruffino. “The games let everyone be part of a creative process, to make their own stories and play with language, even if they don’t want to get up and speak in front of a crowd.

Games and stories are linked by a shared theme that changes each time, and the stories are led by a curator, a featured storyteller who helps to arrange the panel of invited guests, who will share short, personal tales. It’s not an open mic, but the organizers stress that name recognition isn’t an issue.

“They don’t have to be professionals,” says Curran. “The curator will often be someone with a known name, but we encourage them to reach outside the obvious.”

“We want those people who hold court in the pub, who distract everyone from ripping each other’s heads off at Christmas dinner, or who came here from somewhere else and have a story from home or about adjusting to Ireland,” says Ruffino. “We want people from the arts community, too, but storytelling isn’t limited to people who do it as a job.”

Before the iPhone, assembling a table quiz team meant finding a token member with a high-score mentality and a brain full of sports stats. Now they’re about finding someone who is good at Googling quietly under a table. Chaos Thaoghaire’s games are mostly Google-proof, so cheating is allowed. Sort of.

“Since scoring is based on creativity, if people can find a way to cheat, it’s probably going to be creative,” says Curran. “But if we catch people, they will be punished. Not for cheating, but for lack of sufficient cunning. It’s all deliberately designed to cause amusing meltdowns.”

“When we hear from someone that they had to call a dozen people some Thursday morning to apologise for starting a shouting match over a crayon drawing of a donkey, that’s when we’ll know we’ve really added something to the world,” says Ruffino. “Or when someone who swears they’re too shy wants to book in to tell a story – that, too.”

“One of our test-participants got really frustrated during one of the complicated games and shouted out, ‘This is a load of Victorian parlour nonsense!’ We liked that, so we gave her a spot prize,” says Curran. “She was one of the first to book a spot at the launch.”

The winning teams will earn prizes and take home the coveted championship belt. They are invited to return to defend it each month, and the stories will be recorded and archived on the website.

October’s launch event was booked out within 24 hours of being announced, but bookings will be taken for the November event beginning in the middle of the month. The monthly event at Odessa will be the regular anchor event, but the organizers are also eager to do one-off events in unusual locations.

For press queries, quotes, interviews:

Jane Ruffino: +353 87 412 9837

Amiee Curran: +353 85 708 5631

To book (contact address for print/broadcast):

Follow Chaos Thaoghaire on Twitter:

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