Producer: Fregoli Theatre
Reviewer: Tricia O’Beirne
The following five plays were produced by Fregoli Theatre and staged in quick succession over approximately 70 minutes. One of Fregoli’s criteria for selecting their new writers was that they “had the potential to create a world that an audience can become immediately immersed in”. They definitely succeeded in meeting this criterion with the five plays chosen.
Afterimage by Jonathan Ryan, directed by Tracy Bruen, features three monologues by a man and two women. Ordinary household objects become the focus of psychological stress, delusion and at times support in these three short stories. A man enjoys looking out of his window watching events unfurl below during the day; at night however a reversal occurs and something sinister looks in, watching him through a chink in the curtains. A girl extols the many benefits of having a sink in her bedroom, until the passage of too many nights out on the town results in a blocked pipe and a falling out; the spurned sink now creaks and gurgles malevolently beneath the floor at night. A woman suffers from social anxiety but her reliable book shelf, with volumes strategically chosen for their conversational impact, is always there to hide behind. The play’s theme is well sustained throughout and the writing is both humorous and poignant
Wristbands by Orla McGovern, directed by Rob McFeely, is the shortest and also the strongest piece in terms of impact and staging. Night club music adds a frenetic tone as two bouncers work their shift in front of house. Jimmy is on form but Jono is clearly suffering from a trauma of some kind. Jimmy, played with excellent comic timing by Oisin Robbins, encourages Jono to tell all about the events of the night before. It becomes clear that a serious assault has taken place and that another is about to happen. The direction here is taut and the piece is full of energy and tension, the lighting and staging spot on.
Find me in Spring by Rory O’Sullivan, directed by Maria Tivnan, is a dark story about criminality and the ways in which people may become involved with crime, sometimes with intent and sometimes almost accidently. The repercussions of crime, we discover, are not always the obvious ones, such as getting caught. The sinister rather menacing tone of the piece is well portrayed and staged but some elements of the story were a little unclear, such as the dead man’s connections to the protagonists. Overall this is an intriguing work with the inclusion of the young actor bringing home the impact of crime on family and relationships.
Tick Tock by Orla McGovern, directed by Kate Murray, is also intriguing and is the most abstract work of the night, featuring a relationship between a mother and a daughter which struggles to express itself. The writing is impactful but sparse and a lot of the story is told in the staging, as the mother and daughter pace the stage, always passing by each other, missing each other, but never directly confronting their relationship. No blame for the fractured communication is apportioned; the ordinariness of the issues makes the themes everyone’s story. The ending is oblique and the overall tone is sad but most notably this work brings writer and director together very effectively.
The Streets are Ours by Robert Higgins, directed by Maria Tivnan, is a story that many people can relate too. Emigration may work out well for some but for others less so; and then there are the ones who are left behind. Small town frustrations, drink, drugs and failure to communicate are themes which feature here but the writing is also very funny at times and the characterisation is empathetic. The three lads are recognisable characters, well written and portrayed with nuance and honesty, all of which makes the piece feel gritty and relevant. The use of short to-the-audience monologues interspersed throughout serves to denote the passing of time but also works to remind us that very real issues exist behind the lads’ bravado and joking around.
Reviewed on 24 April 2017 | Image: Contributed