Writers and directors: Iseult Golden and David Horan
Reviewer: Stephen Bates
Who would be a teacher? Walking through the modern minefield of rigid rules and political correctness, young Mr McCafferty asks himself just that question in this 85-minute one-act play first seen at the Dublin Theatre Festival.
There are sharp edges beneath the surface of Iseult Golden and David Horan’s bubbling comedy. As Mr McCafferty, Will O’Connell shows a delightful mix of eagerness and anxiety. He would prefer to tackle a problem and bungle it rather than stand by and do nothing. When one of his students, 8-year-old Jayden, starts lagging behind his classmates and becomes disruptive, the teacher decides to call in his parents.
The father, Brian (Stephen Jones) is the first to arrive, doing so like a bull in a china shop, in denial that he and his wife Donna (Sarah Morris) are now separated. They sit in the classroom on child-sized chairs and behave like the small people that they were made for. And then, appropriately, the pair become children – Jayden and Kaylie, daughter of a junkie who is also receiving extra tuition. The writers’ aim, to show the future adults in children and the childishness of adults is achieved cleverly and amusingly.
As a lightweight account of the dysfunction of modern education, the play has much to say. The frustrated, well-meaning teacher, the father undergoing anger management therapy and the mother reaching out for a life of her own all ring true. All want to put the interests of the child before everything else, but life gets in their way. For the most part, the writers keep the issues simple, lapsing slightly with a final plot twist that the play does not need. For those of us who have forgotten what it is like to be or to have children, this is an education.
Runs until 26 August 2018 | Image: Ros Kavanagh