DramaDublin Fringe FestivalIrelandReview

DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL: The PeopleSway – MLV Studios, Dublin

Director: Grainne O Carroll

Soundscape: Kevin Smith

Reviewer: Sarah Hoover

In the context of the Occupy movements around the world, the recent North Fredrick Street protests and occupations, and the housing crisis that comprises this year’s main topic of artistic discussion, The PeopleSwaypresents an inclusive aesthetic in the best tradition of devised performance. Other programs, in other cities, have made dance programs in ballet or jazz, for example, available to those living in shelters or on the street (House of the Roses and the Edward Morgan Ballet have both recently won awards for their programs). However, the use of devising techniques to develop meaning through movement connects the performance of The Peopleswaymore viscerally and more immediately to the experience and interests of the performers (described as “homeless and non-homeless”).

Set in the industrial maze of Castleforbes Business Park, the increasingly intimate series of performance acts draw the audience gently and space by space into a mythological world, from a busking-style promenade performance by Antonella Scanu and John Linnane (through the arch by Geraldine Coakley) all the way to the boiler-room cum drawing room where we witness ethereal masked creatures move together and we collectively prepare our bodies (by moving in our seats) with Mary Lally, David & Patricia, Grainne O Carrol, and Aoibhinn O Dea.

This collaborative effort involves many effective elements including innovative costume design (Lucy Bowen), evocative mask work (mask maker O Dea), and watery soundscape within challenging spaces (Kevin Smith). The dance solo by O Carroll draws together many of these components, though in general, the piece would benefit from more cohesive production design to bring all elements together in service of a single theme. Still, the process of creation is visible in the performance, which is most important in this kind of devised work. And a present mythology in which wildness sprouts from the concrete jungle is carried consistently through the piece from the summoning ceremony around an eerily twisting geometric sculpture by Paddy O’Kearney to the endearingly grotesque Pantalone-creature performed by Stephane Hanly.

This is a performance in service to its people, and it is necessary work if we are to sway attitudes toward housing as a human need.

Runs until 15 September 2018 | Image: Contributed

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