Writer: Tracy Martin
Director: Vanessa Fielding
Reviewer: Ciara L. Murphy
“People don’t like young girls full of life, making noise.”
Working class women suffer a double jeopardy of discrimination. They are marginalised from society by proxy of their class and they are marginalised within their class by the controlling element misogyny. Tracy Martin’s Dublin Will Show You How illuminates the weight of this burden, carried by generations of working-class women, by foregrounding the dynamics of the female experience in an engaging and brave show.
That this show should premiere on one of our National Theatre stages is significant. That it should premiere on the smaller of the two is perhaps unintentionally, fitting. The Peacock has long been the home to many subversive and challenging works. In fact, if you’re a woman writer and you find your way into the building, you’ll more than likely end up here. Martin holds her own in this space with a strong script and an even stronger mandate, but it’s time we stopped side-lining working-class women’s stories and experiences and illuminated them for all to see. This is the production that will show us how.
The ensemble (Thommas Kane Byrne, Liz Fitzgibbon, Luke Griffin, Denise McCormack, Karen Ardiff, Leah Moore, Ciara Ivie, and David O’Meara) play an impressive rotation of roles between them charting the difficulties and celebrations of working-class women’s lives. However, it is the performances of McCormack, Moore, and Ardiff that ground this performance and turn it into something special. Each performer provides nuance, vitality, and power to their performances.
The audience, seated in traverse, bear witness to the lives of those represented onstage but also to our own reactions. The set (Sarah Jane Foley) is also set in a traverse of sorts, a space where everything is visible, but yet, no-one sees anything. The choice to frame the space this way is a clever one, and this reviewer hopes it will maintain this element when it moves to The Complex for the second half of its run.
This is Irish theatre at its best and Tracy Martin is a writer to watch.
Runs until 6 April 2019 at the Abbey Theatre with extended run in The Complex until 13 April 2019 | Image: Contributed