MotherKraft – Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Reviewer: Lara Kuhnis

Creator and Performer: Regan O’Brien

Director and Choreographer: Jason Byrne and Ella Clarke

MotherKraft begins with Regan O’Brien’s powerful voice reverberating in the big open theatre. O’Brien has an enchanting presence and you immediately want to listen to her; she held court alone on the bare stage. In fact, the opening very much felt like a Viking chant, and there was something quite primal and unique about it! On the back wall there were projected images of shapes and lights moving in a static manner, which shifted and changed as the performance went on.

MotherKraft was an audio and visual immersion into an other worldly realm, one which was more of an attempt at an avant-garde piece of art, which I felt, utterly missed the mark.

During the performance my ears were filled with a cacophony of different vibrational frequencies that ebbed and flowed. At times the white noise became too much and I felt it was totally distracting from the performance. It was hard to distinguish any sort of comprehensible storyline. The hour long journey took us through a rollercoaster of bright lights and fluid body movements which lacked structure.

There was a significant disconnect between the overview of the play and the events that transpired on stage, leaving the audience a little disappointed. When the play came to an end, it was difficult to even know what it had been about, let alone discern any kind of understandable story.

O’Brien had stage presence and there is no denying that, the hour spent was essentially watching her move about the stage in a choreographed dance-like structure. It would be great to see O’Brien in the future, as she is a rare breed of actor whose physicality was delightful to watch.

The accompaniment of the technical team ‘on the stage’ as it were, was a particularly nice touch. The technical team were also the musicians responsible for creating all the changes and musical accompaniment experienced during the performance. The audience often found themselves looking over to the right at their dimly lit desk and watching them orchestrate the very performance they themselves were immersed in.

When the play came to its end there was an uncertainty in the audience as to whether the play itself actually had ended. The crowd dispersed and the mumbling commenced. When exiting there was a feeling of ‘I’ve certainly never seen anything like it’.

MotherKraft has a lot of kinks to iron out before it is something to be recommended, however this reviewer may not have been the target audience; and it certainly isn’t easily forgotten.

Runs until 23rd March 2024.

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The Ireland team is currently under the editorship of Laura Marriott. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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