Writer: Noelle Brown and Michele Forbes
Director: Conor Hanratty
Reviewer: Ciara Murphy
Following on from its success at the Dublin Fringe Festival 2013, Postscript, written and performed in part by Noelle Brown, gives its audience a deeper insight into the emotional, difficult and troubling journey that is the search for identity and self.
Noelle Brown plays herself, in a story that is truly hers. She is on a mission to learn more about her birth parents, who she is, where she came from, and the world which she left when she was only a child. Despite the evident eagerness of Brown to discover all there is to know, various elements including a disapproving Aunt, unwilling correspondents and a cold-hearted nun hinder Noelle’s quest.
For someone who has not had to go through the experience of adoption the play is informative and evocative. For someone who shares these experiences with the characters onstage it is a raw and emotional journey which is both difficult and captivating. The set is very simple, comprising of just two chairs and a series of projected images in the background. Maree Kearns’s design juxtaposes a series of genuine documents with the story of the piece and incorporates various photographs of Noelle’s birth family which firmly situates the audience within the reality of Noelle’s struggle.
The issues raised in this performance are disturbing; Ireland’s history of church and state institutional abuses are not a thing of the past, the consequences of their actions are still damaging its citizens right up to the present day. By placing this story onstage in this way, Brown is opening up about the issues being faced by adopted children, natural parents and adoptive parents to a wider audience. Although the issues raised are overwhelmingly negative, Brown delivers humour and lightness throughout, making the audience laugh when they should be crying and engaging in a genuine and warm way.
The presence of Aunty Patty, played by Bríd Ní Neachtain, also lightens the tone while also representing Noelle’s adoptive family and the effect that Noelle’s search is having on them.
This is a production that goes beyond the realm of theatre, it teeters on the edge of issues like politics, society and human rights. Although only one hour in length, Postscript ensures that its audience goes away with an extended education of the issue of adoption and the pains of searching for oneself.
This is not to be missed.
Runs until 7th December.