DramaFringe & FestivalsIrelandReviewTiger Dublin Fringe Festival

TIGER DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL: Low Lying – Spencer Dock, Dublin

Creators and Directors: Robbie Blake, Jessie Keenan and Ciara McKeon
Reviewer: Sarah Hoover

The actor walking us from Spencer Dock LUAS stop to a secret location frames the production with a direction to be aware of public and private spaces. Low Lying, a movement/sound/space performance, investigates the histories and uses of public and private spaces, the ways they are funded and policed, and how we see and are seen within these spaces. The program notes “This is not about how the bubble burst. It’s about what we felt after we heard the crash.” It is an attempt to express “…what our bodies knew that our mouths couldn’t quite say”, an apt description of this abstract and meditative production.

Robbie Blake, Jessie Keenan and Ciara McKeon, creators and directors, have considered all the details. The path of the audience past apartment windows (the rain edged us even closer), the projections onto a cling-film wall as we entered, the acoustics of the room, the backdrop of construction, waste space, and sky all became tools of the production. For the most part these tools were used effectively, though they suffered when interrupted by bright yellow buses or latecomer ticket ripping, for example.

In particular the full voices of Michelle O’Rourke and Rory Lynch are powerful in the concrete and glass space, absorbing attention simply by slowly changing tone and articulation. Likewise the dance, particularly by Sarah Ryan, reacts to the surfaces of the space and the inarticulate tensions brought on by the financial crisis; visibly straining breath and limbs in repetitive and dissonant movements. The soundscape of Robbie Blake and Craig Cox fills gaps in onstage action and allows attention to wander from the visual to the aural, each supporting the other.

Without the program notes to guide this meditation it would be difficult to read a connection to the financial crisis, unless it is through the contrast of public and private spaces. The closest the production comes to a direct reference is the moment in which the soundscape recites news articles about fraudulent banking practices and the minimal sentences passed on their perpetrators while the cast blows bubbles. They are beautiful bubbles in the sunlight, and bring attention to the room, the building, the town, and our presence in them. But even if the production cannot be read as a commentary on the events that incited it, it is an excellent demonstration of powerful artistic expressions reacting to a moment in time and space.

Runs until 25 September as part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival | Image: Luca Truffarelli

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