Just as the beautiful Theatre Upstairs closes its doors for the duration of the Dublin Fringe Festival’15, we are in for a real treat. The last piece of the season is surely going to be one of the most memorable ones. Moonestone Productions present the world premier of Fried Eggs written and directed by Lindsay Jane Sedgwick.
This slow-paced, deeply emotional and very organic play tells us a story of “two selves”. Lulu and Eloise are twin sisters… or at least, that’s what they want you to think, she even has a picture to prove it. The play is divided into three short pieces: first we meet Eloise, who, even though timid and socially awkward, is the rational one, the practical one, the good sister – fixer of all problems; in the second part we are introduced to Lulu. Lulu is the crazy one, the dark angel, the problem maker; the third and final part reunites the sisters together both physically and emotionally. Hint by hint by hint by the story unravels into a great childhood trauma.
Both Lulu and Eloise are portrayed by the undoubtedly very talented Karen Connell. The actress doesn’t act on stage; she simply let’s her character be there… and I don’t know whether it’s the genius of Lindsay Jane Sedgwick’s work or the way Connell embodied and presented to us her character. The play is extremely naturalistic, it makes you forget that there is an actress on stage and you are actually in a theatre. Connell and her emotions are so real and so human that one can’t help but feel empathy towards Eloise and Lulu. Every word she says, every movement she makes, every laugh, every cry, every change of mood is so organic and simply beautifully human. And just as the character herself prefers blue sky to black clouds, Connell as Eloise/Lulu herself converts into a sort of a human lantern that guides the audience through the dark to hope and the possibility of something better and brighter.
With the set consisting of two chairs and a white curtain, it really never ceases to amuse and amaze me how little a good performance requires. Build a set a big as a Roman coliseum but if the act is a bluff, nobody will even notice the entourage. Put a chair and a human being next to it, speaking from his or her very heart and the audience will follow you anywhere.
This season in Theatre Upstairs has been full of really different new pieces. It seems like the new writers tend to go for the challenging fast-paced productions (and god knows, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed most of them!) where the audience, let alone the actors, can barely breathe or reflect on what’s happening on stage. But sometimes it can be so rewarding to see a slow-paced show, in which it feels like the actor is communicating with you personally, you listen to their stories and, even though you might have nothing to say, you still have time to think, to follow, to breathe, to enjoy…
Fried Eggs runs in Theatre Upstairs till August 22nd. Catch it before it ends: http://www.theatreupstairs.ie/fried-eggs