In the best traditions of Pan Pan Theatre Company, Dick Walsh co-presents his new play – George Bush and Children – as part of Tiger Dublin Fringe 2016. Extraordinary spot-on and inconspicuously engaging, this play is a bucket of fresh water being dropped on top of you. Just as bizarre as its title, Dick Walsh’s play is actually surprisingly realistic .
With the script composed mainly from random pieces of dialogues from a number of topical internet talkshows, this pacy 60 min piece touches on such subjects as sex, politics, abortion, people with disabilities, torture and other. With four actors (Oddie Braddell, Shane Connolly, Fionnuala Flahert and Grainne Hallahan) playing basically themselves and using their actual names, the four characters come across quite vividly and naturalistically. Following the natural flow of a real life conversation, we have the four actors express different opinions on hot and rather controversial subjects. They don’t always agree with each other, they don’t always feel comfortable sharing their experiences and opinions on the topic; sometimes, it gets too personal, even, perhaps private; sometimes there’s an awkward pause, a silence a second too long, a plea to change the topic… sometimes, it becomes clear that a lack of an answer is an answer just as much. The beauty of it all is that every argument is presented with a counter-argument and a clash of opinions, experiences and points of view.
The main difference between this and real life is that George Bush and Children is also beautiful choreographed. Having experienced a production by Pan Pan Theatre in the past, I must add here that regarding movement their plays are quite a bit of work by themselves. Almost none of the actors simply stands still while delivering their lines. Like in a tribal dance, they move around each other, they bend over, they jump up and down, they mime or walk against the wind… they create the environment and the mood with their own bodies.
Where there is movement, there is voice. And voice is a huge part of this piece. The whole play is directed either to the audience (and believe me when I say that actors really mean what they say to the viewers) or to a fellow actor on stage. Have you ever experienced this feeling when somebody is talking to you, to you and to nobody else? When they look not through you but rather into you?
Another important part of George Bush and Children is the set (by Tom O’Brien). As it often happens nowadays, the stage is stripped down apart from a couple of huge reflecting glasses hanging from the ceiling. And what can be more truthful or speak for itself than one’s own reflection in a distorting mirror?
George Bush and Children runs in the Project Arts Center, as part of Tiger Dublin Fringe 2016, until September 17th. Don’t miss this out-of-this-worldish realism. For more info or to book tickets: http://www.fringefest.com/festival/whats-on/george-bush-and-children