Tag Archives: Breffni Holahan

O’Reilly Theatre: King Lear

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“Nothing can come of nothing, speak again.”

–       King Lear, W. Shakespeare

Just when you think that there is nothing left to surprise you in Shakespeare and his work, a new company pops up and completely re-imagines the good old well-known.

It’s highly admirable when the audience attention can be captured from the moment one walks into the auditorium. And The C Company with its production of King Lear achieved it no doubt whatsoever. Refreshing and captivating it was to see the actors in their natural habitat even before the first word was said. The beginning of the play was so natural; it almost felt like you are eavesdropping on the characters while they are carrying on about their everyday business.

The Leir of England is mad and doesn’t need an introduction or explanations. Perhaps, one of Shakespeare’s most famous and greatest plays about the quarrels of fathers and sons, or rather daughters, truly finds a new interpretation on the O’Reilly’s stage. It’s like Aoife Spillane – Hinks, the director of the piece, opens the window of the old locked house and lets a wave of fresh air in. Everything is eye-catchy and fascinating about this production, starting with the drastic cuts to the script (the piece is slightly under two hours, no interval) and continuing with an interesting set and imaginative costume designs.

It always depends on the director which characters to show off (unless a sneaky actor decides to steal the show, of course). In this particular interpretation, two characters stood out for me: Goneril (played by Maeve Fitzgerald) and the Earl of Gloucester (played by Simon Coury). Not to undermine the rest of the cast, I must note that the ensemble performed absolutely beautifully from the beginning to the very end. With such talented and truly outstanding performers as Breffni Holahan, Mark Fitzgerald and, of course, Jonathan White who took upon himself the title role of the piece, it couldn’t be any other way.

Feminist bags, fairylights skirts, Dr. Martins shoes, funky glitter jackets… it’s only a tiny hint into what one is in for when going to see this King Lear. Hanna Bowe, the designer of the play, has taken some very brave decision on how to dress the stage and the actors. And now she can be well-deservedly praised for it.

One thing that particularly stands out about The C Company’s production of King Lear is the stage craft and movement. And here I’m not talking about stage combat or fighting. The way the actors interacted with the furniture and props was fascinating. The O’Reilly’s Theatre is a very difficult space to perform in as the audience is separated from the stage by a huge stretch of emptiness. Thus, the decision to use that space and to have some actors exit and enter through the auditorium was a strong choice.

So, if you are getting the January blues and in need of some theaterapy, do not look any further and come to see The C Company’s production of King Lear. For more info or to book tickets: http://www.oreillytheatre.com/

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Filed under King Lear, The C Company, The O'Reilly Theatre, Uncategorized

Project Arts Center: Love+ (Tiger Dublin Fringe’15)

And the second week of Tiger Dublin Fringe’15 is on! I started it with “Love+”, a play directed by Claire O’Reilly.

Love+ is one of those shows, which is 100% fringe and 100% amazing. I will be honest and say that I didn’t know what I signed up to when I booked my ticket. I read the description and it sounded cool, but I had absolutely no idea what kind of treat I was really in for.

Imagine the future, where the human robots are in each and every house. Externally the robots are no different from real people. The buyer can pick and choose which robot they want to purchase. Everything: height, weight, age, eye colour, hair colour, hair length can be adjusted to your personal taste. The robot is always programmed to please you, the owner. It will say what you want to hear, it will cook what you want to eat, it cleans your house and makes your bed… it will do literally whatever you want it to do. In addition to that, the machine (as opposed to  what’s been popularised by the modern TV  and films) can not harm you. It is there to suit your needs 24/7 and beyond. It will never get tired, it’ll never get old…

Everything sounds perfect. The machine is flawless.

But the developers of that “machine” must have forgotten that people, real human beings, aren’t flawless and perfect themselves; that living 24/7 with a creature that never gets fat, tired or moody can be quite discouraging and depressing. But what can be even more depressing is the fact that that robotic creature can never answer back to your feelings.

Jane (played by Maeve O´Mahoney) owns one of those robots (played by Breffni Holahan). Jane and the robot live in a perfect little house where everything is clean, and neat, and perfect… except for Jane, who is very much a human. And with time, she can’t help but fall in love with the robot. Unfortunately, soon Jane discovers that the machine, no matter how human it looks or what it says, is nothing more but a machine. It says “I love you” not because it feels it but because it is programmed to do so. And no matter how hard Jane tries, there is no way of making a machine to either think of feel for itself.

Love+ is a very dystopian play. The dystopia there doesn’t include the world being taken over by the machines. Not at all. It examines an issue much more profound and important: dehumanisation of the society by taking away the ability to feel, to think, to make mistakes… to be who we are – humans.

Love+ is an absolutely beautiful and touching piece of theatre that will break your heart. Holahan’s robotic gestures and almost monotonous sentences are very organically juxtaposed to O’Mahoney´s so natural and so imperfect Jane. Both actresses pose a very beautiful and contrasting ensemble on stage.

With the marriage referendum this year, it comes as no surprise that many of the new works include homosexual motives, Love+ touches a totally different ground! It easily wows away the audience with its light humour, simple but smart set and an almost apocalyptic plot.

Love+ previewed yesterday and will be running in the Project Arts Center till September 17th. For more info or to buy tickets, you know what to do: http://projectartscentre.ie/event/love/

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Filed under Love+, Project Arts Center, Tiger Fringe Festival 2015