Project Arts Centre,
A few thoughts on Where Do I Start? coming up just as soon as I hate Ryanair …
“Who is Nyree Yergainharsian and why should we care?”
This is the challenge Yergainharsian has set before her as she sits alone, watching her audience file in, armed with nothing but a few random play-scripts and plastic horses among other curiosities arranged on the floor next her. She’s looking a bit uneasy and whatever strength these oblivious possessions offer her wont falter us unmerciful masses. Nyree is alone and we’re waiting for her to tell her story.
After admitting: “I’m a bit afraid of you to be honest”, she delivers her disposition, confused but charmingly honest. Sentiment breathes into the littered possessions as the young performer earnestly tiptoes through her story, detailing her childhood in Meath, her Armenian heritage, her exodus to
to make a new life for herself, and even more biological candours. As if just tripped out of Roland Orzabal/Gary Jules’ Mad World, Yergainharsian’s frightened demeanour has a poetic sensitivity. Discoveries such as “I realized that I missed playing the piano” and “I lost my friends and then I found them again” are casually slipped in, and their subtleness is rather beautiful as they disappear into the atmosphere without further context. In trying to isolate her ‘identity’ the performer talks about her relationship to her Armenian heritage, referencing the Armenian Genocide after World War I and Armenian societal customs a hundred years ago. Yergainharsian’s conclusion is that who we are are children of time and circumstance, and she delivers it with sweet irony. London
Also striking is the show’s style of presentation. Comparisons can be made to Una McKevitt’s recent work, which positions non-performers to stand before audiences and deliver honest testimonies without exaggeration. While Yergainharsian’s performance exists in such a self-referential space, she does utilize exaggeration in her onstage persona. Unlike McKevitt’s collaborators, Nyree is very much so a ‘performer’. In fact, her love and ability for theatre is as crucial an element of her identity as her Armenian background: “That’s why I’m telling you this in here and not out there”. In this respect, Yergainharsian's onstage profile bears resemblance to a Pirandello creation, artistically tailoring facets of ‘self’ in trying to consolidate their true identity.
Only groan I had was the ticket price, which didn’t really reflect the duration of the show at all.
What did everybody else think?