Thursday, February 13, 2014

Danú Theatre and ORion Productions, 'Breathless'

John MacKenna's play about disappeared women is impressively revived by two headstrong producers.

Smock Alley Theatre
Feb 3-15

I've written a lot this week and unfortunately I don't have time to do a full review of Breathless.

When John MacKenna's play about four disappeared women premiered in 2005 by Kildare's Mend and Makedo company, he noted how missing persons cases in the area had brought an immediacy to the play's content. 

Now co-presented by Sinead O'Riordan's ORion Productions and Danú - a company founded by Donna Patrice to promote female subjectivity in Irish arts - the play is revived with strong production values. David Butler's architecturally aware set impressively builds on from the existing brick walls of Smock Alley and the performances, from industry veteran Ruth McCabe to newcomer Kate Gilmore, are of a professional standard. 

MacKenna's script is more powerful in sentiment than in composition though. It's honourable to restore reputations of humour and dignity to women who violently perished at the hands of men, and furthermore to have the dead debate how they wish to be remembered. It feels inconsequential though; the characters don't transform and there is no link between the discovered details of their disappearance to the resolution of their crisis. Butler's design tries to suggest a precariousness of place but otherwise the play, when not eliciting laughs, can feel static.

Though overall lacking resolve, the passages which describe their disappearances are haunting and dutifully delivered by all involved.

But I'm really curious to hear what everyone else thought of this? 

No comments:

Post a Comment