This is a piece that deals with the death of the main protagonist Feidlim Cannon’s Father and younger brother, but is not as bleak as it sounds! I have to say I was a bit worried on my way into the theatre as to what I had let myself in for! My only previous experience of the group Brokentalkers was in the theatre festival a couple of years back, with Blue Boy which tells the story of the abuse that took place in Catholic residential care institutions in Ireland., which was difficult to watch regardless of how rewarding it was.
I am often put off a particular show by the nature of the subject matter, as with limited means and time, do you really want to spend your Friday night watching someone else’s trauma? This play was nothing like I expected, while the subject matter was obviously difficult, the manner in which it was dealt with was playful and funny.
The performance was developed by Feidlim Cannon, his mother Ann Cannon and their psychotherapist Erich Keller. It brings you through the various stages of grief, discussing a number of memories from Feidlim and his mother. Some of the memories are dubious, Feidlim remembers seeing his younger brother who died at 15 hours old, whereas his mother says it isn’t possible. These are small images of grief, and all the more touching for it. The main message behind the piece is that death is a part of life and not something we can escape, and while it is obviously difficult, it is not something we can ignore or pretend doesn’t happen. Am I giving too much away to say it ends with a balloon fight? Possibly, but it does!
Have I No Mouth by Brokentalkers ran from the 11th to the 13th of April at Smock Alley theatre. It was previously shown as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2012.
Written & directed by Feidlim Cannon & Gary Keegan
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