This was my first trip to Chancery Lane, and there’s always a sense of excitement about a new space in Dublin. It’s a small space at the side of a coffee shop that is filled with tables and some benches capable of seating 50-60 people. There is a stage on two sides of the space, one in front of you as you enter the theatre and one to the side. This production used both stages, making the audience turn for each new play. It’s a interesting space and perfect for small theatre productions or gigs. We can add it to the list of interesting, funky new spaces in Dublin, such as the Fumbally and Molloy & Dowling. These are not conventional spaces, but make smaller productions feasible, and are great for new work.
The Art of Wedlock is a collection of five short pieces all based around the topic of marriage, from names such as Anton Chekhov and Dorothy Parker. They are largely humorous in nature, but the final piece of the night ‘Enemies’ by Neith Boyce & Hutchins Hapgood ends the night on a quite intense note. This is a much bigger production than I was expecting in this small space and there are ten cast members. The five pieces vary in length, but combine to just over an hour and a half, including a short interval, so it is not a throw away piece of theatre, but something quite meaty and substantial.
When you enter the theatre at the start of the night, all ten cast members are on stage, transfixed like mannequins. It’s an interesting and stylish way to introduce the cast, and their diverse clothing styles. Over the course of the night we witness a marriage proposal in 19th century Russia and a newly-wed couple in America. We see an actress playing her most important role, a wonderfully non-PC couple acting out a bizarre set piece and finally a battle of wits between a couple who are struggling to stay together.
There is much variation between the different pieces and the series of short plays keeps you on your toes and never lets you get bored. There is a real sense of style about this production and a number of impressive performances from the strong ensemble cast. This is Speckintime’s first theatrical performance and it is a very enjoyable night of quirky/ lost work by established and lesser known names. With Valentine’s day tomorrow, this could be the perfect time for this play about love and marriage!
The Art of Wedlock runs at Chancery Lane until Feb 22nd.
Dates: February 11th-22nd 2014 (Tue-Sat 6.30pm, Sat Matinees 2.30pm) €12/10 (incl bottle of beer)
Venue: Chancery Lane Theatre, Chancery Lane, Dublin 8 (Google Map: http://goo.gl/maps/n718J)
This is Speckintime’s FIRST theatrical production. The FIVE plays on offer are:
THE PROPOSAL by Anton Chekhov
HERE WE ARE by Dorothy Parker
A MATTER OF HUSBANDS by Ferenc Molnar
THE PROBLEM by A. R. Gurney
ENEMIES by Neith Boyce & Hutchins Hapgood