Pondling tells the story of a strange little girl in love with an older man. The man in question is Johnno Boyle O’Connor, a fourteen year old with floppy hair who buys cigarettes at the local sweet shop every Friday. She is growing up in her grandfather’s farm and has made her own world, where she is Queen of the chicken coop and hates the cows from a distance. She is dominated by her daydreams, and creates many scenes where her true love Johnno whisks her away, but when she discovers her man in the arms of another, her world threatens to fall apart.
The stage of the Boys School stage in Smock Alley is slightly raised with a wood floor, and there are a variety of boxes and cases on the stage, that are used to create the world of this little girl. Although the stage is quite sparse, a variety of scenes are created mostly through suggestion, allowing the audience to use their imagination. The lighting and sound are used well to add to the comedic moments.
Pondling is a one woman piece, written and performed by Genevieve Hulme-Beaman. It is the intensity of her performance that really captures the imagination and moves this piece onto another level. She plays the slightly manic young girl with the poise of the beauty pageant contestant. Her every word is perfectly annunciated and projected to the back of the small theatre with an unhinged glee that leaves the audience feeling unnerved and creates many humorous moments. This young writer and actor has created a quite bizarre world that we are invited to explore, and for any fan of fringe theatre, the chance should not be missed.
Genevieve won the Best Female Performer in the recent fringe festival awards.
Written and performed by Genevieve Hulme-Beaman
Directed by Paul Meade
Set and Lighting Design Colm McNally
Sound design by Osgar Dukes & Denis Clohessy
Photography by Paul McCarthy and Futoshi Sakauchi
You can listen to the Radio Play of ‘Pondling’ on RTE.ie