Joe has recently been made redundant. He’s been kicking around the house too much and is starting to get under his wife’s feet. He needs a hobby, something to keep him occupied until he can find work again. He made models when he was much younger at 17 years old, just before he discovered women and booze and lost a few years to each. When he starts to make a model of a Sherman tank, model making threatens to take over his world!
This is a one man play that focuses on the addictive power of a hobby, but also on life in modern day Ireland. It is a play rich in the sights and sounds of Dublin, and is evocative of the street corners and shops. We see the hospital queues and emigration that is hitting Ireland hard, and the real results of the statistics on unemployment. He is the head of a family struggling to get by and making some tough decisions in order to pay the bills.
The stage tries to create two scenes, one being the den that Joe has created for himself to make his models, and the second being the shop in the centre of Dublin where he goes to buy models, but mostly to meet other people who are involved in the hobby. There are also some simple puppets used to recreate the discussions between Joe and his wife that have a rustic charm.
Joe is played by Pat McGrath, who is an extremely likeable figure on the stage and immediately gets the audience on his side through his wide eyed and intense delivery. You find yourself lost in his world, and it feels very believable, like this is a true life account of an honest man in Dublin. The story may sound quite bleak, but the piece has a lot of humour to it, and contains some very funny lines. It is a warm and rich play, with an impressive degree of depth and development to the character over its duration.
Small Plastic Wars runs at the New Theatre until May 3rd @ 7.30pm
Duration: 70 minutes
Tickets: €15 / €12 conc. (Thurs, May 1 – All tickets €10)
Small Plastic Wars – Written and Performed by Pat McGrath
Bigger Picture Projects
Directed by Alan King
Small Plastic Wars continues nationwide as part of Bealtaine Festival.