Stephen has just arrived home with his work colleague Molly. She is a number of years his junior, and there has been some friction between them in the past. They had a brief fling at the office Christmas party a few months back. For whatever reason, tonight is the night for them to rekindle the spark, and they arrive into his house soaked from a wild night of rain and giddy with excitement. Stephen ignores the phone ringing, and doesn’t listen to the message his wife leaves him to say that their 16 year old daughter has gone missing. They’ve been separated for six months and he hasn’t seen her or his daughter in that time. All that is about to change!
This is a play that deals with the break up of a family unit, in a time where it was still considered shameful. The play is set in 1995, where divorce is not yet legal in Ireland and marriage is still ’till death do us part’. There is the shadow of alcohol over much of the play, and we see first hand the consequences of its abuse.
The stage is the front room of Stephen’s house. It is messy with books and papers lying on the floor and a collection of odd couches and chairs. The theatre is set in the round, with the audience on three sides, which really helps to bring you into the experience. The action is very immediate, instead of the usual detachment of audience and actors.
The four members of the cast convey their parts well. David Murray plays the main role of Stephen, and doesn’t leave the stage during the performance. It is the story of his interaction with his wife, daughter and new girlfriend. Carrie Crowley is impressive in the role of Stephen’s wife Marion.
There are scenes in the play of a sexual and violent nature along with strong language, so this is definitely not for the faint of heart. It is quite a bleak story, and it doesn’t flinch from its view or the dark tale it sets out to tell. There is a drip feed of information, as we gradually learn more about the various characters, and see them for what they really are. We learn that there can be something dangerous and destructive behind a friendly exterior. This is a piece of theatre that doesn’t hold back and delivers its vision with style.
Duration: 70 minutes, no interval.
The Separation runs at the Project Arts Centre until June 14th.
Written by Richard Molloy
Directed by Simon Evans
Cast Includes: Carrie Crowley, David Murray, Roxanna Nic Liam, and Susan Stanley.
Categories: Theatre, Theatre Review
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