Mountain – Project Arts Centre – Review


‘You are restricted by bones, serving portions of hooker’s sex’ sings Derrick while playing the bass guitar. The two other members of the cast chant out words behind him, while dancing with walking canes. This is just one scene in the oddity that artist Orla Barry has created. It’s a game of sorts, with the actors trapped inside it and waiting for a conclusion that may or may not happen.

The stage is set with a white floor and back drop with various words hanging from railings. Other words and phrases are on free standing signs on the floor, and then there’s the big wheel. It’s set up with 36 words, some familiar such as Spiral or Release and some that have been lost through time such as Pismire and Vizard. The male actors are dressed with white pants and black shirts and the female purely in black. The visual aesthetic of performance is impressive, and it’s no surprise that it was created by an artist.

The rules of the game become clear as the actors play it, there is no other explanation given and they are already playing when you enter the theatre. They spin the wheel and the word that results will set in motion a short monologue, interview, poem, performance or dance sequence. At other times, they play a game of ring toss, with the actors nominating a word and playing until one of them wins.

The random element of the game is the strangest thing about it. It is all dependent on the spin of the wheel what the audience will see on a particular performance.  Last night the wheel was in particularly devilish form and we got to see the same piece repeated three times in succession, which did grate. They have no control over what direction the performance will go and how much of the overall body of work you will get to see on a particular evening. At times a number of dance sequences came up in succession and you could tell that the actors were exhausted by it!

This is not a po-faced piece of performance art and the actors interact with each other and the audience. They abuse each other about their failures with the ring toss and react to the whim of the Wheel with groans and celebrations. This is an inventive and fun performance that will be a vastly different experience each night it is performed.

Orla Barry presents – MOUNTAIN

20 June 2014-21 June 2014 8.00pm
Tickets €12/10

Concept and text: Orla Barry
Performance and music: Derrick Devine, Marcus Lamb and Einat Tuchman

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