Saoirse lives in a house with her father and brother. She never knew her mum, as she died when she was born. Her father won’t speak of it, the one time her brother brought it up, he left the table emptying his dinner into the dustbin as he went. Her best friend Siobhán lives in a house across the road with her five sisters. She seems obsessed with boys and how to get noticed by them. They are an unlikely pair, but for a while they were inseparable. This is the story of the two young women discovering the complexities of the world around them. Towards the end of the play, there is an abrupt change in mood, and the tone of the play is altered from then on.
My Name is Saorise is another play that is returning from the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival, where it won the First Fortnight award. As with many Fringe pieces, the writer is also the performer and Eva O’Connor does an admirable job in both roles. While in some ways the story is a typical coming of age tale, there is enough originality, humour and insight in this tale of Ireland during the 80’s to separate this from the others.
Eva plays a variety of roles in this one woman production, creating old women, teachers, school friends and many more. The other characters are only bit parts, with the two main roles being the swaggering Siobhán and the naive and gentle Saoirse.
This play was originally performed in the New Theatre, and is now running in the much bigger space at Smock Alley. The stage is simple with a sewing machine on one side of the stage and lamps, suitcases and other objects on the other. There is always a worry that the intimacy will be lost with the transition to the larger stage, but O’Connor makes good use of the larger space. Her movement is excellent as she bounds around the stage, recreating her childhood games and experiences.
This is a play that leaves you with something to discuss when you leave the theatre. It has as many questions as it does answers. It shows a snippet of life in Limerick during a decade where Ireland was still closed to many issues, and in truth remains so today. It is a fine piece of writing and O’Connor brings great life into the variety of characters on display.
My Name is Saorise is part of the First Fortnight Festival.
My Name Is Saoirse – Smock Alley
8th-10th January at 8pm in The Main Space
Categories: Festivals, Header, Theatre, Theatre Review
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