It Folds – Brokentalkers and Junk Ensemble
Dates Sep 07 — 12 @ 19:00.
The piece opens with a ghost emerging from the darkness of the stage. He is a traditional ghost, with a white sheet forming his body and holes for his eyes and mouth. He has a story to tell about when he was an altar boy and how he used to annoy the local priest by refusing to ring the bell at the correct moment in mass. This wasn’t an attempt at rebellion though, instead it was a bid to get the congregation to focus on what was happening, to see the miracle of transubstantiation for what it really was! The ghost quickly disappears when his story is finished and the tale continues in a different direction, ignoring what has gone before. This piece is a collection of unusual short stories, dance pieces, songs and images that are sometimes striking, sometimes bewildering but always original.
Two of the most innovative theatre companies in Ireland have combined for this new work which opened in the Peacock theatre last night. The unusual thing about the collaboration is that their approach to theatre is quite different, with Junk Ensemble focusing on dance theatre and Brokentalkers delving into topics such as community and memory while often using untrained actors.
While dance does take a major part in the piece, it is by no means the dominant art form and it is difficult to pin down just what this piece is. There is no cohesive story line to unite the various strands, but there are reoccurring themes of death and abduction handled with a surreal touch. If this sounds too grim, there is also a pantomime horse for comedic effect! The production has many laughs, with some of the scenes resembling physical comedy sketches. The production may have been helped by having a stronger narrative or at least something more substantial to form the variety of images and strands around. It is an attempt to capture something elusive or ephemeral, which is always a difficult task.
It is truly an ensemble piece, with over 20 actors on the small stage for the final sequences. Some of the choral pieces are very impressive and the lighting is quite striking creating a range of atmospheres. There are a great many ideas in this production, as the viewer is flooded with visual imagery. The production gives you a variety of ideas, concepts and thoughts delivered through an array of formats, that will last with you long after you’ve left the theatre.
Duration 60 mins.
Venue: Abbey Theatre on the Peacock Stage
Lighting and Visual Design: Sarah Jane Shiels
Composition: Denis Clohessy
Costume Design and Design Assistant: Louise Brady
Choral Director: Ruaidhrí Ó Dálaigh
Producer: Beccy Fitzpatrick
Performers: Atalia Branzburg, Colin Condon, John Doran, Louise Ginnane, Dagmara Jerzak, Sarah Kinlen, Rob McDermott, Pat Morris, Maureen Murray, Siofra O’Meara, Ben Sullivan, Cara Christie, Andrea Cleary, Niamh Denyer, Denise Geraghty, Eleanor Walsh, Lola White
Ensemble: Meiron Bignall, Kate Bodner, Mary Conroy, Aisling Flynn, Rebecca Kelly, Claudia Kinahan, Michael Kunze, Maria De La Paz Lopez, Jennifer Meade, Milenka Salinas, Yvonne Stewart, Isha Van Der Burg, Stephen Quinn