Mother You – Review – Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival


Mother You created by Louise White

Block B in Smithfield is available to let, or so the signs in the window say. It is a large open plan building measuring some 11,000 square feet, with finished floors and exposed metal decking at ceiling level. It has a feel of a building that is waiting to find its reason for being. Built just before the economic collapse, it has never been filled other than for markets and other one off events. For the duration of the Fringe festival, it has been given over to a theatre company to create a site specific work that transforms it into an imaginary landscape.

[Spoiler] In this large space in Smithfield, Louise White has created a bog straight from the midlands. When the audience is shown into the first “room”, they are faced with a long, narrowish space upon which is laid a wooden pathway which has a certain amount of peat under it. A guide informs the audience that this is a bog. She describes its long history (thousands of years), how it came to exist and some of the botanic treasures it hosts. The guide leads the audience into a second space which is a community workshop where a part time educational course is in progress, making naturalistic flower arrangements using wild flowers and in particular a water retentive moss as the base for each creation. There is a considerable amount of banter and cross chat between the “florists” as they try to put together their creations. The third space is the community hall where the local “ladies choir” have been in rehearsal and perform their party piece. After they have finished the “hall” is taken over by a rather officious woman who by means of four different story tellers (including herself) tells how the local bog was saved as a community amenity.

The scale of this event is one of the most fascinating things about it, and Louise White has moved on from her last Fringe event, which took place in the Project Cube. It is a story that deals with community and realising what is important and worth fighting for. There is an ensemble cast, some with high vis jackets guiding the audience through the space and others actors with pieces of script to deliver. This work requires some imagination, but those guiding you on the trip through the ‘bog’ let you know what your surroundings truly look like. The main story is true to life and quite fascinating. It is how a local community took on a state body to save an area that has been an asset to the community over many years. The unusual style of delivery means you could almost miss the story, as you have to piece it together. This is no linear tale and much of the detail is only mentioned in passing. It’s only when you leave the space that you begin to put it all together. While not everything in this ambitious new piece works perfectly, it is events like this that make the Fringe special. The vision, scope and creativity on display make it a charming event.

Mother You – Block B – Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival

Dates Sep 09 – 14 & 16 – 20 @ 19:00 & 21:00.
Tickets €16 / €14 conc.
Duration 70 mins.
Block B Cultural Space, Smithfield Square, Smithfield, Dublin 7.


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