Going Spare – Theatre Upstairs – Review by Frank L.
Written by Siobhan Donnellan
13 October 2015 – 24 October 2015 – 7.00PM / Tuesday – Saturday – 1.00PM (matinee) / Wednesday + Saturday
Siobhan Donnellan plays Maisie whose past is ever present. The play begins with a series of unnerving, high pitched squawks made by Maisie. It is a deliberately unsettling beginning. Maisie then states that it may be like the sound that a hare might have made before it was killed. She soliloquises about the death of the hare in a lyrical passage which surprisingly settles the audience after the unsettling effects of the squawks. Maisie’s life has been uprooted. She is out of kilter with her immediate world. In order to get some sense of balance back into it she decides to attend a psychic convention in a three star hotel. The script describes the odd ball atmosphere of such an event with Maisie wondering for instance are there 52 cards in a tarot pack. A motley crew of psychics and clairvoyants are present in the hotel’s function room. Maisie lights upon Bridget who sits apart from the others. She is unshowy and old. She has a Laois accent. They have an affinity towards each other.
The only prop is a single chair and Donnellan wears a long brown dress but the text requires a series of individuals to be portrayed apart from Bridget. Maisie needs to talk about her mother, a male neighbour, a childhood friend and various other individuals. Each is brought to life so it is easy to imagine them. Donnellan’s own script has some beautifully rendered passages such as when as a child she looks at her own reflection in the glass of a framed image of the Virgin with whom she conducts an imaginary conversation. However Maisie brings this imaginary conversation to an abrupt end which when delivered by Donnellan brought a welcome break of laughter from her audience. It was a lovely moment.
The series of memories which Maisie relates have been well written by Donnellan so that the imagination is given full scope to complete the visual details. For an hour Maisie creates her past so that the audience experiences the pains and the pleasures of her existence. It was both a privilege and a pleasure to travel with Maisie along her journey.
Siobhán Donnellan / WRITER
Aoife Connolly / DIRECTOR
Katie Davenport / SET DESIGN
Sharon Bagnall / LIGHTING DESIGN
Aisling Quinn / SOUND DESIGN
Martin Maguire / PHOTOGRAPHER
Patrick Cusack / GRAPHIC DESIGNER