Overshadowed – Project Arts Centre – First Fortnight Review
Imogene (Roseanne Lynch) allowed Caol into her life and now doesn’t know how to get rid of her. Caol is a demon that forces Imogene to move away from her family and friends and focus on her one goal; to continue to lose weight. Caol is the physical embodiment of her illness as Imogene suffers from Anorexia. This play charts Imogene’s descent from a relatively normal young woman to one who becomes dangerously underweight. Her relationship with her family suffers, as they can see the problem for what it really is, but Imogene refuses to acknowledge the problem and will not seek help.
This is another play that was originally presented at the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival last year and is written by Eva O’Connor. Eva also stars in the play as Caol, the tangible form of the Illness. She lurks in every scene, often intertwined with Imogene, curled up beneath her legs or wrapped around her. Imogen’s relationship with Caol is the only one that matters, and all others are purely secondary. Caol talks to Imogen in verse, and along with her bodysuit is a strange vision on stage. None of the other characters can see Caol other than Imogen and she lurks between them snapping answers to their questions and ordering Imogen to do her bidding.
This is a difficult subject matter and one rarely discussed or written about. While people acknowledge our relationship with food is strained, it is not often explored on stage and this work delves into the topic in some depth. While there is little light relief in the play, the character of Eamonn (Adam Devereux) as another troubled soul allows for some comic moments.
The self inflicted nature of this illness make it fascinating. It is difficult to see the logic behind the actions of the sufferer, and this play tries to give an insight. At the end of the performance (7-1-16) there was an after show talk on the subject matter. During this discussion, Eva told the audience that she suffered from an eating disorder during her teenage years. While she has recovered from her illness, it obviously exposes some uncomfortable truths. This along with her previous work ‘My Name is Saorise’ marks her out as a courageous writer who is willing to talk about topics that are difficult and therefore rewarding.
Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review
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