This Beach – Project Arts Centre – Review by Frank L.
Tiger Dublin Fringe – Brokentalkers
Dates Sep 11 – 12 & 14 – 17 @ 21:00 / Sep 16 – 17 @ 13:30
Tickets €16 / €14 conc. Duration 80 mins
Venue: Project Arts Centre Space Upstairs
This piece has evolved fittingly from an international background, as it is a co-production with various cultural entities in Munich, Athens, Vilnius, Lisbon and Dublin. It is set on a private beach somewhere in Europe. It has all the paraphernalia of easy leisure time such as deck chairs, swimming attire and a large parasol. A wedding is about to take place of the son to a young woman of an artistic bent who makes videos. Her mother is bored in this dull coastal idyll and proclaims her preference for the cultural mix of urban life. The patriarch in the course of the wedding explains how it was many generations ago that the family “acquired” the beach. To say the least it was not honourable. The easy certainties of a festive ceremony are disrupted by the arrival of an unwanted outsider washed up by the tide. The family members then each in their own way react or fail to react to the arrival of the outsider. Some are openly hostile; some superficially more welcoming, even engage in conversation, but for all their liberal good intentions fail to listen to what the outsider has said.
The name of each character is the first name of each actor. So the patriarchal figure Dan is Dan Reardon, Pom, the bride’s mother, is Pom Boyd and so on. There are six protagonists in all. This device helps to make the actors more everyday and ordinary. Each reflects a certain set of values often that are prevalent in society.
Currently the migration of large numbers of individuals across stressful stretches of hostile country has become increasingly commonplace. To an extent the migration has ceased to be newsworthy unless a particularly grim atrocity has occurred. There are a myriad number of underlying reasons for this migration. This Beach looks at the way various citizens in the receiving country react to the often unwelcome arrival of these newcomers. The importance of dominion over a piece of land lies at the heart of the debate. Within that status lies the power to admit or exclude the newcomers. The instinctive reaction is to bar entry. This Beach reflects that grim phenomenon.
“This Beach” concentrates on the attitudes of those who reside in the host countries. For a piece of theatre 90 minutes in duration, to grapple with the largest humanitarian crisis facing the Western world is a brave undertaking. “This Beach” provides a valuable probe into some of the common place attitudes often heard. Its worthwhile purpose as theatre is to try to make each member of the audience reflect on their own, often unthinking, behaviour in relation to individual refugees and refugees in general. It has moments of comedy but it avoids a theatrical climax. The problems are maybe too complex and too serious for such a neat theatrical happening. Its strength is that it questions underlying assumptions which often have remained undisturbed over many years. It is therefore to be welcomed.
Pom: Pom Boyd
Breffni: Breffni Houlihan
Dan: Dan Reardon
Brian: Brian Quinn
Carl: Carl Harrison
Neimhin: Neimhin Robinson
Written and directed by Gary Keegan and Feidlim Cannon
Set and costume design: Sabine Dargent
Lighting design: Sarah Jane Sheils
Sound design: Jack Cawley
Producer: Hugh Farrell
Stage Manager: Fódhla O’Brien
Movement Director: Eddie Kay