Eggsistentialism – Smock Alley – Tiger Dublin Fringe Review by Frank L.
Preview Sep 12 @ 18:45 – Tickets €11
Dates Sep 13 – 17 @ 18:45 / Sep 17 @ 15:30
Tickets €14 / €12 conc. – Duration 60 mins
Venue: Smock Alley Theatre Black Box
Eggsistentialism – Written by Joanne Ryan
Onto the stage, Joanne Ryan emerges in a red dress. She is seriously hung over. Her mobile keeps ringing but she is not up to answering it. Eventually she does. It is her mother, Gloria, who wants to wish her a ‘Happy Birthday’. She is 35 years old and single. The number 35 makes her think about her own fertility. The biological clock is ticking inside her.
Her upbringing, her mother’s upbringing, her father’s presence in her life and her extended family are all thoughts that crowd in on her as she contemplates the issue of whether she does or does not want to have a baby and be a parent. Her mother’s voice often interrupts her musings with no nonsense one liners which cut to the point.
There is a simple set with a sofa and a coffee table, and a large screen at the back wall. The screen is used to display all sorts of research she carries out on the internet including glimpses of possible suitors on Tinder and a brief rundown on Irish legislation on procreation from 1916 onwards. All of this and much else besides is delivered with a great deal of humour.
Her situation is not unique. Her mother’s situation was not unique. The play raises a myriad of issues about the decision of having a baby. It is sensitive. She states in her Writer’s note “this is … a true story and everyone mentioned or affected has allowed me to use their name and include their story”. The play touches many relationships including mother and daughter, father and daughter and that between partners. The telling of her story with such wit and skill by Joanne adds to its enjoyment and its strength. Although it is her story, its background applies to many others in Ireland. Its wider context digs into the societal structures of Ireland as it is now. It is both a serious piece and a fun piece, and is well worth seeing.