Cora, Leah and I – New Theatre – Review by Frank L.
Written by Ellen Flynn
BridgeTalk Theatre – Feb 13th – Feb 25th @ 7.30pm – Tickets: €16 (€12.50 conc.)
This play shows the consequences on Cora (Maeve O’Mahony) and her younger sister Leah (Seana O’Hanlon) of the suicide of their brother. Cora lives with her husband Egan (Ross Gaynor) in her old family house. Leah disappeared shortly after the death of their brother to places unknown. She has now returned after an absence of five years which reopens many old wounds.
The set consisted of a domestic, general purpose living area with a table and two chairs. It also had a large video screen at the back on which the branches of a substantial tree were to be seen most of the time. There was also a second video screen on the right hand side upon which images from a camera were displayed. The camera was used extensively for close ups of Cora and the other characters. These two video screens played a prominent role in the proceedings, as did a laptop.
The return of Leah brings to the fore the tensions between the two sisters and between Cora and Egan. The sisters appeared to have little or no ground on which they can connect and Egan is an outsider, a techie, who just wanted to be able to do his work without disturbance. He was presumably the “I” of the title. The bickering and self-justification between the two of them continued at a measured pace. It is broken by a theatrical moment of horror created by an action of Leah. It is grotesque but somehow works but the play then reverted to its previous pace. The use of technology needs to add something to the dramatic quality of a piece. The image of the tree on the big video screen did. The remainder was however questionable.
The play lasted, without a break, over the estimated time of seventy five minutes. A brisker pace would certainly have helped. The play deals with the destructive forces unleashed by suicide which is a difficult topic about which to write. To intertwine it with the use of so much technology made it more difficult. However it is a topic which needs to be aired.