Everything Not Saved – Project Arts Centre – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review

Everything Not Saved – Project Arts Centre – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review by Frank L.

Tickets €11 – Dates Sep 11-16 @ 20:45
Tickets €15/ €13 conc. – Duration 75 mins
Other performance Sep 16 @ 16:30
Venue: Project Arts Centre Cube

Devised by Malaprop with Dylan Coburn Gray

This group won the Spirit of the Fringe award in 2015. At that time they were not a theatrical company as they did not even have a name. However Breffni Holahan, Maeve O’Mahony and Dylan Coburn Gray have continued to work together and along with Peter Corboy, they have created this new show. It tackles the complexities surrounding memory and how time, both short and long periods of it, alters memory. It considers gadgetry such as photography as a means of assisting or perhaps distorting memory. It makes you think, it makes you remember and at times it makes you laugh.

The set is a square horizontal platform on small wheels with two vertical sides at right angles. Initially, the space created is empty. There is an off stage voice, juvenile in tone, whose words in rudimentary block capitals appear on one of the vertical sides of the square. Issues about memory and seemingly knowing comments on some members of the audience are spoken. Gradually there are placed on the stage a camera on a tripod, a table and a chair along with other items. Sitting at the table is Maeve O’Mahony, playing Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom after the end of the Second World War, but before she was married, reading a speech of platitudes in carefully pronounced tones. She is definitely of a different time to now. She is being filmed by Breffni Holohan who is operating the camera. The purpose of this activity is to have a movie available after the Princess, now the Queen, dies. She is aged 90 year plus. The movie will be available, promptly following her death, to show the world how she appeared when she was younger. This introduces the complex issue of how people are remembered. Notwithstanding the public status of the Queen, she is used as a common, well-known image as the stories told are about more ordinary mortals.

The stage is moved through 180 degrees and the cast change into different clothes before it is moved through a further 180 degrees. Holahan is now officiously and with intentional menace interrogating a baby sitter (Corboy) over a cot death. His memory or lack of it is critical to making him vulnerable. It is a disturbing sequence. There is then a further change of costume and the three actors are all bearded and one is Rasputin. Here is another famous historical image. Again issues as to memory and recollection are aired. This final section is somewhat wacky and is less successful in conveying a message.

In the programme notes, it states that the show is “about all sorts of things under the umbrella of memory”. Like memory it is diffuse. However, the three actors have a great rapport between them and they keep this complex script under control. For members of the audience attitudes to old family photographs will require reassessment. Similarly, the choices made in relation to more recent ones rather than the older ones will need to be reconsidered. All of these issues and many more are brought to the fore. Of course, the vast majority of what happens in a person’s life is forgotten. It cannot be saved. So this clever piece is a theatrical memorial to – “everything not saved”. It is worth seeing as it makes for unusual lines of thought.

Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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