Normal – The Lir – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review by Jack Beglin
2017: Dublin Fringe Festival: We Get High On This Collective presents Normal by Caitriona Daly
Tickets €11, Dates Sep 19 – 23 @ 21:15
Tickets €16/ €14 conc. – Duration 70 mins
Other performance Sep 23 @ 16:00 – Venue: The Lir Academy Studio 1
From the producers of Sluts (2011) Panned (2015) and Test Dummy (2016), We Get High On This Collective presents Normal by Caitriona Daly, playing at The Lir Academy , Studio 1 as part of the 2017 Dublin Fringe Festival.
Inspired by Daly’s experiences of working as a carer and teacher with young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Normal, debates the perceptions, expectations and labels attached to people on the Autistic Spectrum.
The inspiration for the play came to Daly in 2011 when she was working as a teacher. The first encounter was and awkward but insightful thirty minute conversation with the mother of an autistic teenager at a parent-teacher meeting. Daly was struck by the way in which the parent labeled her son’s disabilities and emphasised his limitations. The second encounter was with another mother, who held unrealistic and lofty expectations of her son despite his severe Autistic Disorder.
‘Both of these women and their attitudes towards their situations stayed with me for some time. I truly felt for both of them despite finding some of their views and attitudes problematic to the situation at hand, which brought me to questioning my own attitudes towards my students and my job’ (Dublin Fringe Festival: Daly: 2017 )
Naomi Faughnan’ s minimalist and metallic set depicting a modern bar is placed on a thrust stage. Audience members have the choice to sit within the auditorium or at round bar tables positioned centre stage for an immersive experience. Faughan’s crisp stage design punctuates Karen Ardiff and Caoimhe O’Malley’s confident performances during an orgy of popping balloons and falling coloured confetti. Caoimhe O’Malley’s use of gesture allows Daly’s text to crackle as she shifts from one physicality to another – from a collapsed seated position with her forehead clasped in her hands, to a defiant standing posture with rigid arms.
Normal is an intelligently staged performance with a strong minimalist aesthetic and confident acting. Normal plays on The Lir Studio 1 Stage, September 22nd – 23rd at 21: 15 with an additional performance at 16: 00 on the 23rd.