Endings – Project Arts Centre – Dublin Theatre Festival – Review
Project Arts Centre (Space Upstairs) | Oct 12-14 – Tamara Saulwick, Australia
Find out more about Endings here.
This is a performance that focuses on the difficult topic of death. It is pieced together from a series of interviews with people who have all experienced the death of a loved one. They talk openly and honestly on the topic, exploring the multitude of emotions and feelings that course through your veins at this time. It is a complex topic and not one that is often explored, but this production does so with dignity and sincerity.
While the recorded interviews are the main text of the production, the style of delivery is also highly impressive. The stage is plunged into near darkness throughout. The interviews are played on a variety of analogue devices such as reel-to-reel tapes and records. These devices are littered around the stage and form part of the experience as this out of date technology is explored, sending layers of sound swirling around the space. The lighting design is also quite remarkable, as the actors lift and drag the lights on a series of pulleys, allowing them to be moved, spun and swung around the stage.
There is also a musical element to the production as singer-songwriter Paddy Mann (lead singer of Grandsalvo) is on stage. He plays guitar and sings a number of songs. He has a delicate voice, reminiscent of Sam Beam of Iron and Wine and the music is integrated well into the piece.
The main focus is on the death of a parent and we hear a number of stories. Tamara Saulwick is the theatre-maker behind this production and she recently lost her father. While this in some way formed the starting point, it is not seen solely through her eyes. She carried out a number of interviews with friends and other individuals who have experienced loss. They talk of the time in the hospital, the moment where death occurs and the period shortly after. They are incredibly poignant moments and you can hear the emotion in the voices of those interviewed.
It is not always successful, there is a section that deals with a clairvoyant that adds little to the piece and seemed quite out of place. Whether this was added to broaden the topic or lighten the mood, really it was unnecessary. The lighting and sound design could be described as artifice, but they add considerably to the experience. The most exciting thing about the Dublin Theatre Festival is the opportunity to see high-quality work from around the world that you could not see otherwise and they should be applauded for bringing this Australian company to our shores. As a meditation on death, it is a powerful piece of theatre that comes highly recommended.
Cast and Creative Team
Concept and Text by Tamara Saulwick
Songwriting by Paddy Mann
Performed by Tamara Saulwick and Paddy Mann
Dramaturgy: Margaret Trail
Sound Design, Composition and Operation: Peter Knight
Set and Lighting Design: Ben Cobham / bluebottle Costume Design: Harriet Oxley
Technical Manager, Audio Engineer & Operator: Nick Roux
Information and Tickets
Venue: Project Arts Centre (Space Upstairs)
Dates: Oct 12 & 13, 7.30pm Oct 14, 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Tickets: €20 – €25
Duration: Approx. 60 mins. No interval.