La Marie Vison – Smock Alley – Review
Until Oct 21st
We meet Marie (Conor Duffy) when ‘she’ is taking a bath. Her man-servant (Kieran Smyth) is there to shave her legs and armpits as the hair grows back far too quickly. She likes to appear as ladylike as possible, but there is something quite masculine about Marie. We are then introduced to her son, Kin’ya (Cian Colbert), who was butterfly hunting inside their apartment. That is when things start to get complicated. This is the story of how Marie, who is not a woman, came to have a son!
This is the first play by Japanese writer Shuji Terayama and was published in 1967. Shuji was an experimental writer that dabbled in the surreal. This play focuses on a number of gender bending characters, who are all part of a bizarre world. The play gets its Irish première with this production, 50 years after it was written.
When you enter the theatre the Servant is already on stage, sweeping and dusting. There is a gramophone along with a bath and other items of furniture on stage. The most striking thing about the stage design is a single sheet draped from high above one side of the stage, sweeping down to other. It is evocative of a lavish lifestyle in which these characters dwell. The theatre was filled with dry ice, which was used for the majority of the show. It may have served better to have sporadic bursts of the effect, sometimes less is more!
This play is produced by Moon Mad Theatre, which is a theatre company founded this year by Japanese artist Maki Mutai. It is an extremely difficult play for a small theatre company to put on with six speaking parts. The cast are of mixed ability but the stronger members carry the production through. It is interesting to see work from a relatively unknown Japanese writer and the topic is certainly unorthodox. The play must have been quite shocking and innovative in its time and it captures the spirit of freedom and experimentation of the late 1960s.
Marie: Conor Duffy
Servant: Kieran Smyth
Beautiful Girl: Lucy Jones
Beautiful Boy: Cian Colbert
Tattooed Sailor: Cilléin McEvoy
The Poet: Philip Arneill
Written by : Shuji Terayama
Directed by : Maki Mutai
Ass. Director : Serina Griffin
Creative Producer : Nathalie Clement
Lighting Design by : Barry Donaldson
Costume Design / Illustration by : Stephanie Johnson
Graphic Design : Saori Latvala
Set Design by : TJ Lynn and ClaudiKat
Production Manager : Seán Mac Dhonnagáin