My Son My Son – Project Arts Centre – Review
Dates: 23 May – 26 May
This is a new play written by Veronica Dyas which is loosely based on ‘The Mother’ by Bertolt Brecht. The play explores the lives of two women and a variety of other characters from the Liberties, in Dublin. It has an unusual structure as it starts in present day and moves backwards through time, with each successive scene set seven years before the last. A narrator tells us the Taoiseach and the economic state of the country during each transition. It allows the viewer to see the characters’ lives in the present before seeing the choices that formed them.
The play uses a number of Brechtian devices which give it an unusual flavour. The author Veronica Dyas introduces the play to us at the start and then sits in the audience with the script in hand. She also acts as the narrator, introducing the scenes and occasionally explaining situations. The Mother (Lauren Larkin) and her best friend Mary (Ericka Roe) are the two main characters, but we get to meet many local inhabitants and hear their problems. The other characters are mainly played by Amy Conroy, who shows great skill in changing between the various roles. The piece also has a musical flavour and there are a number of songs, which are accompanied by Leah Moore on guitar.
The simple stage has a white backdrop with a number of shop fronts. A hairdressers chair and other items are wheeled onto the stage to give an impression of the spaces where the characters live and work, but it is mostly left to the imagination of the viewer.
The performances are strong with Amy Conroy particularly catching the eye. The script covers a lot of ground, which is a double edged sword. If there is a flaw, it is that the play tries to pack too much in. The audience get a fragmented view of their lives and are left to fill in the gaps themselves. There are some impressive scenes, such as the afters of a wedding where the three women discuss their lives and loves. It’s an enjoyable and effervescent snapshot of Ireland over the past 40 years.
Featuring – Lauren Larkin, Amy Conroy, Ericka Roe & Leah Moore