The End of Eddy – Project Arts Centre – Dublin Theatre Festival – Review
The Unicorn Theatre (London) and Untitled Projects, UK
The End of Eddy | Projects Arts Centre (Space Upstairs) | 9-13 Oct
In 2014 “En finer avec Eddy Bellegueule” by Édouard Louis was published. Louard was 21 years old. It describes his life from the age of ten years old to when he left home aged sixteen. He was born and brought up in Hallencourt which is a small town with a population of less than 5,000 whose best days were behind it as the local main factory was a mere shadow of its former self. His alcoholic father was one of the remaining workforce but was sidelined by sickness. His mother worked at home and she had two children from an earlier relationship, one an unpleasant piece of goods called Vincent. Money was at all times tight. Eddie is beginning to understand something about his sexuality at the age of ten. He has a strong desire not to be noticed but he is. He is different from the other boys. It is that difference, because he is gay, he is trying to manage. He is also becoming aware that because his family is poor there are all sorts of tell-tale signs of poverty when mixing with contemporaries from less impoverished backgrounds. The play negotiates these themes while Eddie remains in Hallencourt and for a short period of time when has gone to the local big town Amiens to further his education.
The stage is bare apart from four screens each on a vertical yellow pole. There is against the back wall a bus shelter. The only other item is a litter bin which is at the rear, stage left. The actors are Alex Austin and Kwaku Mills who are two young men of very different appearance, both of them play Eddie interchangeably. The screens are used to show their faces and they state who are they are at that moment. Because in addition they play the father and the mother, the unpleasant Vincent, a couple of school bullies and some of Eddie’s cousins and contemporaries. At each time the screen assists the audience in identifying the role.
As he grew up in a house where the Television was constantly on, the screens serve as a metaphor for a life style that he eventually escaped. They add layers of images and ideas, which would be difficult to get across to the viewer otherwise. Austin and Mills display a great degree of artistry and dexterity as they negotiate the text. They are two young actors that are gifted and demonstrate with ease their skills. Small town hobophobia is a challenging topic but this production goes some way to capturing its many complexities.
Cast and Creative Team
Based on the book En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule by Édouard Louis
Adapted by Pamela Carter
Directed by Stewart Laing
Cast: Alex Austin and Kwaku Mills
Design: Hyemi Shin
Video Design: Finn Ross
Lighting Design: Zerlina Hughes
Sound Design: Josh Anio Grigg
Assistant Director: Nima Séne