Hero – Bewley’s Cafe Theatre – Review by Frank L.
Hero – Written by Ken Rogan
Photo by Jeda de Brí
Until December 1st, 2018
Hero premiered in early 2017 at Theatre Ustairs. It is a monologue and Daithí Mac Suibhne plays the part of Smithy. He is a lusty young man, keen on a couple of pints and likes to play football at weekends. He is open to be smitten by a member of the opposite sex. The play begins with him encountering the ideal candidate Marissa in a night club. The initial encounter is far from full blooded but Marissa wittingly or unwittingly manages to get under Smithy’s skin. His thoughts are dominated by her even if she is a lawyer for whom he has a distinct dislike as a group. But she has another man in her life and the play is about how these conflicting relationships dominate Smithy’s thoughts and actions.
Mac Suibhne looks like a chunky football player and is able to impersonate the female attributes of Marissa and indeed another girl with a great deal of flair. As Smithy he has to show that he is a team player and macho with his soccer mates yet sensitive and intimate in order to win Marissa. The text requires him to be frustrated a great deal of the time as he pursues Marissa. His frustration does have its comic moments but it is a challenge for any listener to be entirely engrossed in someone else’s love affair that is not going to plan. Mac Suibhne is at his best when he slows the pace. On the other hand, his words become difficult to discern when he recounts rapidly acts of fast moving physical activity.
The effective set engenders the atmosphere of a bar in a night club. It consists of two metal frames from which descend vertical strings to which are attached at various angles empty wine glasses. Interspersed among the wine glasses are small fairy lights. With these simple constituents Naomi Faughnan has evoked the world of a night club of some attraction.
Hero is a frustrated love story told by a young heterosexual man. Stories being told by such men are becoming rarer as other story tellers of various sexual orientation rightly are now being allowed to be heard more frequently in the theatre. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that a young heterosexual man, like Smithy, with his hopes and dreams need to be heard also. Such young men remain valuable. Hero is a serious contribution to that canon.