The Plot – New Theatre – Review by Letizia Delmastro
The Plot by Paula Lonergan
5th February – 9th February 2019
In The Plot by Paula Lonergan, Lilith finally gets to have her story heard: as she is interviewed by a council worker, we get an insight into what a “troublesome” woman from the 19th century had to go through.
Starting with an interesting prelude with all the characters on stage accompanied by a repetitive, trance-inducing cello, the play opens with the story of the biblical Lilith, considered by many to be the first feminist: she fled Eden and Adam to live her own free life outside the gates of Paradise. Similarly, the Lilith on stage (Roseanne Lynch) wanted to escape from her own “Eden”, controlled by the claws of the patriarchy, and find herself. She committed suicide and following the custom of the time, was buried in a mound with no tombstone, hidden and forgotten for years to come.
Lilith is now being interviewed by a council worker (Charlotte Rose Keating), being assessed for her eligibility to be re-buried in a proper plot, with a tombstone to finally mark her past existence.
Interjecting through the story is a demon (played by Eoghan Burke), who in his chilling monologues delivered with good vocal ability tells the story “of those who were not there”, who did not get to have their say in history: he reminds the audience of how demons feed on our fears, and how useless it is to try and bury them away from our memories: our own demons will all eventually come back to haunt us, stronger than ever before.
Lilith tells us the ultimate feminist story of a woman who went mad, while searching for her own true self.
Throughout the play relevant themes are touched, such as shameful burials of those who took their own lives and unwanted, secret babies being tossed away in Cilín graves, now waiting for recognition of a life they never owned.
Through flashes of dark humour and sorrowful details Lilith’s story manages to compel the council worker who, politely uninterested at first, gets drawn into the vortex of injustices and finds her own biblical connection to the lost Lilith in front of her: unfortunately though the story does not manage to draw the audience into its world. Although dealing with relevant themes, the cast feels as though trapped on the stage, striving to get their own tombstone too. An interesting concept that might end up buried with the very Lilith in an unnamed plot.