Theatre for One: Abbey Theatre – Review
by Frank L
Run now finished – 18 – 23 December 2020
Produced by Landmark Productions and Octopus Theatricals
In our ‘new normal’, the world of theatre has to be more creative than ever. Landmark productions in collaboration with Octopus Theatricals have gone to great lengths to create a piece that can continue despite the current restrictions. In the foyer of the Abbey, they have created a new tiny space. Looking from the outside like a photo booth, it is a space for one actor and one audience member, as the title suggests. The economics of theatre one this scale are quite bizarre, but it is great to see new work at such a challenging time for the industry. While there are many positive associated with online theatre, it will never capture the intimacy and excitement of a live performance.
On the night I attended the plays were: “Cygnum Canticum” written by Marina Carr and performed by Sean McGinley, “Pyramids” written by Emmett Kirwan and performed by Kate Gilmore and “Brilliant” written by Stacey Gregg performed by Kathy Rose O’Brien. The subject matters were a middle-aged man reflecting on the funeral of his mother, a young female entrepreneurial type explaining how she got a black eye and finally a young mum dealing with the challenges of her day.
The auditorium is compact so a substantial viewer such as this reviewer has to enter gingerly. The simple mechanics by which “the curtain” goes “up” and comes “down” is a marvel of low technology but like in a standard-sized theatre cannot be observed by the viewer. The proximity of the viewer to the stage is unique. The viewer is much closer than if he or she were watching a television. However, a large piece of perspex keeps the actor separated from the single audience member. Each play lasts somewhere between five and ten minutes.
The combination of these unusual and varied elements makes for a unique experience. It requires all those involved in the production of the plays to discover new skills. It creates a novel theatrical outing and we all should be grateful that the theatre world has pooled its various talents together to produce live theatre in these difficult times. It is a truly unique experience and creates a level of intimacy rarely achieved on stage.
Directed by: Eoghan Carrick and Srđa Vasiljević
Created by: Christine Jones
Set Design: Christine Jones
Lighting Design: Josh Higgason
Costume Design: Ciara Coleman-Geaney
Music and Sound Design: Josh Higgason
Writer: Marina Carr
Writer: Stacey Gregg
Writer: Emmet Kirwan
Writer: Louise Lowe
Writer: Mark O’Rowe
Writer: Enda Walsh