G.O.D. (Good.Orderly.Direction.) – Dublin Theatre Festival – Review
by Frank L.
Bitter Like A Lemon in association with Axis Ballymun, Ireland – G.O.D. (Good.Orderly.Direction.) – by Lee Coffey
Venue: Axis, Ballymun
Date(s): 3-8 Oct. 8pm
The playbill refers to “a higher power” so the mnemonic G.O.D. is an apt title for this thoughtful play about the challenges that a diverse group of individuals face as they try to negotiate the seemingly intractable difficulties that everyday life hurls at them.
The stage consists of a low platform on which there are six chairs arranged in a circle. In addition to the normal seating in the auditorium, there is an additional two rows of seats on the stage for the audience so the low platform is the central focus from two opposite sides.
There are six characters: Stephen (Luke Griffin), Rebecca (Andrea Irvine), Dave (Lore Adewusi), Simon O’Gorman (Eamon), Christine (Amilia Stewart Keating), and Kate (Lauren Larkin). They are diverse as regards age and background with Stephen, Rebecca and Eamon representing the more mature cohort. The play moves chronologically as the group attends its weekly meetings with Christine attending as a new member. Stephen is the facilitator and each participant has an addiction which often has alcohol as a component but drugs, gambling and sex are also contributors. The direction by Eoghan Carrick keeps each session brief as it concentrates on the challenges facing one of the group and how the members of the group react to that particular challenge. The lighting is used to indicate the end of a meeting and the beginning of a new one. It is fast and effective. Coffey’s script keeps the challenges that each individual faces firmly in the world of the everyday and each challenge is easy to imagine.
With the difficulties that each individual faces, there is an overpowering sense of being alone and of there being no one to help. The group session is a counterbalance to that lonely angst. However, notwithstanding the difficulties that each individual faces there is humour and laughter and a sense of camaraderie and companionship which gives the entire group a sense of purpose and value. Coffey’s script quietly displays the connections which bind these disparate individuals together. The play is a valuable piece of theatre created from the everyday lives of individuals whose ability to cope has been compromised. At all times the problems that each individual has to contend with seem both commonplace and mountainous.
The play lasts about eighty minutes and at all times Coffey and Carrick keep you engaged in the demanding lives of these six disparate individuals. The Axis Ballymun and Bitter Like a Lemon have produced a piece of theatre that is carefully constructed and insightful.
Cast and Creative Team
Directed by Eoghan Carrick
Sound Design by Sinead Diskin
Set and Costume Design by Ellen Kirk
Lighting design by Eoin Winning
Cast: Andrea Irvine, Simon O’Gorman, Lauren Larkin, Loré Adewusi, Luke Griffin, Amilia Stewart Keating