Can you dig it?

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - LISTINGS - PETER CRAW­LEY

It says some­thing about the bal­ance of pol­i­tics and fan­tasy in Donal O’Kelly’s new solo play about the Shell Cor­rib gas project that its most im­plau­si­ble de­tail is com­pletely real. This is not the play’s plot, which in­volves an in­ter­ven­tion from one of the Chil­dren of Lír, but the name given to Shell’s 500-tonne Tun­nel Bor­ing Ma­chine, which they chris­tened Fion­nu­ala. Where ever you stand on the con­tro­ver­sial project, which has now be­gun its fi­nal phase, that cyn­i­cal ap­pro­pri­a­tion of re­gional sym­bol­ism beg­gars be­lief. Truth is stranger than fric­tion.

It also pro­vides the start­ing point for O’Kelly’s drama, which takes the ref­er­ence to a folk­loric con­clu­sion: Shell em­ployee Ambrose Keogh (played by O’Kelly, left) comes face to face with the Fion­nu­ala of leg­end, who en­chants him to tell the truth about Shell’s ac­tiv­i­ties by us­ing a geis – the mytho­log­i­cal equiv­a­lent of sodium penthathol.

There’s lit­tle doubt about where O’Kelly stands on the en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­i­tics, but this pro­duc­tion, di­rected by Sor­cha Fox and de­signed by Robert Bal­lagh, ap­pears to be drilling deeper into ideas of a sti­fled democ­racy. It’s easy to be cyn­i­cal about the pipe­line, but its more im­por­tant for a drama­tist to en­gage with it with imag­i­na­tion; to rep­re­sent Fion­nu­ala with­out it be­com­ing a bore.

The foyer of TheatreUp­stairs is host­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion of pho­tos by Wil­liam He­d­er­man doc­u­ment­ing seven years of the cam­paign against Shell in north Mayo

AILLILIÃÚ FION­NU­ALA TheatreUp­stairs@Lani­gan’s Bar, Dublin Un­til Nov 17 1pm ¤10/¤8 085-7727375 theatreup­stairs@gmail.com

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