Shout it out
QUIETLY Peacock Theatre, Dublin Previews until Nov 19 Opens Nov 20-Dec 15 8pm ¤18-¤25 01-8787222 abbeytheatre.ie The Polish barman Robert makes a simple request of his two customers in Owen McCafferty’s new play for the Abbey: “No trouble”.
You can understand why. It’s 2009 in a small Belfast pub, and on the TV Northern Ireland are playing Poland in a World Cup qualifier. This generates friction among street kids outside but stirs deeper memories of violence within. Jimmy, an intimidating man in his 50s, awaits the arrival of someone he has never met, but whose past is inextricably bound up with his own. There will be conflict, dialogue and a witness. How can we avoid trouble?
It would be too reductive to say that McCafferty, who writes in a voice both poetic and demotic, and varies his approach to form from naturalism to elliptical glimpses and recently verbatim theatre, is a dramatist of the Troubles. Both his Closing Time and Scenes from the Big Picture dealt with Northern Irish people and politics either metaphorically or with much wider scope, and while there is much acerbic mention in Quietly of “truth and reconciliation” it is as much engaged with the character of human honesty. People reveal their life stories without lifting their gaze from the TV while text messages between a couple deliver only half-truths.
Quietly addresses a huge theme in a careful way – what needs to be said, and how we might say it. PETER CRAWLEY
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The Yellow Wallpaper Project Arts Centre, Dublin