Eight to see at the Dublin The­atre Fes­ti­val

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS - dublinthe­atre­fes­ti­val.com

The Sin Eaters Such has been the power of Louise Lowe and Owen Boss’s com­pany Anu Pro­duc­tions, and the spell­bind­ing col­lab­o­ra­tions that have brought our un­re­solved his­to­ries into the light of the present, that it’s easy to for­get how the Dublin The­atre Fes­ti­val managed with­out them. In The Sin Eaters, per­formed at the Pi­geon House – a dif­fi­cult venue to ac­cess – they re­visit our his­tory of con­sti­tu­tion­ally pri­ori­tised fam­ily units, con­tested re­pro­duc­tive rights and resur­gent body pol­i­tics, through dream­like in­stal­la­tions and ju­di­cial in­quiries.

Nora In­spired by A Doll’s House, Ib­sen’s classic about marriage in suf­fo­cat­ing cir­cum­stances, Belinda McKeon’s new play, writ­ten with Corn Ex­change’s An­nie Ryan, flashes for­ward to 2025, a still per­ilous time for those who can’t af­ford to pro­tect them­selves. Here, a glitzy cou­ple pre­pare to host a party for the elite of the art world as the fa­cade of their part­ner­ship be­gins to shat­ter. Ryan plays Nora, with a cast in­clud­ing De­clan Conlon, Peter Gaynor and Vene­tia Bowe, di­rected by Eoghan Car­rick.

Girl Song Emma Martin’s in­no­va­tive com­pany United Fall fol­lows 2015’s highly re­garded Dance­hall with a new work ex­plor­ing the pas­sage of a sin­gle life, con­vey­ing an or­di­nary ex­is­tence in ex­tra­or­di­nary de­tails, where move­ment and im­agery com­bine the quo­tid­ian, the haunt­ing and the ab­surd. A co-pro­duc­tion be­tween the Dublin The­atre Fes­ti­val and No­order­zon, it al­ready epit­o­mises the in­ter­na­tional reach of the fes­ti­val plat­form, while the per­for­mance charts the hopes and ac­com­mo­da­tions of an in­di­vid­ual at home. Josephine K and the Al­go­rithms “Some­one must have been spread­ing lies about Josephine K . . . ” Stacey Gregg has quickly be­come one of Ire­land’s most fre­quently staged new writ­ers at home and abroad, and here she threads Franz Kafka’s en­dur­ing piece of para­noid ab­sur­dism about a fig­ure hounded by un un­ac­count­able jus­tice sys­tem, The Trial, into the age of big data, tech­no­log­i­cal in­tru­sion and on­line mobs. Di­rected by Caitríona McLaugh­lin for the Abbey, it all takes place in a breath­less hour-long show­down be­tween Josephine, her judges, jury and ex­e­cu­tioner.

Come Away With Me to the End of the World You could say that the­atre is al­ways heavy with con­sid­er­a­tions of mor­tal­ity. Still, this year’s pro­gramme fore­grounds the is­sue, ei­ther solemnly or an­ar­chi­cally, from Dead Centre’s Shake­spearean riff in Ham­net to Australia’s Ta­mara Saulwick and her starkly ti­tled End­ings. Her com­pa­tri­ots, the con­tem­po­rary com­pany Ranters, keep their re­flec­tions qui­etly hu­mor­ous, re­shap­ing their world be­tween the ac­tual and ideal to­wards an en­counter with Greek mu­sic leg­end Demis Rous­sos – the man with all the answers.

Rapids The spir­ited doc­u­men­tary the­atre com­pany Talk­ing Shop En­sem­ble make their DTF de­but with a work about liv­ing in Ire­land with HIV. Writ­ten by fre­quent col­lab­o­ra­tor Shaun Dunne, it is in­formed by groups af­fected by the is­sue, from young ru­ral Ir­ish men to mi­grant women seek­ing refuge. Trans­form­ing their sober de­tails into a piece that works on stage re­quires both sen­si­tiv­ity and creative lat­i­tude, a com­pli­cated bal­ance. But that is what Talk­ing Shop En­sem­ble have long been work­ing to­wards.

Fruits of Labour It’s not hard to trace the in­flu­ence of Miet War­lop’s min­d­ex­pand­ing vis­ual stage world in some of the broader hori­zons of Ir­ish scenog­ra­phy since her first Dublin visit in 2012. Like Karine Pol­wart’s Wind Re­sis­tance, War­lop’s new piece is some­where be­tween the­atre per­for­mance and mu­sic con­cert, in which War­lop, three mu­si­cians and a roadie pre­side over a psy­choac­tive pa­rade through re­li­gion, ter­ror­ism, hal­lu­ci­na­tions and na­ture trails, trans­form­ing the stage is into its own skit­ter­ing mu­si­cal in­stru­ment.

The Sec­ond Vi­o­lin­ist This show pre­miered at this year’s Galway In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val, where Woyzeck in Win­ter also orig­i­nated, and Enda Walsh and Don­nacha Den­nehy’s col­lab­o­ra­tion for Land­mark and Wide Open Opera brings an­other mis­fit to Dublin. Aaron Mon­aghan plays a dan­ger­ously iso­lated pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian, fall­ing down on his job, stalked by tech­nol­ogy and heav­ing with vi­o­lent im­pulses, while an opera ex­plodes to life around him. A com­po­si­tion on cre­ativ­ity and de­struc­tion, it is a re­mark­ably spec­tac­u­lar work on a trou­blingly re­cur­rent sub­ject. Peter Craw­ley

Left: Vene­tia Bowe and An­nie Ryan in Nora. Above: Aaron Mon­aghan in The Sec­ond Vi­o­lin­ist

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