THEATRE

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PETERCRAWLEY RATH­MINES ROAD

AbbeyTheatre,Pea­cock­S­tage,Dublin. End­sOc­t278pm(Sat­mat2.30pm) ¤25/¤20abbeythe­atre.ie Deirdre Ki­na­han’s new play es­sen­tially be­gins with one an­guished ques­tion: “What the fuck hap­pened here tonight?” Mov­ing back­wards, Fisham­ble’s co-pro­duc­tion with the Abbey must try and piece to­gether this night, mov­ing from ten­der­ness to trauma, as a wo­man is brought face to face with her rapist from 25 years ago. Like the de­tails around re­mem­bered trauma – al­ter­nately vivid and dis­tended – the ac­tion of Ki­na­han’s play comes in slow cir­cuitous move­ments then sud­den jud­ders. The play, like a mind in panic, be­gins to frag­ment, fluc­tu­at­ing be­tween al­ter­na­tive paths. Should she con­front him? What are the con­se­quences of ac­cu­sa­tion, for her fam­ily, for him? Is it enough to tell the truth? This, ap­pro­pri­ately, is not a drama of am­bi­gu­ity – the play be­lieves San­dra – but a de­pic­tion of the dilemma of com­ing for­ward. That it moves so strangely, through ar­ti­fi­cial mo­tions and a set of im­pos­si­ble gloom is a con­se­quence of both San­dra and the play­wright run­ning through dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios. The grim con­se­quences she imag­ines, though, are all too real: inad­e­quate apol­ogy, a loss of marital trust, an in­deli­ble mark of vic­tim­hood. That’s not a great mes­sage to give to sur­vivors of sex­ual as­sault, who have re­ceived pre­cious few of them re­cently. But it is a com­pas­sion­ate imag­in­ing of one wo­man’s pri­vate tor­ment and the vexed de­ci­sion to keep it hid­den.

PORTRAITOFTHEARTISTASA YOUNG MAN

Glór, Clare Oct 27, glor.ie; Gal­way Town Hall Theatre Oct 30-31 tht.ie; Si­amsa Tíre,Kerry(Nov2-3)siamsatire.com Here comes Stephen Dedalus, an awak­en­ing mind, hun­gry for learn­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence, soon af­fronted by the church, burn­ing with in­dig­na­tion and full of loftier am­bi­tions. “I go to en­counter for the mil­lionth time the re­al­ity of ex­pe­ri­ence,” he tells us in James Joyce’s de­but novel, “and to forge in the smithy of my soul the un­cre­ated con­science of my race.” If those are big words for a Dublin stripling, an ex­as­per­ated Joyce tended to stress the last four words of his ti­tle when peo­ple strained to find artis­tic in­sights: “as a young man…”

No­body quite grows out of Joyce, though. His work has kept Ir­ish theatre in a steady and bank­able sup­ply of ma­te­rial for adap­ta­tion, from Corn Ex­change to the Abbey and now Rough Magic. Here, as the com­pany reaches the end of its na­tional tour, their new en­sem­ble is set loose on Arthur Rior­dan’s en­er­getic adap­ta­tion of Joyce’s com­ing-of-age story. The role of Stephen is passed be­tween them, like a re­lay ba­ton, while di­rec­tor Ro­nan Phe­lan finds cor­re­spond­ingly brisk and youth­ful iconog­ra­phy of a more re­cent Ire­land – from Italia ‘90 to con­tem­po­rary pop songs – to ac­com­pany this jour­ney from child­hood into ma­tu­rity. Maybe that bodes well for the con­science of Stephen’s race. The smithy of his soul is work­ing over­time.

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