‘One Acts ’21’ is an excellent mix of three particularly good Short Plays. Two powerful plays written by internationally acclaimed writers and a beautifully sensitive and fun piece by a local playwright.
This most enjoyable evening of entertainment is being staged by the Irish Theatre Players, at the Irish Club, Townshend Road in Subiaco.
The 140-minute programme has curtain up for the evening shows: Thursday 17th June, Friday 18th, Saturday 19th, Thursday 24th, Friday 25th, Saturday 26th at 7.30 pm. The Sunday matinée show is on 20th June at 2.00 pm.
The set (for all plays) was built by Tallan Chappell. The stage, flats and doors are all matte black.
Each director selected appropriate props.
The lighting and sound were designed and operated by Josie Hacking.
Stage Manager was Siobhan Rushe.
‘Still Lives’ written by Tony Layton. Directed by Alan Kennedy (55 minutes)
After decades of marriage, the sheen is wearing off Maggie (Marian Byrne) and Bob’s (Niall O’Toole) marriage. We flashback 40 years and see them as a newly married couple, filled with love and looking forward to a life together. Young Maggie (Madeleine Breheny) is looking forward to pregnancy, and her husband Bob (Mark Tilly) to writing books and poetry.
Marian and Niall – who are a real-life couple – were magnificent as the nagging oldies. One wonders how much acting was actually required – just joking. I can see there will be audience members nudging each other and stating, ‘That is just you!’
The young couple were viewed over about 30 years, so the actors had to change the level of affection, body language, voice, and delivery – this they did most successfully.
The director, Alan Kennedy with his prestigious Finley Award for Best Actor has proved his stage ability, but on occasions talented actors cannot always pass on their skills whilst directing. Alan however proved he can do both supremely with this delightful study of a couple over the years.
‘Bockey’s Bridge’ was written by Seán Byrne and directed by Denice Byrne (30 minutes)
A young girl in a school uniform, Ger (Mary Del Casale) was on her way home. As she stood in the bus aisle, Ger noticed Gordon (Curig Jenkins), a handsome young man near the back of the bus. She sidled up and sat down. The lad was a little shy and so she opened the conversation with a harmless question, ‘Oh, and what school do you go to?’ She reeled back at his answer – it was a Protestant school! If her mother only knew she had even said ‘Hello’ to a Proddie, she would burn in Hell.
How could she get out of this situation?
This play had two excellent young actors, one Aussie playing an Irish school girl and another Aussie (Welsh born) playing a Zimbabwean. Despite the play being for an Irish group, Mary had to conquer the Irish accent. Likewise, the Zimbabwean was amazingly accurate. The dialogue was natural and typical of children in their late teens.
Curig captured the shy, nervous young man now in a strange country perfectly. Mary displayed her teenage hormones, coupled with apprehension and her religious fear wonderfully. Great chemistry in this very funny, true to life story.
Sensitively directed by Best Director winner, Denice Byrne this was a delight to watch. Magic.
Through the rear bus window, you could see the bus route as the journey progressed. This was the first time I have seen such a realistic and novel effect in a community theatre show. Worked convincingly.
‘Sea Wall’ was written by Mancunian playwright, Simon Stephens, who is a 50-year-old Professor of Scriptwriting, and surprisingly a musician in a Scottish punk band. The play was directed by Andrew Baker, a well-respected actor, producer and musician (35 minutes).
With a glass of lager in his hand, Paul Davey starts to tell us about his early years of near poverty. We learn of his marriage to a young woman with an extremely wealthy family. He tells us of overseas holidays with his in-laws, and the events of his time in France.
This an intricate and cleverly controlled monologue; it is definitely in my top three monologue stories. Paul is an incredibly talented actor, but the direction from Andrew just took him even one step further.
The amazing dialogue has been very carefully structured with a natural flow. Paul’s presentation is such that you genuinely believe that he is assembling the words as he goes along. His delivery and pace are astounding. Although he captures the whole room, he appears to be speaking to each person individually. You feel that he is telling the story to you alone.
Exceptionally clever piece impeccably presented.