Bathroom drama a gripping – and dripping – show
Tuesday October 20
BY TURNS gently funny and profoundly troubling, Rhiann Jeffrey's striking new production of Jack Thorne's Mydidae revels in the intimacy afforded by its novel setting: a fully functional bathroom.
The play spans a day in the life of a David and Marian – a couple who, as they are introduced, appear relatively content with each other: joking around as they each carry out their morning routine, telling each other about last night's dreams.
It isn't long, however, before the cracks in their relationship begin to show, latent traumas are made manifest. Both physically and emotionally, the characters gradually “bare all”.
Building towards a shocking climax, the play proves a challenging experience for an audience made to feel like voyeurs intruding upon the privacy of the space, partially by virtue of sensory immersion: water splashes out of the bathtub and across the stage, the scent of bubble bath wafts through the theatre.
The writing – by Bafta winning writer of Skins and This is England Thorne – may weaken slightly as the play edges towards its denouement, but for the most part the couple is characterised with a refreshing lightness of touch, Matt Forsythe and Julie Maxwell captivating throughout.
:: Until Sunday October 25.
Gerald Dawe: Of War and War's Alarms
Friday October 16
IN A wide-ranging discussion ably hosted by broadcaster Póilín Ní Chiaráin, professor, critic and poet Gerald Dawe offered an insightful commentary on the indelible marks left on the creative imagination by war.
Dawe drew upon his latest publication, Of War and War's Alarms, to analyse a range of literary treatments of the theme by writers from Francis Ledwidge to Thomas MacGreevy, Charles Donnelly to Christabel Bielenberg.
The essayist treated his material with an admirable sensitivity. And as well as presenting compelling new readings of familiar texts (such as WB Yeats's Politics), Dawe took the opportunity to highlight the work of a poet to whom, he said, he had a “great commitment”, the Belfast writer Padraic Fiacc. The conversation drew to a close with Dawe's recital of one of his own poems, In Ron's Place – a fine way to round off an illuminating evening.
:: Full festival programme at belfastinternationalartsfestival.com.