Kinahan's play, here in a production visiting from Ireland's Tall Tales
Theatre, is a sympathetic but clear-eyed look at the ways families and
whole lives can be built on Things We Do Not Talk About, and how
bringing such things into the open may not be the instant solution
textbooks might suggest.
her story, as interesting and moving as they are, are less significant
than the broader underlying patterns, which almost everyone can find
some personal connection to.
an imperfect but seemingly functional Irish family. Mother is kept
afloat on a diet of tranquilisers and antidepressants that leave her a
bit vague but happy, especially since her grown daughters keep a close
eye on her.
daughter is noticeably more tied to her mother than her own family
while the single daughter is more tense and resentful than her mother's
demands on her might seem to justify. And there is a son, living away,
whose very mention generates extra stresses and uneasy vibrations.
eventually that the son committed a horrible crime as a child and that
each of the other family members has tried to escape that memory, in
differing ways that all take a great deal of psychic energy to sustain.
now a rare
visit is going to shatter the denial systems and lead to things being
said out loud that can not then be unsaid. And in violation of all the
rules of pop psychology and easy fiction, the result will not be
cathartic, but traumatic, leaving everyone wondering whether the
unhappiness they knew before was better than the new, unfamiliar
unhappiness they face now.
It's a strong play, occasionally overly melodramatic and just as frequently darkly comic, but likely to touch some personal chord in every member of the audience.
Horan skilfully and sensitively guides a uniformly excellent cast led
by Maeve Fitzgerald as the single daughter and Deirdre Donnelly as the
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- Moment - Bush 2011