Bite size theatre

Julia Healy gets a taste of Dramat’s new talent.

UCC Dramat Short Play Festival January 2011

Meet Me in the Stars

Featuring the Express’ very own John Barker in his writing and directorial debut. Meet Me in the Stars tracks childhood sweethearts who marry and live together until the protagonist’s wife falls ill with cancer and dies. The husband spirals into self-pity and tragic depression.

The wife rises and talks to him from beyond the grave (played beautifully by Michelle Fox), divulging that she found it as difficult to watch his misery as it was for her to die. Played by three different couples, the exposition of the relationship is heartfelt, gripping and moving.

The actors have a variety of accents and mannerisms yet the characterisation is strong due to the constant momentum and magnificent stage blocking and set. Despite a clichéd and somewhat predictable plot, Meet Me in the Stars’ honest dialogue, perfect light relief and dramatic tension renders it a credit to Dramat. It is a deeply moving amongst the subsequent comedic pieces.

Bats, Hair, Dishwasher

Rory McConville’s Bats, Hair, Dishwasher is a mind-blowingly sophisticated and surreal debut. With a cerebral, heart-warming plot, the play manages to be as bizarre as it is engaging.

Max, stuck eternally on a plinth and jovially suicidal, meets incongruously American Gwen and her Irish little sister Lassie. Lassie is desperate to purchase the name ‘Charlotte’ and is thwarted by her mischievous sister.

The play is delightfully constructed with casual surreal outbursts. Max’s eccentric costume and neurotic mannerisms, Lassie’s adorable innocence and Gwen’s temper make this play enthralling, effortless and a complete treat.

Pitch

Pitch is everything you could want in a short play – a fantasy plot, lovable characters piss-take mafia accents and breakneck pace. Writer Enda Kenneally’s extensive familiarity with theatre and film is clear in this comical tale about a writer’s frustration at his screenwriter’s hilarious ignorance.

The mechanics of the characters’ pseudo reality are fascinating, and the dialogue is bang on. One has to empathise with the poor, frustrated writer Alex (Eoin Murray), at the mercy of his screenwriter brought to life by Eugene Manley’s expert comic timing. Universal themes of misunderstanding and disillusion are illustrated by Kenneally’s refreshing plot, Cian Irwin’s flawless direction and some indulgent over-acting by the mafia squad.

The Greatest of These Muggers

We all know them, and we hate to hate them. We use headphones, excuses and downright rudeness to avoid them: charity muggers. A triumph of writing and especially of production, The Greatest of These Muggers provides us with Brendan – a would-be ‘chugger’ trying to make a few bob, the loveably clueless ‘Mugsy Boy’ McManus and his mocking sergeant Walsh.

The plot takes a bizarre tangential diversion into a world of bank heist, dames and buskers. Roaring comedy, fantastic contrast and a local feel give this play all the communal accessibility of a panto but with a clever plot and sophisticated character development. This really is a play to write home about.

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