Well, well, well, where do I begin? For the first time I have actually seen a queue beginning at the bottom of the staircase at Project Arts Center. By the time I got to the seats, there were only handful left. People were squeezing together trying to free up some space to fit in as many audience members as possible.
The atmosphere for the show is set up before the performance even begins. Platforms are steady hanging above the ground, partially hidden in shadows. Floor is mystically coated with smoke. Sound creates just the right post-apocalyptic atmosphere. If you are curious enough you can spot performers lying in shadows, still and quiet as if they are not there.
After the usual announcement about switching off phones, photography and fire exits, the atmospheric music is back. Light comes into play revealing one of the performers (Aisling ní Cheallaigh) and she makes everyone go “wow” straight away. Cat-like grace in every movement, she makes all complex (and by the looks of it not very safe and easy) acrobatic moves look like it’s a child’s play. Absolutely flawless execution in addition to the charismatic character and you can’t take eyes off her, breathing quietly as if being afraid to scare her off. She jumps, turns, flies from platform to platform introducing the viewer to the place. Corner by corner we discover other performers, who are yet to showcase their craft, resting. After a head-spinning introduction solo Aisling hides away in a net at the very ceiling, giving a way for another character to come into the play.
We get introduced to persistent character of a man who despite circumstances cherishes morning routine of dressing up in a suit jacket and a tie being a part of it – perhaps a former businessman (Jonathan Walsh). A strategic thinker, who is determined to figure something out to improve matters.
Another character comes into play and manages to somehow save her ladyness despite all discomfort (Niamh Creely) . She radiates aristocratic elegance through her every move. At times too proud to accept others, yet strong enough to fight for what’s hers and at times able to step over the pride (or perhaps fear) and accept situations, making relationships work.
The character who is absolutely fearless in his moves (Timmy O’Sullivan) embodies a man of a completely different background than all others. His craft is perhaps not as sophisticated. However his absence of fear let’s him slide down the rope, making hearts of viewers stop.
They all showcase little solo pieces as well as group choreography – all that while telling a story with their movement. They are forced to interact with each other, sometimes standing for themselves and sometimes cooperating. The glimpse of distant hope is something that pulls them together and makes them coordinate, be creative in their actions as a garden, which represents hope, is only accessible through collective effort.
The overall concept is original to say the least. Dark atmosphere and exploration of human behavior in quite unusual circumstances make you think – what human senses and instincts would you rely on when you have to fight for survival? Would you trust others? Would you only fight for yourself? Does hope really exist after the dawn of life as we know it or is it just a trap and illusion?
The setting of the scene is so abstract it’s hard to believe it’s a theater production. Music contributes to the overall mood enhancing the apocalyptic tone. At times it felt as if it could have been a bit more flawless while switching in between sound tracks, but it doesn’t have any major impact on the overall experience.
Verdict: Head-spinning, breath-taking performance. Very fresh and original genre, that has a huge potential for development and no doubt success, especially with the talent like Ether has. A definite must see.
PERFORMANCE DATES, TICKETS & INFORMATION
7 – 10 August 2013 ~ Tickets €16/14
Preview 6 August 2013 ~ Tickets €10
Matinee 10 August 2013 (3pm) ~ Tickets €14
Writer and Director – by Niamh Creely
Choreography – Niamh Creely, Aisling ní Cheallaigh, Jonathan Walsh and Timmy O’Sullivan
Light and Set Design – Pauric Hackett
Costume Design – Annique van Niekerk
Composer – Aidan O’Brien
Producer – Lisa Fox
Cast Includes Aisling ní Cheallaigh, Niamh Creely, Timmy O’Sullivan and Jonathan Walsh.