Bas Tongue | Absolut Fringe
Review by: Caoileann Appleby
Star Rating: 3/5
A lecturer (Manchán Magan) is giving a talk about his father's works, though the funereal flowers suggest a eulogy. Assuming that the audience won't understand him, he relies on his translator (Roxanna Nic Liam) to get his point across: but she isn't inclined to co-operate. The fight is on between the coldly rational Gaelgeoir purist, in favour of the death of Irish and a global oll-theanga; and the younger, newer speaker, whose practical Béarlachas is nevertheless connected to an imagined dreamy Celtic past.
They battle with battered dictionaries, stolen diaries, poetry, and Pepsi, but their polarised positions don't offer the audience much room to see a way forward for them, or for Irish as they have categorised it. We are told that aitheantas is the most important thing, and given an Irish word to take care of, but little mention is made of the only way in which a language can survive: if children learn it. Nevertheless, Magan's writing is powerful in parts, and Bás Tongue is a stimulating, intellectually demanding show that asks a lot of its audience, and it gets it: even while assuming that we won't.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Thursday 22nd September 2011 | Theatre
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