Moment | By Deirdre Kinahan
Words: Caomhan Keane - Senior Theatre Writer
Another play revived in Dublin this week is Moment by Deirdre Kinahan which followed its run at The Cube in the Project Arts Centre in November 09 with a sell out run at The Bush Theatre in London last month. Clocking up the universal acclaim it missed out on after its Irish premiere, Moment is a family drama set in one room on one afternoon, a play about a clan that have been thrust into trauma that is way beyond their remit. At one point in their history, the son Niall commits a violent, heinous crime and is whisked off, out of their lives and sent to prison, where he is put through the whole rehabilitation's system, coming out the other side, years later, to create a new life for himself in West Cork. But the play isn't about that. It’s about the effect this crime had on his mother and sisters. Set 15 years after these events it's a tight, tense, taught drama about one afternoon where Niall comes home for tea.
"It's a domestic situation with a huge elephant in the room" says Kinahan, Artistic Director of Tall Tales best known for penning Hue & Cry and last years Bog Boy.
“And the way they manage it is to tell white lies all of the time. They operate in a world of denial. Where they spin around and pretend that it all hasn't happened. That it is all OK. When it plainly isn't."
Moment is car crash theatre, a perfectly crafted play that explores the way we cope with trauma. It looks at how a family carries the guilt and the burden as much as the actual perpetrator while also looking at rehabilitation, about moving on from a dark history. Inspired by a number of high profile cases such as Wayne O'Donoghue and Patrick O'Dwyer, it deals with everyday themes by having her creations take us on a journey.
"I often explore big issues through characters,” says Kinahan." Through ordinary people that an audience can emphasise with or relate to. It's like you are sitting on a train and you know it's going to hit a wall. And at the end of the first act BANG, the whole thing implodes and the history of what happened is thrown up all over the tea. The second half is the fall out of that as they all spin around in the horror of that afternoon and that violent event."
Kinahan feels the critics dropped the ball when it came to Moment whose tale would have ended at the Project were it not for Culture Ireland providing financial aid to fly producers over from the United Kingdom to check it out. "Theatre, like anything else, has its fad and fashions" she says. "And there is a movement at the moment away from the well made play.
"We've opened up to more European influences, verbatim theatre, etc, and I welcome that. As an artist I lap it up. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. The well-made play is what we are good at. It's what we are famous for and there is a sense that we are running away from that."
Is the current youth movement, that is verbatim, that uses documentary form, that uses theatre as a metaphor in itself, replacing the more traditional, literary fare?
"Well structured, well made work, is always popular." counters David Horan, director and Artistic Director in his own right, of Bewley’s Cafe Theatre. "It's also really hard to do. We might be getting off on something because it is new or because it is current yet we need to recognise that what is in that current work is really finished." He believes companies like The Company (Who Is Fergus Kilpatrick) present work that is well written and thorough. "They present a thesis, they examine that thesis and they don't just give you an idea but evolve it so that it grows to mean way more than it did in the beginning."
He believes that Moment may have caught the imagination of British audiences because of their love of the debate play. "Plays that discuss social ideas. Societal ideas. While Moment is primarily about the dysfunction of coping with trauma there is a question in there about whether we really believe in rehabilitation. Do people who commit a crime deserve a second chance.”?
So what’s next for Kinehan after this seven week Irish tour? “As soon as Moment appeared on the Bush website I had an agent, I had a publisher and I had offers from New York, from Germany, from so many places I have lost track of them.”
She is currently toying with the idea of turning Moment into a movie as well as working on plays for The National and The Abbey. “It got a whole future and reached a much greater audience after we got the producers over from England” she concludes. “You have to do it all yourself. Even when you have the invitation, it’s still a hard old slog to get the money, the visas and the actors together. But it’s what you have to do if you want your art to survive.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Tuesday 12th April 2011 | Theatre
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