Pigeon | The Cube
Star Rating: 3/5
Pigeon | By Carpet Theatre and Mermaid Arts Centre | At The Cube
With Karl Quinn, Ruth Lehane and Paul Cirer
Masks by Paul Cirer
Reviewed by Caomhan Keane
It's hard to tell whether Pigeon, the new wordless mask piece devised by Carpet Theatre - with music from Jack Cawley and Steve Wickham of The Waterboys, is too long or too short. On the one hand it deals with the rising tensions and debts that surround a man (Karl Quinn) who has recently lost his job, without scrimping on the psychological effect that such a loss of position would have on him. On the other it takes care to show the minor annoyances that plague a man unfamiliar with his home environment during work hours to milk sadly familiar laughs from the audience. It makes neat observations, melding the symbolic with the silly, while never letting go of the seriousness of the situation. To curtail either would tip the scales and throw off the fine balance director Ciaran Taylor has struck, making the piece either farcical or preachy.
Yet there is too much going on with too little time devoted to exploring the ideas presented. It doesn't give us the space to do more than acknowledge the constructs before moving on to the next idea so that, while we are involved in the action taking place on stage, once the lights come up we're left without the emotional connection to make us feel for what we saw, rendering its effects fleeting.
They say that routine helps keep children feel safe. The same can be said of adults and the roles they play in the household. Having lost his position in work, the male character here has also lost his status at home. He trys to assert his masculinity performing tasks around the house but his failed efforts to redefine himself wrecks the head of his wife (Ruth Lehane) who's caught between maintianing her own sanity and plataueing his.
Memory haunts him as happier times are sparked in the mind by possesions found in the attic, curdeling into the imagined shame he has brought upon his clan by their new fangled poverty (proof of which he hides from them). As bills fly though the door, the house and home fall apart until his deceit tugs away at his mental fibre and he completly unspools. There is some fantastic imagery, most touchingly, a flashback to a lively homestead with a tender moment between father and son (Pau Cirer) which contrasts greatly with the stillness and emptyness now of the nest. The music hints at rising internal pressure, skipping over a multitude of genres (jazz, gypsy, accoustic, funk) but the link to the feelings and the reactions of the performers isn't crisp enough to be immediately obvious, and in the absence of words this leads to confusion.
Pigeon gives us a fresh take on how to explore the much mounted recession yet its lack of clarity is dissapointing given the multiplicity of expressions within Cirer's masks.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Tuesday 29th May 2012 | Theatre
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