Record | The Half Moon Theatre
Star Rating: 4/5
The Half moon Theatre, Cork
Written, directed, composed by Dylan Tighe
With Aoife Duffin, Daniel Reardon, Conor Murray
Dylan Tighe is not averse to exposing himself on stage. From the ring leader in Pan Pan's stage version of Lars Von Trier's The Idiots, to pissing on the Irish flag during Mise Eire, jerking off in Amnon and Tamar - his first show for his own company The Stomach Box, to his true life travelogue Journey to the End of the Night, he has garnered a reputation for peeling of his clothes - and peeling back his psyche, to show us what lies beneath, all in the name of self-expression. Now in Record, his staging of his identically titled debut album, Tighe shows us the effect such an immersion can have on a person's psyche, in a truly naked act of artistry.
Diagnosed as bi-polar in 2004, he sought the help of the medical community after one particular breakdown precluded him from taking on every actor's dream role, the depressive Hamlet. But their predilection to prescribe the pain away left him listless and catotonc, a state way worse than before.
Here he lays bare the 'facts' contained within his medical paper trail, the diagnosis and the drugs prescribed, with an emotional remove from the words he speaks, choosing instead to express his frustration and despair through the 'shoegaze' numbers he brings to life with drummer Conor Murray.
Laying interviews with medical professionals over a pastiche of his time in care, with Daniel Reardon brilliantly playing a Comfortably Numb spouting psychiatrist and Aoife Duffin as his curiously coquettish nurse, he drowns us in dosages, listing off the drugs he took and the side effects he suffered, holding up the battered remnants of a brain gifted to chemistry.
He spikes his point with cheek, numbing his disdain for the medical profession with wry asides and subtle looks of astoundment, (is this really the best way we have found to improve mental health?) clouded in his shy, boyish stare, both hopeless and desperate.
It's brave work, which never seems gratuitous or self involved. Important theatre, which challenges the status quo, providing a counter, another way of living and coping with mental health that doesn't involve a shot in the ass, a pill in the gob or a psychiatrist's couch. It may well start a conversation or a train of thought, which could save a persons mind, if not their life.
But Tighe chooses not to make his point explicit, which can make the piece seem deliberately confused. While this gives an effective snapshot of a depressive person's state of mind, with numerous options presented as 'the' cure, the multiple interpretations to the multitude of ideas expressed here, can lead the audience to jump to dangerous conclusions (all the clinically depressed need is a hug).
Yet this light touch countered with the heaving honesty of the piece is also a nice metaphor for Tighe's manic state of mind, leaving an audience more informed yet also more confused then they were when they came in.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Tuesday 3rd July 2012 | Theatre
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