The Burning House: An Elegy for Patrick Pearse | Dublin Dance Festival
Star Rating: 4/5
The Burning House: An Elegy for Patrick Pearse
Alan Gilsenan and Company
The Lir Academy
Patrick Pearse has long been forgotten in the Ireland of today, partly through embarrassment after he was adopted as a heroic figure by Republicans in the North during the Troubles. But documentary maker and theatre director Alan Gilsenan believes the man's art and ideas should be remembered.
His piece at this year's Dublin Dance Festival, The Burning House: An Elegy for Patrick Pearse, is his way of getting us to look at Pearse in a new light. This piece of visual theatre, which showed at the Lir Theatre - suitably located on Dublin's Pearse St, holds no narrative and ignores any exploration of Pearse's political beliefs. Instead it concentrates on his art and his potential impact on an international stage. What would have happened if Pearse hadn't been executed at the age of 36 after the 1916 Rising? Gilsenan tries to put that into some context, by inviting African performers, Dada Masilo and Koffi Kókó to collaborate with traditional Irish dancer, John Scott.
Musical director and renowned fiddler, Martin Hayes, sets the tone of this Jazz-like union with the help of Iarla Ó Lionáird and Caoímhín Ó Raghallaigh. The result is a haunting tribute to Pearse, highlighting his passion, determination and devout Catholic belief, while also looking at the inner turmoil and anguish which seemed to be present in his own life. It is also one of the more challenging works I've come across at this year's Dublin Dance Festival, leaving me confused and perplexed at times, as I tried to join the dots between what I knew of Pearse and what was being performed. But this is an abstract piece, and perhaps having a historical figure at its centre can sometimes muddy the waters between what we know and what the piece is intended to make us feel.
There were some moving and tender moments, charged with mournful emotion, which then made way for more aggressively intense phases, notably the graceful yet frenetic movements of Dada Masilo. Martin Hayes' music also provided the perfect backdrop, bringing us to an Irish wake one moment and then a céilí the next. It is a piece which may not be for everyone, while some will perhaps hate it, but Gilsenan achieves what he set out to do - he makes Pearse a much more fascinating character than the one we have come to know in recent times.
By Declan Ferry
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Monday 21st May 2012 | Theatre
No comments have been posted for this article yet. Be the first!
Log in to leave a comment
The opinions expressed here are those of the viewer and do not reflect those of Entertainment.ie. Entertainment.ie accepts no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for their accuracy of content. Please contact us to report abusive content