Unspoken – *****
Project Arts Centre, Dublin
The show Unspoken is a collaboration of hard work, great ideas and the ability to put this graft into development and create a show that is both inspired and thought-full.
Sometimes these two don’t really go together as the left brain’s analysis often dominates the right brains instinct. The show I saw on Saturday was both.
The writers of the show, Danny Forde and Aisling McCormick came up with was a wordless story full of meaning through dance and the audience was allowed to take from it the story that they had imagined.
At the start of the evening, I entered the Project in Temple Bar with about four minutes to spare. Niall Kelly, who is pictured below, was happily also there so we sat together. We didn’t know much about the show itself apart from knowing how much work had gone into its devising. So we sat back and just allowed events to unfold. The lights went out, the camera went off and we waited for the action.
A hard, African drum beat started and was present throughout. The four performers started a running, rhythmic dance in unison and we were interested immediately. The lack of words hit me immediately. I didn’t expect to see a contemporary dance piece when I first came in.
The guitar kept time with the other two instruments and eventually Sallay Garnett and Suzette Monds took up their duel roles as singers and dancers.
The thirty minute play shifted stories or scenes maybe every seven or eight minutes. My attention was held by Aisling’s presence the most so I created her story in my head:
To me, we were following her journey as a white woman into an African tribe where she was unaccepted at first, felt her mind and lines being crossed and torn by many different thoughts and directions. Then she learned her new family’s ways and traditions, got married to her love and ran again with him and the group as an accepted member.
Speaking to the cast after, this was not their intention at all…oh dear.
But that’s what I love about dance and music. There’s not one story to be told. The Zambian undercurrent of the music was derived and devised under Micheal’s influence. He came into the project and brought his heritage and dance knowledge.
The composition was wonderful as always from Danny, but anyone who knows him knows how talented he is at any musical project he undertakes and the performances were top notch as a result of his guitar heartbeat and the constantly altering tempo of his penmanship.
I sat through the first ten minutes of the show wondering when Sallay was going to sing. She has such a magical quality that she brings to all performances.
All in all, I really loved the show. I love dance at the worst of times but this was a fantastic piece. They all worked so well as a unit and seemed to be very invested in the project which is always lovely to see on stage.
Unspoken was a gem of a show that Seeds should be very proud of.
It’s an easy five star from me.
Music by Danny Forde
Choreography by Aisling McCormick
Set and Costume by Cait Corkery
Lighting Design by Zia Holly
Performed by Micheal Chanda, Aisling McCormick, Sallay Garnett, Suzette Monds, Danny Forde, Cote Calmet, Shane Kenrick
So there was a break of about an hour an a bit between Unspoken and Enjoy so myself and Niall went up and grabbed a cheeky two bottles of Cider as we had about an hour and a bit between shows. Sure what else could we do…
The cast and musicians of Unspoken came up and said hello and we got some snaps of the cast. They were lovely and we had a laugh.
I went into Enjoy in and enjoyable mood.
Enjoy by Toshiki Okada ****’
Project Arts Centre, Dublin
Act 1 of the three act 90 minute play Enjoy blitzed by with a dialogue driven script. In essence, it was in exact opposition to the story-telling mechanics of the previous piece. But both were wonderful in there own right. Enjoy just used far more words.
The scene portrayed three characters reciting their thought processes in a scene based in a cafe in Tokyo. They described their relationship to their work place and to each other in detail and also how they were feeling about them and why they were feeling like that.
The show required full concentration from the audience and full Alexander technique from the cast. Each spoke an amount of words in one sentence and from what I gathered, none had real names and somehow kept swapping characters mid scene. In the beginning I found it very hard to follow but it became far easier as the story progressed.
I’d imagine the script was quite daunting to say the least when the cast first read it.
In a blink, we reached Act 2 where more of the ensemble entered and furthered the story immensely. They all Brechtianly spoke out to us as they recounted their thoughts and made some serious eye contact with the audience. Why had I sat in the front row? Why had I had two drinks?
Eventually I was sucked into the piece and started following the story line which threaded its way into our world and out the other side. More characters entered and the director’s talent was clear to see. Each actor worked all worked extremely well with one another because the were allowed to do so.
Zoe Ní Riordáin, the director, had enabled all of her actors create their own personal stories and each had their own thought processes on stage. That was very clear. The Seeds program grants the cast a good amount of preparation time to delve deeper into the script work and rehearsal project. I think I heard a three month work period but I may be wrong.
They were allowed the space to create worlds individually which led to great ensemble work together when introduced to each other.
Act three saw all of the cast together again. A beautiful teddy bear monologue and synced dance piece of repetitive movement set on a tube saw each little story which had been introduced unfold and a small love story take shape in the Japanese world.
It finished with a beautiful silhouette of every character on stage in unison.
It’s a 4.5 star from me. I enjoyed the show a lot but 90 minutes of deciphering names and places and words left me a little uneasy coming out thinking ‘How much did I miss?’
I really enjoyed Ashley Xie, Erica Murray and Dylan Coburn Gray’s stories and Daryl McCormack told a magic story with his performance. All the cast which also included Emmet Byrne, John Doran, Breffni Holahan, Gerard O’Keefe and Catherine Russell made for a really great show.
It took me about two months to read Murakami’s 1Q84 between Australia and London and Enjoy really took me back to that. The whole cast and crew worked really hard staging this show and I loved the soft lighting design.
I guess to conclude, given that it’s been quite a wordy review in itself, the Seeds Programme in Rough Magic is alive and well. It is a two year course which, from what I saw, is producing fantastic pieces of art.
Congrats to both casts and crews and all involved in the production. I really enjoyed the evening.