Mesmerising monologues create filmic theatricality
This article is from 2008.
There are those who think Mark O'Rowe's style of writing does not constitute theatre at all. Certainly, his preference for interlinking monologues over conversational exchanges has more in common with storytelling than drama. Yet, the more his passages of urban poetry go on, the more his Dublin tales overlap and enrich each other and the more a vivid theatrical experience unfolds in our imaginations.
As we move from character to character in Terminus, it is as if the whole of Dublin – from suburban car park to down-at-heel pub to city centre street – is taking shape before us. The effect is almost filmic as O'Rowe's rhyming prose, delivered with consummate control by Andrea Irvine, Karl Shiels and Eileen Walsh in the playwright's own Abbey Theatre production, tells a metaphysical story of murder, suicide and accidental death – not to mention angels and demons – in a manner less distressing than it sounds.
To say such a gruesome play ends with an epiphany might sound unlikely, yet the unrepentant psychopath, the insensitive Samaritans volunteer and the young woman falling to her death from a crane manage to find resolution in their grizzly fate, adding a heartening sliver of hope to a mesmerising tale.
Traverse, 228 1404, until 24 Aug (not 11, 18), times vary, £16–£18 (£11–£12).