Married to the Sea
Poetic writing tells a coastal tale of loss and decline
This article is from 2008.
A sparse stage and a small cast of three belie the detail in this lyrical tale from the fledgling Dragonfly Theatre. Set against the decline of Galway’s old Claddagh seafaring community, writer/director Shona McCarthy’s first full-length play could have been morbid, but is in fact warm, funny and beautifully evoked.
Eight-year-old Jo, nicely played by Siobhan Donnellan with only a slightly irritating child accent, narrates the story. She’s happy when she’s with her dad learning the ways of the sea, but too young to understand the meltdown taking place in her parents’ relationship and the consequences of the events she’s witnessing. Her innocent interpretations bring humour and spirit to a story that’s ultimately about the devastation of a family and a way of life.
Deft seafaring metaphors abound, tying up the characters and their lives with the traits of the sea. Poetic imagery evokes ‘big, black belly- bursting clouds’, and there’s a masterful performance from Fiachra O’Dubhghaill who, with Rory Bremner-style genius, takes control of eight characters, including Jo’s father and wily neighbour, Teresa Naughton.
Featuring a wake, a priest, drink, philandering, dark superstition and tragedy, this is an Irish story with few surprises. It won’t knock you sideways, but you should enjoy the ride.
Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 18), 1.30pm, £10–£12 (£9–£11).