Remember to Breathe
A father / daughter relationship is explored in a well directed play about surviving
This article is from 2016.
The Irish protagonist, Maeve, is an emigrant living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Caught outside during the aftershock of an earthquake she takes shelter in a swimming pool and signs up for adult lessons. Told in the first person, the play looks back at her journeys between Ireland and the world and how they affected her close relationship with her father.
Maeve's stories are interspersed with her swimming lessons, led by upbeat Kiwi Doreen and her incredibly piercing whistle. Superficially Doreen provides some light comic relief and an upbeat perspective but on closer examination her statements reveal philosophical depths.
In Remember To Breathe swimming is styled as a metaphor, trying to stay afloat in life and in the water, in a play that tackles deep questions about survival. The lessons also allow for some clever direction touches as Maeve crawls through the water and peers up at the surface from the bottom of the pool.
The two other characters, Doreen and her father, are very much supporting roles. Liz Fitzgibbon gives a great performance as Maeve, authentic in both grief and anger. However, for a character given the lion's share of the script we learn little about her beyond her relationship with her father, making it hard for a true connection to surface.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug, 5.30pm, £12 (£8).