HAVE I NO MOUTH?
devised by Feidlim Cannon and Gary Keegan.
Traverse Theatre (Traverse 2) 10 Cambridge Street EH1 2ED To 25 August 2013.
11am 21 Aug.
1.30pm 22 Aug.
4pm 23 Aug.
6pm 18, 24 Aug.
9pm 20 Aug.
9.15pm 25 Aug.
Runs 1hr 10min No interval.
TICKETS: 0131 228 1404.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 11 August.
Grief unmediated by art.
From Ireland with compassion? Both the Abbey Theatre’s Quietly and this piece from Dublin-based Brokentalkers occupy Traverse 2 Festival slots with stories of coming to terms with grief, while upstairs, in Traverse 1, Omphile Moluisi’s Cadre takes a different tack on a similar track.
But Cadre and Quietly are about societies and their response to violence. Have I No Mouth (not presented as a question) considers private bereavement. A baby brother dies; so does a father, 12 years ago, in an avoidable death.
It was also in the family of Brokentalkers’ co-devisor Feidlim Cannon, and what’s presented here is somewhere between a performance, demonstration, therapeutic guide and opportunity to tell others about the process and reactions.
But is everything as they say? Did these things happen? How much is Feidlim editing the process? Is his mother part of it – Ann Cannon seems only to sit and agree with Feidlim? And what about Eric Keller’s psychotherapist? Is it part of his treatment to persuade people to blow their anger into balloons (everyone is provided with one for this purpose)?
Possibly. Whether it’s also part of his professional role to bandage his head and engage in physical representations of the battle over Feidlim’s father’s death is more doubtful. Is Keller a psychotherapist? Or an actor playing a psychotherapist? Or a psychotherapist acting?
Theatre guru Peter Brook saijd theatre exists where someone walks across an empty space and someone else watches them, so this must be counted as theatre. But Brook never said people had to watch someone walking, or talking, for over an hour. And this piece seems to indulge the performers rather than enlighten the spectators.
In Quietly a situation is imagined by a playwright and given reality by actors. Omphile Molusi’s Cadre transmutes family events into a wider perspective.
Here reality is assumed to be interesting by itself. A final flurry of balloons introduces an alien theatricality. It might want to represent some eventual release, but doesn’t relate to the psychological process described. Mouth has its audience, doubtless, but whether they’re to be found in a theatre is more doubtful.
Cast: Ann Cannon, Feidlim Cannon, Eric Keller.
Directors: Feidlim Cannon, Eric Keller.