by Owen McCafferty.
Traverse Theatre (Traverse 2) 10 Cambridge Street EH1 2ED To 25 August 2013.
11am 18, 24 Aug.
1.30pm 20, 25 Aug.
4pm 21 Aug.
6.30pm 22 Aug.
9pm 17, 23 Aug.
Runs 1hr 15min No interval.
TICKETS: 0131 228 1404.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 11 August.
Splendidly varied performances in an immaculate production of Owen McCafferty’s thoughtful and gripping play.
‘Quiet’ isn’t a word many would use for Northern Ireland’s recent past, nor for the drums and marches that have sounded there much longer. But the reconciliation that needs to follow the decades of the Troubles does struggle to find a voice.
The attempt at some sort of sealing-off (‘closure’ the experts call it) of mental wounds which playwright Owen McCafferty shows in his first play for Dublin’s Abbey Theatre (it opened on the Peacock stage in December 2012) rumbles like a stationary plane, engines liable to roar into life at the press of a button.
It’s set in 2010, but looks back 36 years, when Jimmy and Ian were both 16, in a World Cup year. A terrorist act then against men down the pub watching a match is revisited, McCafferty deftly contrasting seventies Belfast with now.
Catholic Jimmy’s suppressed fury and intense demands to reconstruct the incident, marking-out how the pub looked then, contrast the weary acceptance of the Protestant who was treated as a political and sexual hero for an act that’s clearly affected him since.
But, Jimmy might say, not the same way his family was bereft. The complexity of seeking a resolution for harm that’s irreversible lies behind the periods of quiet, and silence, as these two try to resolve emotional conflicts. Declan Conlon is watchful, occasionally venturing into explanation, more often waiting to see how Jimmy’s taking the situation.
While Patrick O’Kane seethes with fury he cannot repress yet tries not to express. Like silent combatants sizing up the situation, they make every moment gripping. Thoughts and furies seem transparent through the silences, every new section of speech a potential fuse to violence.
It’s as if author, director Jimmy Fay and the actors are part of one consciousness, which includes us all. Robert Zawadzki is contrastingly tolerant as the Polish barman free of this past, but as an immigrant from a Catholic country faces a hostility gathering outside as unresolved hatred seeks a new outlet.
In Quietly this chapter of conflict finds a voice as eloquent as was Sean O’Casey a hundred years ago.
Robert: Robert Zawadzki.
Jimmy: Patrick O’Kane.
Ian: Declan Conlon.
Director: Jimmy Fay.
Designer: Alyson Cummins.
Lighting: Sinéad McKenna.
Sound: Philip Stewart.
AV Design: Neil O’Driscoll.
Hair/Make-up: Val Sherlock.