This week DU Players are staging “A Modest Proposal: The tale of Trevelyan’s Corn” every night at 7pm in Players Theatre. The play follows two seemingly separate, yet intertwined tales. One, is a typical, starving Irish family during the Great Hunger, the other the Magistrate, who owned the land, and his son.
In this winding tale we see how the lure of money, love, the demon drink or a father’s approval can cause even the most well-intentioned person to commit heinous deeds in the most amusing way possible. I was crying with laughter from the second Cumhall and his drunken son first stumbled in on Mamó and his unnamed wife, right up until they met their maker, considering the circumstances though it seemed wrong to laugh.
The true heroes of this production must be its director, who was also its author, Harry Hennessy, as well as the actors; it takes incredible direction to take such controversial and hazardous material and make it an enjoyable theatrical experience. If the material was portrayed in any other way I feel it may not have been so well received.
Anyone I spoke to truly commended the actors asserting that they did a fantastic job of conveying the humour and satire of the piece. They found that the incredible exaggeration and hilarity of the evils helped highlight the more poignant and reserved moments in the narrative.
This play truly made me laugh. It was sharp, with an incredibly dark wit and completely doused in satire. Through the overstated and overwhelming horror of the fantastically played British characters we can truly see the plight of the Irish.
While I’m not sure whether it was completely historically accurate, anyone who’s still sensitive about the British occupation will love this play. One thing I must mention, this show is not for the faint of heart. It is laced in dirty humour, murder, cannibalism and tastefully interspersed with traditional Irish songs that we all know and love, just to spice up all the death and starvation!
All in all, it was an enjoyable evening which I would highly recommend to anyone with a fascination in history and a good sense of humour.