Shattered silence

Dan Bergin is impressed by the sensory hit that is Wedding Day at the Cro-magnons

Dan Bergin is impressed by the sensory hit that is Wedding Day at the Cro-magnons

Sinead Wallace uses a single source for her front light and I don’t like it. There. I said it — you’ll just have to deal with it. Funnily enough, “dealing
with it” is just what Bedrock Producions’
Wedding Day at the Cro-magnons’ is all about.

Bedrock’s production of Wajdi Mouawad’s innovative script is commendable
in its execution. Director Jason Byrne has created a wonderfully complete piece. For those of you who didn’t make it far as the elusive Smock Alley to catch this show, shame on you. It is about ten seconds from “The Turks Head” pub on Parliament Street. For those of you who did, I’m sure I have no need to remind you that the show centers on a family holed up in an apartment in war-torn Lebanon, preparing for the arrival of a mysterious suitor for their daughter. The daughter frequently falls asleep without warning, the supposedly young son is taller than everyone else on stage, and the suitor is actually an invention of the family. ‘What is this madness?” the ignorant among you demand.

“It’s marvelous,” is my reply. Living in a place where hardship is relentless, the family has devised a plot to keep themselves both entertained and distracted. They have invented a wedding.

The design of this show was very impressive.

I would be remiss not to mention the astounding and relentless sound design by Vincent Doherty & Ivan Birthistle, and I do mean relentless. Constant rain, deep rumbles of distant explosions and gun shots coupled with a superb lighting design really give the audience insight into how maddening
the Cro-Magnon’s situation really is. The power in the apartment goes time and again, plunging the tiny theatre into blackened
chaos and fear.

The one moment of pure silence in the show hits you like a kick in the chest as you realize for the first time, that these people never have any peace, and may never get it. This restlessness and angst- ridden situation
is wonderfully communicated by the performers on stage.

On a side note I have to say that I do not like the current lighting trend, exemplified in this production, towards the blue end of the light spectrum. More and more theatre shows are using fluorescent lights as part of their design and its getting out of hand. It’s too much sickly whitish-blue. No longer edgy, it has become unpleasant. Stop it.
Back on topic — the performances by Gerard Kelly as the son, and Louise Lewis as Souhayla (the neighbour) are remarkably relaxed and in many cases feel so spontaneous
that one could almost be convinced they were speaking for the first time. Phil Kingston, who played the part of the father, brought an air of detachment to his role, which added an almost sinister air to his character.
However, Caitríona Ni Mhurchú, who played the part of the mother, seemed to be doing something different. Her performance
felt slightly forced and at odds with what others on stage were offering.

Overall, Wedding Day at the Cro-Magnons’ was an entertaining two hours which I’m glad I won’t get back, provided I can keep the memories. Keep an eye out for Bedrock’s
next production if you’d like to make a similar exchange.