Skip to main content

First Love

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
4 stars
A man steps out from the audience and onto a stage that remains bare 
other than a stool that sits in the far corner while a solitary shaft 
of light brightens the stage's centre. As the reflective piano music 
that's been playing fades out, the man, dressed in buttoned-up charity 
shop suit and a hoodie underneath, proceeds to tell his story. Or 
rather, in the Cork-based Gare St Lazare Players latest rendering of 
Samuel Beckett's prose, one of many stories. Because there's a real 
sense of continuum in the company's approach that becomes increasingly 
clear with their every visit.

Much of this down to the solo performances by Conor Lovett as directed 
by Judy Hegarty Lovett in a spare and austere fashion. Both suggest 
that what's being said is just the latest episode in a life of incident 
and colour. Here, Lovett takes a novella penned by Beckett in 1948 but 
not published until 1971 and lifts it off the page with a dry sense of 
understatement that would give that other great Irish comic orator Dave 
Allen a run for his money.

Over eighty minutes, Lovett explains, or rather, confesses how a visit 
to his father's grave and an interrupted night's sleep on a park bench 
results in his moving into a two-room flat with a prostitute. As he 
recounts every awkward intimacy while acting out the niceties of 
courtship by rote, Lovett captures the real essence of flying blind 
into a partnership that's as dysfunctional but as necessary as any of 
Beckett's other co-dependents. When Lovett's narrator eventually walks 
away, his parting line may be full of loss, but there's hope too behind 
every word.

The Herald, May 28th 2013

ends

  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Rob Drummond – The Mack

Rob Drummond was at home in England when he looked at the news feed on his phone, and saw a post about the fire at Glasgow School of Art. It was June 2018, and the writer and performer behind such hits as Grain in the Blood, Bullet Catch and Our Fathers initially presumed the post was to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 blaze in GSA’s Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a major restoration after much of it was destroyed.
As it turned out, the news was far worse, as reports of a second fire were beamed across the world. As someone who had taken Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic construction for granted while living in Glasgow, Drummond was as stunned as anyone else with even a passing relationship with the Mack.
While emotions continue to run high in response to the disaster, Drummond channelled his thoughts on all this into what he does best. The result is The Mack, a new play that forms part of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre season in Glasgow prior …