Monday, April 16, 2018

Quietly—Corrib Theatre—SE Portland

A Rage of Silence

     This drama is written by Owen McCafferty and directed by Gemma Whelan.  It is playing at the New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont St. (street parking only), through May 6th.  For more information, go to their site

     This seems like a familiar story throughout history and one that will continue ad nauisum, I’m afraid.  I wrote a piece on this subject of violence recently for a review and I believe it bears repeating, as circumstances are eerily familiar:
“Genocide has probably been around on this Earth, in one form or another, to wipe out and/or demean a race of people, since the beginning of Man.  Hitler and his boys were prime examples of that during the last century but they have had lots of imitators before and since then, e.g. the Crusades; our treatment of Native Americans and African-Americans; and continuous examples in the Middle-East, Africa, South America and Asia.  And the results of many of these efforts—cities reduced to rubble, death of many thousands of innocents, and resentment of other nations, as well as history.  What a prize!  As the folk song goes, “…when will they ever learn…?”
     And now we have the rift between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.  The land of lore, of fairy creatures and leprechauns, seems to have dissolved “…into thin air.”  And what will continue is a game of one-upmanship in which there are no victors.  But, if we can’t have a definitive answer, then perhaps, taking one step at a time toward each other, quietly, on a small scale, will bring a harmony of sorts.

     And so, we have a meeting of opposing sides in a pub in Ireland in 2009.  One man, Jimmy (Ted Rooney), has come to his favorite pub in Belfast for a pint…or three.  The bar is run by an immigrant from Poland, Robert (Murri Lazaroff-Babin), which has its own set of conflicts, and which, he thought, he had escaped by coming here.  Interestingly, they are watching a football match on TV, between two countries in which a definitive victor will emerge…were it all that simple in the political/religious/social arena.

     Jimmy is waiting to meet someone, Ian (Tim Blough), from the opposing side, here and relive a painful memory of in their pasts of about 25 years earlier.  Will it heal old wounds?  Will a peace be accomplished?  We’ll see.    But a catharsis of sorts, possibly a redemption, might happen, but only if truth can be ousted and fists lulled into a coma.  Only when the infantile behaviors, such as sword-rattling and name-calling (which seems popular now with world leaders) is quelled, can there even be a beginning to a lasting peace.  Can’t tell you more or else I’d be a spoiler.

     All three of the performers are very powerful.  The quiet rage of Blough is palpable; the uneasiness of Lazaroff-Babin is quite evident; and the inward pain of Jimmy’s anguish speaks volumes.  Pain and hatred of these sorts are buried deep in one’s psyche and not easily rooted out.  But, unless people choose to live in fear their whole lives, someone has to start somewhere to heal the scars, to bridge the great divide.  Both the author and director seem to understand the subject, if not able to solve it, at least address it, which is a step in the right direction.

     I recommend this play.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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