565+ was my first Dublin Theatre Festival show this year. It started life as part of Project Brand New‘s Bealtine project Generation in 2009. For me, that is an indication that Theatre Festival is becoming more open to untraditional types of theatre. It’s also a very good show!
I saw Una McKevitt’s last show Victor and Gord earlier this year and really enjoyed it. She really excels at making very personal, simple pieces of theatre that draw you in and give you a fascinating glimpse at someone’s else’s life. And when I say a “simple piece of theatre”, I mean that as a compliment! I know from experience how difficult that can be to get right. When I was devising theatre in college, the note that came up again and again was that we were trying to do too much. Always too many ideas and not enough clarity. Una McKevitt has a skill of making theatre about one thing, but making that one thing engaging and moving and beautiful.
I really enjoyed 565+. Of course, I am practically pre-programmed to like a play about how important and special theatre is! I liked the biographical details as well – it was like a potted history of life in Ireland in the last 30-40 years.
And I loved the set. It was bright and beautiful and the seating in the Cube (the downstairs space in the Project) was changed into “in the round”. (Is it still in the round when it’s only on three sides?) This really opened up the space and because then there was only three rows of seats on each side, even in the back row, you felt near the stage. It really drew me in to Marie’s world. I was in the Cube this evening for one of the Talking Theatre sessions and it was back to it’s usual set-up and I was just struck by how much of a transformation they achieved for the show.
As usual, I am so late writing about it that the show has already been and gone but hopefully it will be back again in the near future!