Once And For All We’re Going to Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen
If you’ve been sapped of all energy just reading its title, then the above play (can’t bring myself to retype) could have been the end of you altogether. Depending on your take, it was either an enervating if voyeuristic insight into what it is to be a 21st century teenager, or a draining reminder of the distance between you and them.
The them in question were 13 Flemish teenagers, who exploded onto the Project Arts Centre stage in a carefully choreographed chaos. The work, layered, careful, telling was a clever examination of adolescence, though in this case an impossibly good-looking and gifted adolescence that did not quite resonate with my own recollections. Which only slightly detracted from an otherwise thought-provoking piece of theatre. If you’ve missed it, though, too late – the show only ran over the weekend, presumably because all the teens had to get back for school.
Also in the Dublin Theatre Festival and one you can still catch is another exploration of coming-of-age, though this time as a gay cross-dresser from Ballinrobe, County Mayo. A Woman in Progress is the story of Panti, Ireland’s beloved first lady of drag, and how she was born from one Rory O’Neill, a red-haired young boy who grew up in 1970s rural Ireland. There are smart observations on Irish life and some hilarious anecdotes of papal visits and glamorous aunties, but Panti’s show skips over so much of Rory’s development from country boy to drag queen that it’s hard not to feel a little short-changed, while her excoriation of the “new gay” culture doesn’t always hang together. Never mind: her Brenda Power impression is worth the ticket price alone.