Everything Can Be Dismantled review: a rehearsal for change amid the housing crisis

Dublin Fringe Festival: During yet another housing flashpoint, a new collective asks us to imagine alternatives by trying out alternative structures

Everything Can Be Dismantled: One humble utopian vision emerged: “It’s great,” somebody said of the improvised shelter. “Rent-free.”

Everything Can Be Dismantled
The Lir
One risk of political theatre, even that as dreamy as the new Discotheque Collective, is that it may be overtaken by events. Just as this drifting performance of utopian fables and wishful alternatives premiered – loosely inspired by an Italo Calvino novel, Brechtian techniques, postdramatic game play and the housing crisis – O'Connell Street had been brought to a standstill by a protest decrying Tuesday's city-centre eviction. What speaks louder: actions or words?

This show, though, is conceived more as a rehearsal for change. Eccentric figures emerge from what looks like a holdout Occupy tent, engaging the audience in overwrought vignettes about cramped living conditions, frenzied landlords, and imagined alternatives. Eventually we are encouraged to to rebuild their set, literally creating a space for conversation.

It’s easy to feel cynical, patronised or frustrated by its piecemeal progress. But testing alternative structures is clearly director Joan Somers Donnelly’s point. Our audience conversation was elevated by three women with keen insights and personal experience of the crisis, and slackened by over-confident men with little sign of either. That may make the housing crisis seems no more tractable, but one humble utopian vision emerged: “It’s great,” somebody said of the improvised shelter. “Rent-free.”

Runs until Sunday, September 16th