Sink review: A play that asks us to dig deep

Dublin Fringe Festival: Inspecting an uncannily familiar site, an archeologist finds herself assailed by uncertain memories and inherited traumas

Sink: dense with detail, the audience is asked to find what’s buried underneath. Photograph: Dean Brannagan

Sink: dense with detail, the audience is asked to find what’s buried underneath. Photograph: Dean Brannagan

 

SINK

Boys’ School, Smock Alley Theatre
★★★☆☆
Early in John O’Donovan’s evocative monologue for One Duck Theatre, a young archaeologist at the site of a recently discovered bog body wonders, “Is this the job: Trying to find shape out of messy things?” That is the production’s challenge for both Ciara (Rachel Feeney), narrating on a plinth of earth, and her audience, asked to dig deep into a complicated, layered site, with minimal assistance, to find what’s buried beneath.

Troubled by uncertain memories, a judder of past and present, in a place she finds uncannily familiar, Ciara’s voice snaps routinely into another: a staccato stream of consciousness belonging to recovering alcoholic Bríd. The assured Feeney distinguishes them admirably, in a story dense with detail, but director Thomas Martin’s staging, the spectral design, and another disorientating shift in address are reluctant to let the mist of their connection lift. That obscures a more fascinating underlying riddle, though. “It’s not my pain,” we hear repeated, “it was passed to me.” Can inherited traumas be appeased by a sacrifice, the play wonders, or is history always waiting to drag us down?

Runs as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival until Sunday, September 15th