Unwoman Part III review: a technical triumph but a tough, frustrating watch

Dublin Fringe Festival: Olwen Fouéré’s Unwoman is stuck in perpetual parturition

Unwoman Part III: Olwen Fouéré in Maeve Stone and the Rabble’s live installation. Photograph: Patricio Cassinoni

Unwoman Part III: Olwen Fouéré in Maeve Stone and the Rabble’s live installation. Photograph: Patricio Cassinoni

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UNWOMAN PART III

Samuel Beckett Theatre
★★★
In this live installation from Maeve Stone and the Rabble, Unwoman (the rooted, earthy Olwen Fouéré) gives birth to stones. Tethered by a thick umbilical rope, she is condemned to labour over and over, a perpetual parturition. Here, birth and death are one and the same. The fruits of Woman’s womb may be inanimate lumps of rock, but even in her grief Unwoman can create something from them.

Kate Davis’s set creates a caul-like space filled with tiny tombs upon which Emma Valente’s lights seethe and suffuse as the atmosphere demands it. Stone’s sound design and composition juxtapose natural and mechanical sound to great effect. It is a technical triumph but a tough, frustrating watch.

The near-wordless performance ends with a prayer-poem, which finally exposes the aims of this theatrical conception of the most private of personal rituals: “uncovering silences and discovering defiances”. It lends the Australian coproduction a particularly Irish flavour, to be explored further in the forthcoming parts II and I.

Runs until Sunday, September 16th

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