Sunday, March 27, 2011

Djupid (The Deep)

Campania Tavern, showing at various locations around the state
6pm Sunday 27th March
10 Days on the Island

It's a dark pub, a simple, wooden elongated room and a minimal set, but the whole audience is with Liam Brennan as he lives the final moments of a doomed fisherman swimming in the freezing, hopeless ocean. We have the privilege of listening in on his last words, as, never more alone, he says what he needs to say before it's time for him to leave us for The Deep.

It's a stunning forty minute monologue - we learn about the fisherman's day, his simple, uneventful morning, his crewmates, his hopes and desires, made alive in a tremendously energetic Scottish patois. We gradually become aware that something isn't quite right; it emerges violently as his story reaches at the sinking of the ship, his desperate efforts to stay afloat, and then the loss – loss of his friends, and loss of the opportunities and relationships that seemed so full of hope and life at the beginning of his narrative.

This is a remarkable performance, superbly paced and gut-wrenchingly moving, the kind that audiences should be seeking out in Forth, Wynyard and the other regional venues to which the production is touring. Brennan is desperately real as the shaky, almost hyperactive storyteller, strongly supported by director Graeme Maley's fine translation from the original Icelandic script of Jon Attli Jonasson.

Only at one point does this performance seem to wander slightly, as the fisherman ponders, towards the end, how he would spend a final day, were it given him - a flaw in the script highlighted only by how seamless the rest of this production is. But the lag is brief and we are quickly recaptured by his slow, inevitable journey. The fisherman is still swimming, but we know he has already been claimed, and it is only a matter of time. Soon, as he repeats at the beginning, and the end of the monologue. Soon.

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