Solas Nua, the DC- based Irish arts group, has worked for years to highlight modern Irish art and culture. This organization is committed to presenting and producing engaging Irish art to audiences in the USA. ‘Silent’ from Ireland’s Fishamble: The New Play Company is no exception. This piece of theatre, written and performed by Pat Kinevane, is gorgeously compelling and sincere. Kinewane and Fishamble won an Olivier Award for this production in 2016.
Kinevane is an extremely engaging performer who lures the audience in with his quirkiness and then lays some heavy reality on them.
The character that Kinewane creates, McGoldrig, is a man processing his trauma through the lens of silent film star Rudolph Valentino. He once had everything and now is homeless but despite it all retains his romanticism and charisma. He is also still quite light on his feet. McGoldrig has been through a lot and readily admits that he is no angel. He doesn’t want the audience’s sympathy, he just wants a little compassion and kindness. The audience can’t help but fall in love with his charm and whimsy.
Kinevane is an extremely engaging performer who lures the audience in with his quirkiness and then lays some heavy reality on them. There is a consistent push and pull between him and the audience that leaves the audience desperate for more. His physical and vocal agility is astounding and a masterclass in solo performance. McGoldrig is an extremely performative character which allows Kinevane to show off his ability to transform into characters, through McGoldrig’s eyes. His vocal prowess and flexibility is demonstrated through these characters as well but also through his own ever-changing emotional state.
Jim Culleton, Artistic Director of Fishamble, directed this piece. He and Kinevane worked together to create the world on the stage. The use of the space and the lighting design highlighted McGoldrig’s strength and weakness. It was a physical representation of the light and dark within this character. The stark contrast and seamless transitions helped reveal the story to the audience.
This production also featured costume design by Catherine Condell and music by Denis Clohessy.
It says something of an audience to walk out of a one-person show about a homeless individual on to H St. NE and immediately be asked by someone outside for help getting something to eat. ‘Silent’ reminds us that we are all people in need of a little love and compassion. Maybe, the audience left and felt more compelled to help. Maybe that little change lasts or grows.
“Silent” is a special treat for American audiences. As it is March and St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner, explore some heartbreakingly beautiful Irish art.
Advisory: adult language, talk of suicide.
“Silent” at Solas Nua runs through March 24. For tickets and more information click here.