Geraldine Carey was enthralled by Drama and Theatre Studies students’ production, Foregrounds, as part of their final year project.
I had no idea I was in for such a treat when I went to this year’s Drama and Theatre Studies’ Final Year Project performances. There was almost a full house – clearly, word had spread about this year’s students’ creativity and high level of professionalism. It was not amateur night. Each of the three groups had put enormous effort into the concepts, writing, directing and performing of their plays. Months of work had come down to this: just 20 minutes carefully planned to showcase what they have learned in three years.
The first play was “Blue Sky Thinking”, by Sarah England, Margaret Perry, Laura Murphy, Micheál Phelan and Tamara Tooher. This, in my opinion, was very cleverly done. The costumes were simple and showed the uniformity of the characters in their thinking. The script was fast and witty; a parody of many companies today with their spiels on productivity and their attempts to motivate each other using dreams, goals and deadlines. The manner of the actors provided comic relief to what turned out to be a rather sinister plot. The group’s take on the mental health stigma in modern society was extremely accurate and I applaud their courage to tackle such a “taboo” subject. It certainly made you think and their message was driven home when they spoke their lines as one.
The second play was “Harrison”, depicting a society where everyone should be at the same skill level. Being superior in any way was frowned upon and so, people were given handicaps to bring them back down to mediocrity. This group is perhaps known for its strong acting skills as it contains: Charlie Kelly, Jack Holland, Ethan Dillon, Michelle Fox, Hilary Bowen-Walsh and Ellen Buckley. Outstanding performances given by each – in particular, I liked when they were portraying children. Another dark sort of plot was lifted by their comedic skills. It was written well and rhyme was put to good use. Lighting and costumes were, again, kept simple, emphasising the level playing field and the equality. A stand-out moment, for me, was when the characters told the story of the infamous Harrison using a model. This was synchronised perfectly and I found myself wondering how long it took them to achieve this. Their concept was not quite as strong as the first play and I would have liked to see more than 20 minutes of it, to get into it properly. Top marks for originality.
The final play was “Vassiliva” by Katie O’Brien, Jade Reynolds, Laura Pauwels, Ellie Bailey and Helena Reilly. An enchanting story based on a Russian fairytale, it depicts the life of an orphaned girl – a Cinderella type figure – who turns to the magical Baba Yaga to resurrect her dead mother. This, for me, was the stand-out play of the night and Jade Reynolds, in particular, shone as the evil Baba Yaga. She was reminiscent of Bette Midler’s Winifred Sanderson in “Hocus Pocus” and her demon slaves were amusing like the hyenas of “The Lion King”. The energy between the cast members was palpable and you could tell that the audience members enjoyed this short piece.
Commendations to all involved, you should be very proud of yourselves. All your work has paid off and you can finally relax!