Writer: Eamon Morrissey
Director: Gerard Stembridge
Reviewer: Alan Foran
It is a wonderful moment when a piece of writing, read thousands of miles away, instantly transports you from one time and place to another. This is what happens in Eamon Morrissey’s finely written play, or rather biography of sorts. The place writer Maeve Brennan’s article is located in, is the same house that Morrissey lived in growing up in Dublin. The small house is the initial connection, or perhaps fascination, he has with The New Yorker magazine writer, and when the Dublin actor is working on Broadway in the 60s, he finally meets the woman who describes their house with such immediacy.
Coming across as both a potted history of Brennan herself, using biography and extracts from her short stories and articles as The Long Winded Lady, there is also a personal story being told; that of writer and performer Eamon Morrissey, his family and events in the same house that Brennan’s family lived in before moving to the US. This personal slant is evident as the evening moves on, and becomes more touching. In fact, Morrissey is for the main part being himself, and only acting when displaying aspects of Brennan’s work that reflect the fictional characters or articles.
In this one handed show, we have a simple set by Niamh Lunny: a wooden bench, a small table, and the interesting skyscraper design that appears to be made out of words, which is of course fitting, as words and literature are the focus of the evening. The lighting works well, although the transitions between the different aspects of literature and monologue could have been more distinct.
But less is more in this production, and what we have is another look at a terrific writer who could conjure up images with words wonderfully. Morrissey accomplishes this himself through his own personal connection with New York, evoking a stronger connection to the subject as well.
This is heartfelt and personal, with great writing on display from all involved and is a pleasant, interesting evening that should wet the appetite for people to find out more about Maeve Brennan’s writing.
Runs until 12 October, 2013