In the warm, bright auditorium of the Project Arts Centre the packed audience chats loudly, blows air kisses, discusses speed dating, the festival, scans the packed crowd for who they might know and for a place where they might sit. Before them the high, darkened stage recedes like a black, gapping maw. A large section of grey floor is covered in what might be salt or snow, creating a sense of harshness and winter. A solitary, curved microphone stand is placed out front and to the side a small, unassuming woman stands alone, rocking gently, seeming almost insignificant in the vast depths surrounding her. For the most part the audience seems oblivious to the woman in the grey suit and gold shoes, but her eyes miss nothing.
Presently, as if following some collective instinct, the audience descends into attentive silence. House keeping instructions are finally issued through the speakers and the diminutive woman kneels to remove her golden shoes. Barefoot, she walks in an arch towards the microphone, leaving footprints in her wake, and begins. To speak. To howl. To roar.
Adapted and performed by Olwen Fouéré from the last section of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, riverrun is a child of its famous father but unique to itself. Retaining the novel's sense of humor and humanity and its complex use of language, Fouéré’s riverrun transcends being a faithful rendition of Joyce’s illusive masterpiece. Here language and rhythm are channeled by Fouéré in a powerhouse performance to create wondrous connections, crafting whimsical images through sound and sight. Delivered with the force of a powerful mantra or incantation, Fouéré summons dark, primordial energies from deep within and unleashes them upon the world.
Casting spells with her words and rhythms, Fouéré’s body undulates like waves, her face transforms taking many guises, as utterances rage and swim against the droning and wind emanating from the speakers. As riverrun deepens, Fouéré’s raw power issues forth like an irresistible flood, her presence and potency filling everywhere to bursting, sweeping everyone along in its wake.
Like its inspiration, riverrun is less to be understood than it is to be experienced. And the experience is one of raw, unrelenting power. riverrun belongs to the tradition of theatre as ritual, as a way for us to gather in a space to evoke heaven and hell and to share the mysteries of our common humanity. And Fouéré is its undeniable high, shamanic priestess, channeling gods and the elements with a wild fury that rages like a force of nature sweeping all in its path.
riverrun runs at The Project Arts Centre until October 6th.
Doors open at 9.30 p.m.
Admission is €20.00 - €25.00
For more information check the following link: http://projectartscentre.ie