Dublin Fringe Festival: LIPPY

Dead Centre's Lippy at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013- photo by Jason Booher

Dead Centre's Lippy at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013- photo by Jason Booher

In our search for meaning in the world, theatre can deliver truth divinely from the unknown. But when it approaches the boarded-up dwelling of four Kildare women who entered a suicide pact thirteen years ago, the art form becomes compromised. It can’t find sense in the tragedy, and that releases something extraordinary.

The central conceit of Dead Centre’s new production is lip-reading. “Context is everything,” says actor and interpreter Daniel Reardon. He’s being interviewed by co-director, Bush Moukarzel, in a post-show discussion of a show we never see (a very literal use of the “postdramatic”). The scene spells out the ethical implications of putting words into someone’s mouth. Reflexively, it also snaps the pen of the dramatist, whose job it is to do just that.

Having thrown away its devices to interpret these meaningless sacrifices into something rational, the performance moves darkly into the Leixlip home. We reach out to deduce something from the performers’ careful movements and occasional snatches of speech but they remain elusive. But this is how the performance respects the dignity of these women who had chosen death, and who had destroyed any evidence to suggest why.

It is its meaninglessness that is so affecting, and, if you weren’t already thinking Beckett, one of his images is borrowed for a finale penned by playwright Mark O’Halloran. The theatre event fails but then death isn’t an event, we’re told. With startling images of women who have decided to die, LIPPY reaches for a terrifying light of heaven. It is the utmost truth and sacrifice you'll see.

Star rating: ★★★★★

  • Review
  • Theatre

Dublin Fringe Festival: LIPPY by DEAD CENTRE

11-14 September, 2013

Produced by DEAD CENTRE
In The Lir Academy- Studio 1

Created by Bush Moukarzel with Mark O'Halloran

Directed by Ben Kidd and Bush Moukarzel

Sound and Music: Adam Welsh

Set Design: Andrew Clancy

Costume Design: Grace O’Hara

Lighting Design: Stephen Dodd

Onstage Design and Effects: Grace O’Hara

Photo credit: Jason Booher

With: Joanna Banks, Bush Moukarzel, Gina Moxley, Caitriona Ní Mhurchú, Liv O’Donoghue, Daniel Reardon and Adam Welsh