‘I’m Not Here‘ is not an easy performance to watch. Then again, its subject matter is not one that is easy to tackle. Over 70 minutes, Doireann Coady’s theatrical writing debut tells the story of one family’s experience of their son’s suicide.
It is a story which is deeply personal, and yet, in her stylistic choices, it becomes universal. It is universal, and in Ireland today, it is a story we have all heard before, but not like this. Worked as a series of “duets” with her dead brother, Coady explores the fragmentation and fragility of human nature, and of our memories. I’m Not Here is raw and ritualistic, tracing footsteps through difficult days, and inviting the audience into the most intimate of spaces.
Frustratingly, it offers no answers, and there is no clear story to Coady’s work, no reason or rhyme. And yet, this frustration is fitting, echoing the impossibility of receiving answers in the wake of such a tragedy.
Yes, I’m Not Here is a story we’ve all heard before. We need to hear it again, and it will continue to be told.
By Siofra Ni Shluaghadháin