Enda Walsh is a playwright known for his minute, and mind-bending, examinations of the human psyche under pressure. The Second Violinist follows this theme, examining the frustrations of lives half-lived, and the effects of the secrets which simmer under the surface of every-day lives. Brought to the Dublin Theatre Festival this year by Landmark Productions and Wide Open Opera, this production offers a new route of access to those unfamiliar with the opera.
The Second Violinist is gritty and unpretentious, and exists in a world we all recognize. The emotions within it, captured wonderfully between Walsh’s script and the musical score, provided by Donnacha Dennehy, speak to the audience in a way that is very raw and real. There is a certain feeling of conspiracy forged between the cast and audience in this work, an acknowledgement that “we’ve all been there”, that draws the audience further into the drama of the piece.
Overall, The Second Violinist is an opera for our modern times. Making use of both the old, and the new (particularly in the form of the intricate set and video design, designed by Jamie Vartan and Jack Phelan, respectively), it is refreshing, unsettling, and unforgettable.
By Síofra Ní Shluaghadháin