This Is A Room… written by Dylan Coburn Gray and directed by Veronica Coburn in a look about what a home is and means to young people as they come of age with the backdrop of Ireland’s housing crisis.
An ensemble cast of 21 of Dublin Youth Theatre’s members are pre-set, chatting and laughing amongst themselves as the audience comes in. The cast comes to the fore one by one, telling us about their homes, evoking an atmosphere of sentimentality in the theatre.
Not only do they describe their rooms, but they show us what it is like to live in their house. This play’s origins are rooted in a residential workshop for DYT members where the theme was “home”, and, as a result, a very unique play has been made.
It is unique because it is based on experiences of many young people living in many different areas and situations in Dublin. Rather than one narrative, we are peering into the lives of a variety characters, and each of their own situations.
From those who are living in hotels to those who have just moved out of home and are exploring their independence for the first time, the importance of a home is made clear. The young people imagine being different ages – in their late teens having their first sexual experience, in their thirties and married with kids, and in their forties and married.
While looking at broader issue such as being LGBTQ, and not accepted, or a homeless family, it is a look at these people who are on the brink of adulthood and what the possibilities are. The play is optimistic and hopeful but juxtaposed with anxieties of what the real world will have to offer. At moments it is a pure and joyous celebration of what youth as they invite us from their bedrooms into their gaff parties.
Eamon Fox’s lighting is simple and focuses in on each story and creating snapshots of these characters’ lives. Interspersed throughout the scenes is another character, not fully defined or explored, who is pregnant and asking for money for a hostel for the night. Bringing in class and privilege, it highlights social issues and makes for a powerful and evocative show.
Dublin Youth Theatre has a consistently high standard of work and this is in no way a disappointment.
Siofra Nic Liam