There’s something quite disorientating about Seanan McDonnell’s play for this year’s Dublin Fringe Festival. It’s the hour before opening in the children’s section of a bookshop. Drew and Siobhan have arrived for their day’s work, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, to find there has been a delivery. What is in the box is a bit of a head-wrecker, for the audience (who never see it), and for the actors on stage, who can’t just decide what it is. There’s also the strangeness of watching a play set in a bookshop, sitting on the shop floor of a bookshop. While End of. might not be site-specific, there is a special element to these performances on the back of where it’s being staged.
The children’s counter of a bookshop is not exactly where we expect hard-hitting questions. However, in this play, written in what the playwright describes as ‘the most politically obnoxious six months [he] experienced as an adult’ McDonnell uses this juxtaposition to explore how and why we argue. The object in the box, in the end, is irrelevant. Instead, End of. explores some of the ins and outs of how people interact, and perhaps how it is fundamentally broken.
The atmosphere, a mix of comedy and tension, is brought to life with some wizardry and magic, and of course, the superb acting of the cast, Charlene Craig, Will Irvine and Damian Gildea.
End of. runs in The Gutter Bookshop, until Sept. 24th. 19.30 nightly. Extra performances, 21.30, 21st & 23rd.
By Síofra Ní Shluaghadháin