TDF 2015: (Not) Belonging

(Not) Belonging is a new, devised play by This is Happening that explores youth subculture and loneliness with a backdrop of Emo music and tween diary entries.

Looking at the premise, you would be forgiven if you expected a whiney hour of young people talking about their small problems and how no one understands them. However, this show delves beyond stereotypes and has some very human moments.

At it’s core, it is a glimpse at what it’s like to grow up feeling apart from everything, and then subsequently, a part of something. Because the performers (Matthew O’Dwyer, Sorcha Flanagan and Áine O’Hara.) take thier actual lives as inspiration, the points at which they just stand still and recount, hit hardest and ring true.

The problem is that none of the performers are actors and none of it is directed. The transitions are long and clunky. There are some good movement ideas but executed without confidence, they fall short. The performers don’t know their lines (a particular problem, when, in one scene, the lines are projected onto the back wall and said wrong). And the lighting – by Niamh Cooke – is badly timed and too revealing for what should be an intimate play.

If the piece was delivered in a simpler manner, or had been rehearsed more, it would have been more successful. There is room in the world for the kind of laid bare theatre that This is Happening want to put forward, if it were more polished – and directed.

Siobhan Corcoran

Dates: Sep 13 — 14 @ 17:00 & 20:30
Tickets: €14 / €12
Venue: Samuel Beckett Theatre

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