For the first few moments, I was as lost as the central character turns out to be in this intensely moving one-man theatre piece streaming out for the world to see from Ireland’s new play company, Fishamble. Written and performed with utter connection to the material, Pat Kinevane (The Nun’s Wood) brings noise, confusion, and internal chaos, most brilliantly, to his Silent with a special filmed version, streaming July 9 through July 11 at OdysseyTheatre.com (L.A.’s Odyssey Theatre Ensemble is Fishamble’s artistic home on the West Coast). It dares us all to sit up, take notice, and throw our two cents of change into the ring with a clang. Kinevane’s brave soul stomps and flutters around the bare stage with a grandiose edginess, finding despair and grief in abundance at every turn. He shuffles about in this bleak troubling tale asking to be heart, even when we don’t want to listen, in a production so chaotic with heartfelt pain that it rightfully won Fishamble and Kinevane a 2016 Olivier Award.
Etched inside of this stunningly complex struggle for internal redemption, Kinevane delivers us a wounded soul that has a lot to say. It took me some time to grasp the inner turnings of the wheel that push this homeless man by the name of McGoldrig forward. Lost in the fog of pain and dementedness, he turns and spins. He had a life, and a structure that he might have taken for granted, but through tragedy and blood shed, all was lost, including his hold on reality, slipping and gliding into a fantastical black and white world of Rudolph Valentino and the silent era of filmmaking.
Directed with an easy breezy chaotic feel by Jim Culleton, with music composed by Denis Clohessy and costumes styled by Catherine Condell, Silent is anything but. It’s tense and powerfully dynamic, driving forth with erratic energy, scratching at that camouflaged itch from the first moment onwards. Kinevane crawls forward, wrapped in mystery, disease, and trauma, reaching out for us desperately from behind a grey veil of mental illness and tragedy like a demented Shakespearian character looking for salvation. With a twisty awful tongue, something he got from his mother, the lesser gorgeous version of his brother Pierce, wraps us up in the despair of murder by way of giggles, heckles, and bullying. “All he wanted was to be wanted, ya know,” and deep down in this tale of a tortured soul, burned by tragedy, and dragged about by alcoholism, Silent screams out the pain we might want to turn a blind eye to. But if we don’t, and we stop and take in the entirety of the silent picture, maybe even throw him a coin, the connection and insight gained will ring true, far beyond my confused initial response. “If anyone asks, I’m not here at all,” he says, with a secret power that digs deep. That weight and emotionality is as heavy and engaging as that perfect movie star hero and his short soft faggot life. An image and a tale that will be hard to forget. “I wanted it all, ding dong.”
• Written and Performed by Pat Kinevane
• Directed by Jim Culleton
• Music composed by Denis Clohessy
• Costume styled by Catherine Condell
• Co-Producer (London, New York and Los Angeles) Georganne Aldrich Heller
• Produced by Eva Scanlan
Streaming July 9, July 10 and July 11, 2021
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