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He Says: Disco Pigs A Smashing Punch to Our Collective Gut

He Says: Disco Pigs A Smashing Punch to Our Collective Gut
After being introduced to the writing of Enda Walsh at St. Ann’s Warehouse a few weeks ago with his strange and exciting Ballyturk, an Irish equivalent to Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, the Irish Repertory Theatre, in celebration of its 20th Anniversary has brought forth a revival of the equally strange and exciting Disco Pigs. To say that I was prepared is a complete understatement as this two handed bit of abstractionism is a whole different kettle of pigs from Ballyturk. It’s equal in its exuberant style and spectacular word play but quite a separate function in its metaphorical examination of life. Directed with staccato precision by John Haidar (Southwark Playhouse’s Last of the Boys), these Disco Pigs have a violence and sexual edge that sneaks up and sucker punches one’s guts and morality. Something Pig would have enjoyed doing immensely given the chance.
Colin Campbell, Evanna Lynch. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
Born on the same day to neighboring mothers, these two soul mates feel as bonded as Siamese twins. Their language is a creationist puzzle using a variation of Cork dialect sliced with words, sounds, and phrases of their own making, fortifying these two characters into a unique coupling and separation from the world around them. The writing is both bizarre and exciting, making one lean in hard while also wanted to back away from the discomfort felt. The two, played miraculously by Evanna Lynch (“My Name Is Emily”, Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films) as ‘Runt’ and Colin Campbell (Corn Exchange’s Dublin by Lamplight) as ‘Pig’ (the nicknames they have given one another) smash together in punk slang and in body. As they barrel forward with an unstable and unstoppable kinetic force towards their 17th birthday, they assault this Irish town of Cork as if they are figures in a violent video game smashing and stealing all that they want in a drunken wild fit of verbal exuberance, rage, and indifference. The pow and the punch is cartoonish but uncomfortable, courtesy of the stunning movement direction by Naomi Said (National’s Beginning).
Colin Campbell, Evanna Lynch. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
Campbell’s energy is thrilling and frightening to watch, and is mirrored hypnotically by Lynch’s wide eyed acceptance. But a shift occurs this time round, severing the complex ease with a jolt of hormonal impulse and an aggressive kiss. It seems once Pig’s intentions of a deeper engagement become clear, their mutual joy in excessive drinking, violent behavior, and ‘Baywatch’ pleasures now has a divergent layer of futuristic meaning. Lynch’s Runt steps back with an uncomfortable nervousness.  She knows, and we see it in her whole body, that Pig is not one to be OK with not getting what he wants. Just ask that store clerk.
Evanna Lynch in DISCO PIGS at Irish Rep - photos by Jeremy Daniel
Evanna Lynch. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
The production, designed simply and erotically by Richard Kent (Vaudeville’s Dead Funny), with lighting by Elliot Griggs (Harlow Playhouse’s Peter Pan), and sound design by Giles Thomas (Royal Exchange/Royal Court’s Yen) spins forward like an avalanche attacking a china shop. Banging and collapsing towards the compelling ending of this honest and rebellious story. The struggle to step away from your own personal status quo of attachment with the structure and coping mechanisms of one’s upbringing firmly established, even if it tinged with destruction and violence, is always going to be scary, messy, and littered with carnage, but ‘Runt’ can’t help her compulsive desire for something else, even if it means the imploding of the ‘Pig’. This 20 year old play packs as much disturbing punch as the ones thrown with exuberance by ‘Pig’. Disco Pigs will not be a night easily forgotten.
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Evanna Lynch, Colin Campbell in the Irish Rep’s Disco Pigs. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Off Broadway
@#frontmezzjunkies

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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