Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hooked!: It all depends on how you look at it

We tell stories so that we can justify our actions. Even two people who lived through the same event, can see it differently. When we hear all sides of the story, we can begin to piece together something approximating the truth.

Rachel Brodeur and Corinna Burns
Photo by Katie Reing.
Inis Nua Theatre Company, which presents “Contemporary theatre from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales,” has found a charming play about small town secrets and invites us into a pub to hear the participants tell their sides of the story. It’s filled with a hint of violence and lots of unfulfilled sexuality, and goes perfectly with a pint of whatever you’re drinking.

Mary (Corinna Burns) and Tom (Charlie DelMarcelle) are married, although they seem happier apart. Even their daughter, a never seen Jessie, has moved away. Meanwhile Lydia (Rachel Brodeur), whose husband has left her and taken their child with him, moves into the house next door, a house that once belonged to an old woman that Mary considered a witch, and the potential for misunderstandings and a hint of French farce ensue.

Tom and Lydia are plagued by secrets which Mary is determined to uncover, whether by spying on her neighbor from her kitchen counter, or badgering Tom until he just can’t take it anymore.

The actors sit apart in separate corners of the pub around the audience. The story is told through a series of short monologues, with a scene or two that brings the actors together, but really they’re happier apart. Tom wants to indulge his fetish, and Lydia would like to return to painting, while Mary wants to cause trouble for everyone, which she does with relish. She has a mean streak, and lashes out physically when she can’t think what else to do.

Stories come back in different forms depending on who is telling them. Mary’s wicked witch with too many cats is Lydia’s Granny Katz. Lydia’s depression is a serious illness according to her husband and grounds for taking her child. Tom’s attachment to ladies’ undies is seen by Mary as proof of an affair. As the stories emerge, we laugh at what we can see that the characters can’t, too caught up in their own version of events.

The pub setting works well. It’s as if we’ve sat down with these people and are listening to their stories over a pint of ale. Despite noise from the bar downstairs, the actors keep their focus and stay in character, making us feel as if we really are just having a conversation, even if we never get to say a word.

Hooked!. By Gillian Grattan. Tom Reing directed. Through October 25, 2015 presented by Inis Nua Theatre Company at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA. (215) 928-8118; Inis Nua Theatre Company: (215) 454-9776 or inisnuatheatre.org


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