16 Possible Glimpses – Review
“Don’t talk to me about happiness – it’s for other people”
By: Marina Carr
Directed by: Wayne Jordan
Venue: The Peacock
Dates: 30th Sept – 29th October
Usually dark with rural undertones, Marina Carr’s plays have been captivating Irish audiences since the late 80’s. ’16 Possible Glimpses’ continues to captivate in a style new to Carr on the Peacock Stage.
’16 Possible Glimpses’ illuminates the life of Anton Chekhov, focusing primarily on his personal life rather than his written works. Checkov played by Patrick O’ Kane is haunted by an eerie grim reaper figure, The Black Monk, who tries to guide him through his days. The women in his life can never seem to agree on what is best for him and their relationships are fraught with tragedy, unrequited love and joy.
The relationship between Chekhov and his sister Masha in this piece is turbulent. It allows the audience to witness Chekov’s relationship with women both romantically and familially. The title eludes the sixteen glimpses that the audience receives of Chekhov’s life. These non-linear ‘glimpses’ cover him from man to death.
However this play, written by one playwright about another, is mostly an exploration of art and the artist. The most humorous scene, the discussion between Chekhov and Tolstoy, involves the discussions of semicolons and sentence structure. “I have a feeling that when I killed Karenina, I killed a vital part of myself”, Tolstoy admits. The dialogue between Chekhov and Tolstoy is witty, raw and artistic in its delivery. The emphasis is on artistic preparation not just inspiration in this piece. Carr is writing not about the work of the artist but about the life of the artist. It allows the audience to witness both the preparation and the inspiration involved in producing works of great art.
The audience is spoilt for choice on where to look onstage. The cinematic qualities give vitality to the performance that perhaps otherwise would be a bit camp and dull.
For fans of Carr and everyone else, this production is a must see. A new wave of Carr’s work is put onstage.