Monday, April 13, 2009

"Djupid (The Deep)" - April 2009

The world of deep sea fishermen should be prime territory for drama – confinement, danger, family bonds, not to mention the whole man vs nature aspect. But sadly Graeme Maley's translation of Icelandic playwright Jon Atli Jonasson's “Djupid” does little more than hint at these.

In part its limitations come down to just how much can be realised in a forty minute monologue. Liam Brennan does well to give his lost colleagues a sense of being present, but it can’t match meeting them in person and witnessing the relationships and banter between them. As a result we don't really feel much attachment to any character other than Brennan's unnamed trawlerman who finds himself the last survivor when the boat goes down.

What didn’t help my enjoyment of this was that I spent the first half of the play mentally screaming “Please stop shouting” and looking for the volume control. To be fair to Brennan it was almost certainly a character choice rather than a misjudgement of the space - but it was nevertheless painful.

And with his character's re-telling of the final moments of the film “Titanic” for cheap laughs, any hope I had for the play sank beneath the waves. That said, there remained moments when it fights for one last breath and Brennan's description of his escape from his cot as the boat upturns is genuinely compelling.

But essentially his situation is largely irrelevant as the play disappointingly turns into a simplistic reflection on “If I just had one more day…” and then fails to bring any novel thoughts or attitudes to the table. There are few of his wishes and regrets that wouldn't feature on most people's such lists.

In the end, ironically, what the play lacks is depth.

Djupid (The Deep) runs at Oran Mor daily at 1pm until Saturday 18th April as part of A Play, A Pie & A Pint.
Image by Leslie Black used with permission