The Daughters of Róisín
Things we loved
- Aoibh Johnson has a captivating presence
- An intriguing blend of narrative forms, creating a reflective piece of theatre
Things we would reconsider
- If you're hard of hearing, sit as close to the front as possible so as not to miss the quieter elements
The Daughters of Róisín opens with poetic questioning and closes likewise.
Through this dramatic device, thoughtful theatre goers are eased into and out of quiet hour of focussed, earnest theatre in which actor Aoibh Johnson takes us on a reflective journey through the stories of church and state-sanctioned abuse against women in Ireland over the last 100 years.
While films like The Sisters Of No Mercy and Philomena have given us deep insights into the harrowing past of social and religious prejudice against unmarried mothers in Ireland through their conventional narrative structures, The Daughters of Róisín uses poetry, monologue, vignettes, and song, to create a reflection on the emotional and psychological toll taken by these past practices through the life of one woman.
What makes this production relevant to audiences outside Ireland, is that it touches on two fundamental aspects of life. Firstly, injustice is injustice and it comes in many forms but is most gruesome and harrowing when it is entrenched within the state. Secondly, this tale shows how complex human relations can be and how our comprehension of people’s plights are all viewed through different lenses. While black and white exists, most of life sits within a spectrum of grey.
Dressed in simple, white night gown, amid a black set strewn with various white cloths, Aoibh Johnson breathes life into these props as she recreates the experience of having a wanted and unwanted “sickness” inside her; a sickness with a beating heart that will one day be taken away from her. She unfolds the narrative in a way that draws you close, conjuring a poignant intimacy throughout the performance.
This experimental theatre is performed with aplomb by Aoibh Johnson and we can only hope she expands the repertoire of Wee Yarn productions to intrigue us all with more stories in the future.
See this, if you enjoy quiet theatre where an actor can ply her craft with great care and give all of herself to each moment with great intimacy and vulnerability.