This review was originally written for The Public Reviews.
On a quiet evening in rural Ireland, just as the season turns to winter, Nashee (Des Keogh) tends to a broken sty. He is met by his neighbour Eamonn (Derry Power), who has recently been discharged from hospital following an aggravated burglary at his home. Friends and neighbours for years, Nashee fills Eamonn in on the local news since he’s been in hospital, but Eamonn is more interested in knowing what the postman brought to Nashee earlier in the day. The story saunters forward as the two aging men, quick witted but sometimes curmudgeonly, chat between themselves of all that has been and all that will become. As they both ponder what the future holds, Nashee needs to clear his conscience and Eamonn’s concern about the ominous low nesting crows might just have some merit.
The rustic set (by Andrew Murray) follows through with the theme of the piece, giving a nod to the passage of time with props such as rusting milk churns and a bag of turf. The rural sounds are a nice touch and the subtle lighting adds a dusky feeling to the set as the evening approaches for Nashee and Eamonn.
Keogh and Power offer equally commendable performances as these two auld fellas, who are so well acquainted that they can cut to the bone in one breath and be the best of friends in the next. The actors’ chemistry works a charm and fits in perfectly with this lovely little story. McKenna’s dialogue rings of truth and intimacy from the beginning and at times it feels like one is eavesdropping on a private conversation. In what is ultimately a story about two men facing the perils of aging and loneliness there is plenty of humour and laughs. The wit of McKenna’s writing is delivered exceptionally by both Keogh and Power
Powerscourt Theatre, a lovely performance space in beautiful surroundings, need to address their entrance area. The queue prior the performance became farcical due to lack of a distinct box office and queuing system, leading to a delay of 15 minutes . Thankfully, the performance made up for this annoying shortcoming.
Directed by Bairdre Ni Chaoimh, The Quiet Land is well written and equally well performed. This quaint and touching story of rural solidarity and camaraderie also highlights the problems of provincial life and the loss of simpler times. An excellent way to spend a leisurely lunch.
Writer: Malachy McKenna
Director: Bairbre Ni Chaoimh
Photo by Futoshi Sakauchi
Runs until August 22nd 2015