Lilith isn’t seeking asylum, nor is she homeless is the physical sense, yet she is in need of safety and somewhere to rest in peace. Having died by suicide over 100 years ago she was buried in an unmarked grave, deemed undeserving of a proper ceremony for her alleged sin. Lilith’s death was a complex move to reclaim her own life and break away from the patriarchy that she had been raised in and then sold into. Thankfully, things might be about to change for this wandering soul; the council are trying to right the wrongs of the past by offering a limited number of plots to those previously buried in cilliní. Lilith must now plead her case with Edith, a prim and proper council assessor whose patience begins to fray during their intense exchange. Lurking on the periphery of this unusual interview is a demon, always waiting for his chance to lure another soul into darkness.
The surreal premise of The Plot facilitates a conversation beyond the interview between Lilith (Roseanne Lynch) and Edith (Charlotte Rose Keating). It delves right back to the Garden of Eden and the story alternates from various biblical references to 19th century Ireland and right up to the present day. The chequered history of our treatment of so-called unfortunates and undesirables is laid bare, and we’re reminded that the past is never that far away.
Through a series of soliloquies a demon (Eoghan Burke) offers teasing explanations and insights into our darkest behaviours. Those who rebel in society are denounced as bad but those who are subservient and obedient often don’t fare any better. His stance seems to be that we’re all doomed, so why not enjoy the journey into our own demise.
Each role has multiple aspects to it, some of which are fully known by the characters themselves and some that are revealed to them as the story plays out. The seriousness of the piece is broken frequently with dark humour and the overtly absurd nature of the interview itself.
An original score for cello provides a haunted Gothic feeling to the piece coupled with hints of Celtic mysticism. Composed by Mary Barnecutt and exquisitely performed by Aleka Potinga, this otherworldly emotive sound is a beautiful addition to the overall production.
Running at just over an hour, this circuitous and complex story reflects the state of Lilith and society in general. It shows how progress is made slowly and how we often end up repeating the same mistakes in slightly different ways. While it doesn’t necessarily offer any solutions, The Plot does ask that we acknowledge the past and try to make the present, and the future, a better place for us all.
The Plot runs at The New Theatre, Dublin, until February 9th 2019.
Charlotte Rose Keating
Original score composed by: Mary Barnecutt
Performed by: Aleka Potinga
Writer: Paula Lonergan
Director: Nora Kelly Lester
Movement Director: Deirdre Murphy
Lighting Design: Cathy O’Carroll
Dramaturg: Pamela McQueen