Limerick-bound play a portrait of grief that breaks conventions of theatre

Have I No Mouth, directed by Feidlim Cannon of Brokentalkers, comes to the Belltable

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Limerick-bound play a portrait of grief that breaks conventions of theatre

Feidlim Cannon brings Have I No Mouth to the Belltable

A GRIPPING real-life show that examines the relationship between the director and his mother following the death of his father, will come under the spotlight at the Belltable this week.

Have I No Mouth, directed by Feidlim Cannon of Brokentalkers, will break all theatrical conventions, as he is joined onstage by his mother Ann and their psychotherapist Erich Kelleher, who guides them through a dark past.

The show takes place at the O’Connell Street venue this Friday, April 21, at 8pm, with ticket prices ranging from €14 to €16.

The show paints an honest portrait of grief, as well as illustrating the celebration of an ever-changing relationship between a mother and son.

This is the second national tour of the show, after it has made an appearance on numerous stages all over the world, including the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, and the UK. The acclaimed show received the Total Theatre award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for its “innovation and experimentation”.

Speaking to the Leader ahead of the one-night show on O’Connell Street, Feidlim said that one of the main differences of this show is that it is delivered by non-actors onstage.

“With our piece, it is much more raw, real, authentic experience for the audience. And what we have found, delivering the piece internationally, is that the audience find that quite compelling.”

Explaining the genesis of the award-winning show, Mr Cannon said: “The reason why I made this piece was that my father passed away in 2001, and his death could have been prevented. My way of dealing with Dad’s loss were through artistic attempts. So, I wrote poetry, I made video pieces. And as a theatre practitioner, I knew that one day that was going to be the form that takes next.

“For me, because it is my story, because it is my family history, it only made sense to me to make a piece of work that had my family on stage. I had no interest in working with actors with this. It’s such a personal story. We go to very difficult places, and it just wouldn’t feel right working with actors. And that is why I approached my mother to help me make the piece.”

He said that, in order to revisit the dark past, he needed both his mother on stage with him, and his brother Padraig’s blessing.

He said that the personal account of loss is a “very universal subject matter”, which is why he said people would enjoy the show.

“Like a play, the piece is scripted but it’s a new structure, in that depending on the mood that we are in, the piece can be very different every night, because we can go off-book, we can improvise and talk about different things, but eventually we have to come back to a point in the script for the piece to move forward. So there is a loose structure there which is fun to perform in.”

Mr Cannon added that he is “very excited” about delivering this week’s Limerick debut, and hopes that it will be “the first of many”.