GALWAY THEATRE FESTIVAL: Drawing Crosses on a Dusty Windowpane – Mick Lally Theatre, Galway
Posted by: The Reviews Hub – Ireland in Drama, Galway Theatre Festival, Galway Theatre Festival, Ireland, Review 2 days ago
The Reviews Hub Score: 4.5 stars
Writer: Dylan Coburn Gray
Director: Liam Halligan
Reviewer: Paige Louter
Piles of shoes lie scattered around the stage, along with a single chair, a glass of water, and a few other props. Performer Claire Galvin stands calmly, waiting for the right moment to begin. When she speaks, it’s the beginning of a full 45 minutes of intricate, poetic text that she delivers without so much as a stutter.
Throughout the play, Galvin’s character addresses a “You” who, it quickly becomes clear, is a recently deceased and beloved uncle. Pairs of shoes from the piles become stand-ins for family members, a simple and effective visual cue that helps the audience keep track of the various relatives as they are introduced. The simplicity of the show’s design echoes Galvin’s own performance: she has a light touch as an actor but communicates with absolute clarity even in the midst of potentially obscure passages. Liam Halligan’s subtle direction should also be given credit here.
The show advances with a calm and steady momentum, moving between prose and more rhythmic spoken word sections. There are no shocking reveals in the play, just the bittersweet realisations that everyone goes through as they age and realise the adults in their lives are flawed human beings. There are several moments of laughter when the audience recognises their own experiences being reflected back to them, phrased by writer Dylan Coburn Gray with often exquisite precision.
If there’s a problem with the play, it’s the same one that inevitably crops up for such text-heavy productions: Without absolute concentration, the audience is bound to lose their way in the words at some point. Galvin’s performance, however, is compelling enough to always draw her audience back in.
Drawing Crosses on a Dusty Windowpane is melancholy, hopeful, and insightful. Gray is lucky to have a performer like Galvin to bring his text to life, and Galvin is lucky to perform such well-crafted material.
Runs until 2 May 2016 | Image: courtesy of Galway Theatre Festival.
The Reviews Hub Score: Four and a half stars