Long Life of an Act of Violence
killed 12-year-old Hilary 14 years ago and he’s paid for his
crime. He’s finding success: a great career and a beautiful
new wife, but his family is shattered by the shame. His Mam,
Teresa, dopes herself into a fog of lies, intent on pretending
how ‘normal’ they are. She flutters and babbles on about happy
families, acting the part of a naughty kitten when she’s really
a drowned cat. Sister Ciara keeps things afloat, but sister
Niamh is determined to destroy Nial’s perfect new life.
Tensions abound in scenes from Moment:
the stage is set for Moment, a play by Deirdre Kinahan. Directed
by Ellen Kaplan, professor of theatre, Moment portrays a family
that lives in a fog of denial but can’t escape the explosive “trauma
in a teacup” that tears them apart. The play, a major hit in
London last year, is lightning fast and frighteningly funny,
clear-eyed and compassionate, the play—like Nial—pulls no punches.
One afternoon, Nial and his new
wife visit Niamh for tea, and the trauma of a long-buried crime
can no longer be contained. We are thrust into the aftermath,
we see what comes of taking a life. Why does a boy kill? Why
does a teenager murder his kid sister’s friend? And how does the boy’s family keep from
breaking apart after the “worst” is over?
Moment is car crash
theatre, a perfectly crafted play that explores the way we
cope with trauma. It looks at how a family carries the burden
of guilt as much as does the perpetrator himself. Inspired
by real-life, high profile cases in Britain (Wayne O'Donoghue
and Patrick O'Dwyer, among others), the play explores how families
operate in a world of denial. “They spin around and pretend
that it all hasn't happened,” says Kinahan. “(As if…that it
is all OK. When it plainly isn't.")
Director Ellen Kaplan is
particularly interested in the ways violence affects everyone
it touches. “Each character is put under a microscope and becomes
a scaffolding upon which is built an intensely emotional field
where the dynamics of the family play out,” she says of Moment.
Moment is about a family that
can’t bear the truth. It’s taut
and bright and funny—we all see ourselves in the loving and
hating, the rivalries and grudges, the joys and miseries that
go on in family kitchens. But the barbed ripostes turn vicious,
bursting into explosions of rage that expose this family’s
complicity in violence.
Tickets for Moment ($8
for adults, $5 for student/seniors, $3 for Smith students with
ID) are available online or by contacting the Theatre Box Office,
firstname.lastname@example.org, 413-585-ARTS (2787). The Box Office ticket
window is open Monday-Friday, 1-4 p.m.; also one hour before
show time. Thursday, March 1, is Dollar
Night for students. *Also, ask about
special "tweet seats" on March 1, where you can tweet reactions
during the play.
Kinahan is artistic director of Tall Tales Theatre Co. She
has written many plays: BogBoy, Moment, Salad
Day, Hue & Cry,
Melody, Attaboy Mr Synge, Rum & Raisin, Summer
Passage and Be Carna. Also, for children: Maisy
Rebecca's Robin, Snow Child and The
Tale Of The Blue Eyed Cat.
Kinahan is currently writing a
new play for the Abbey Theatre and has two plays in development.
Kaplan is chair of theatre at Smith, former director of Jewish studies,
and professor of acting and directing. She has taught at Tel
Aviv University and has performed and directed at the Khan,
Sherover and Jerusalem Theatres and Hebrew University in Israel.
Kaplan’s plays include: Soul of the City, a finalist
for the Massachusetts Playwriting Fellowship (2009); With
Dream Awakened Eyes, which has been performed in the US and in Bucharest,
Romania; Pulling Apart, a finalist for the O'Neill Playwrights
Conference; and two short plays about prison life, adapted
from original stories.