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  NUMB: two plays without feeling

In September 2002 we performed for only the second time in Dublin Fringe Festival (in 1998 we showed the Irish premiere of Anthony Neilson's The Censor). Numb: two plays without feeling was staged in the Dublin Viking Centre from 23rd - 28th September. This was the first time this venue had been used as a theatre since 1788 when Dublin's infamous Smock Alley Theatre (est. 1662) had its last performance.

The NUMB double bill featured bending spoons and Three Figures At A Well by Peter Hussey.

bending spoons was short-listed for the Rough Magic seeds project in 2001. It is a dark comedy set in what appears to be a rehabilitation institute but which turns out to be somewhere altogether different. Two men enact various roles exploring the changing nature of intimacy in a post-colonial world where everything must be saleable in order to have value.

With Darren Donohue (Burke) and Nick Devlin (Nash). Directed by Peter Hussey and designed by Ciarán Aspell. Sound effects by Peter Hussey. The play runs for 50 minutes.

bending spoons was first performed as part of the first Numb cycle in October 2001 in Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge.

Three Figures at a Well is a 45 minute piece in which three people find themselves at a well in the countryside at various stages in their lives. From there they address the audience. Loosely inspired by Beckett's Play, this confessional play consists of the monologues of two women and a man, which interweave to tell a shared story of love, obsession and redemption. With Yvonne Ó Hara, Hazel Coyle and Keith Burke. Directed by Peter Hussey. Designed by Ciarán Aspell.

Three Figures At a Well was first performed as part of the Sucking Stones trilogy of new plays inspired by the work of Beckett in Riverbank Arts Centre in February 2002.

Excerpts from Reviews

“The first of the two Numb plays was called “Three Figures At a Well,” with two young women and teenage boy reciting three interlocking monologues. One woman [Yvonne O’ Hara] recounts her difficult relationship with her mum, her time in a stultifying boarding school, and subsequent flourishing in the sex industry. A schoolboy [Keith Burke] muses on whether he loves his girlfriend and his plan to become a writer, while the other woman [Hazel Coyle] is a shop-girl who married the only man who ever did anything nice for her. […] “Three Figures” is quite well-written, knowing stuff that has some nice swipes at youthful pretension, self-involvement and the piece’s own status as a Beckett homage.

[…] “Bending Spoons” was an absurdist power-play between a shrink and his patient, that nicely segued from dark comedy to serious revelations and back again. Darren Donohue was wonderfully uptight as the patient, while Nick Devlin made a suitable slimy doctor. Again they were dwarfed by the surroundings, but the comparative strength of the play held the audience’s attention. Like witnessing Pinter, Kafka, and Woody Allen having a punch-up, this is darkly entertaining stuff.”

- Nick Mc Ginley, Irish Theatre Magazine, Winter 2002.

“There is still much originality in [Peter Hussey’s] approach to his theme, and to his characters, well played by Yvonne O’ Hara, Hazel Coyle and Keith Burke. Bending Spoons is a more successful safari, this time into Pinter terrain. Two men meet in an office, apparently a psychiatrist and his patient. They engage in a kind of duel in which now one, now the other, gets the upper hand. Then the doctor lets his guard down, seeking a real relationship – and it is all over. Nick Devlin and Darren Donohue are quite gripping as the duo.”

-Gerry Colgan, The Irish Times, Sept 25 2002. Three Stars ***

Hazel Coyle, Yvonne O' Hara, Keith Burke
Darren Donohue
Nick Devlin, Darren Donohue
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