Elinor Johns rounds up our January MIRLive.
An appreciative audience packed the basement bar of The Harrison on Monday 28th January for our first MIRLive of 2019. We were treated to an interesting variety of creative pieces performed in a relaxed atmosphere, created by Peter Coles, our enthusiastic host for the evening.
Sybil Ruth began the evening with a thought- provoking and evocative piece called “Restored.” Written as a result of a workshop on Brexit, this piece was well- crafted, intertwining two journeys; that of the narrator, taking the bus home from the embassy where she has gained a certificate to restore her German identity, and that of her grandmother, as an immigrant, arriving in the country eighty years earlier. It was an ironic piece about identity, conjuring a sense of displacement, sensitively and gently told through carefully selected details.
The mood shifted a gear when Ronan Fitzgerald took to the stage to present his poem, “The Girl in the Orange Dress,” which was derived from newspaper headlines. Ronan performed his poem perfectly, expertly bringing out the tragi- comic effect of his juxtapositions. His skilled use of repetition and rhythm took us through a myriad of events, succinctly evoked and carefully placed. From “I fell in love/ I fell off the escalator,” through to “fatherhood was like growing wild mushrooms in a death camp,” we were surprised and ultimately moved by the poem, which for all its absurdities was a cogent tale of falling in love “at the supermarket checkout” with “The girl in the orange dress.”
The next piece was called “Unpublished Obituary for a Playwright,” which was extremely well performed by its author, Raoul Colvile. Conversational in tone, the story took the form of a confessional monologue. The strangeness of the playwright’s corpse being wrapped in a carpet was an absurd, yet poignant detail and as the monologue developed, pathos was evoked for the narrator, a lonely and bereaved man, considering the futility of his life.
Kayleigh Cassidy’s autobiographical piece, “Home time,” began with a gentle, comic recounting of growing up in the nineties, charting memories of peer group frictions at primary school, but as the piece developed she inter-wove much darker memories within a fast paced style. The vivid dialogue gave immediacy to the child’s eye view and the hints of family breakdown were drip- fed into the piece so that the audience was left wanting more.
This was followed by “Past Lives,” an interesting internal monologue, in which the many reincarnations of the narrator were presented as a struggle for happiness between the narrator and a lover. Sometimes life allowed for requited love but often destiny would leave the narrator unfulfilled. Nevertheless, the ending was positive. It was beautifully read by its author, Rebekah Lin.
This took us to our headline act. Laura Kaye ended the evening with an impressive extract from her next novel, “Parties,” which described a ludicrously lavish party from the waitress’ perspective. Dressed as a mermaid, Mary suffers the indignities of waiting on predatory guests in a surreal environment. Witty and satirical, her piece had us all laughing out loud. It was a highly entertaining way to end a great evening.
Do join us next time on March 11th as a performer alongside comedian Rosie Wilby, or as a member of the audience – no tickets required! Submit your work here.