FIACH MAC CONGHAIL PRESENTS ARIEL AT THE ABBEY THEATRE, DUBLIN THEATRE FESTIVAL, 05TH OCT 2002.
Marina Carr's ARIEL was perhaps the most disturbing piece of theatre that I have ever been to see.This does not mean that I was disappointed with the performance of the actors, the way the set was designed or the tragedy based writing.The combination of all three elements resulted in an overall depressing yet sometimes-comical theatrical show.
The set by Frank Conway was starkly designed; a simple wooden floor graduated towards the back with two entrances on opposite sides of the stage. These entrances looked almost like emergency exits positioned half way up brick walls with metallic effect steps.Centre stage was composed of a dining room table set up for a birthday party (cake etc) with a chandelier hanging directly above. Throughout the play the set altered little but the atmosphere changed often which gave the impression of different locations.
The played is named Ariel yet the character herself is not seen very often throughout the show.The daughter of Fermoy Fitzgerald a rich ambitious business- man who plans to become a politician, Ariel has just celebrated her sixteenth birthday and mysteriously goes missing. Fermoy has made his money from the cement business but has ambitions to become the next Taoiseach.His ambition we see (as the play skips on ten years) is about to be realised but not without an underlying uneasy feeling surrounding the disappearance of his daughter.
Marina Carr's play is loosely based around Euripides' IPHIGENIA. As with all Greek Tragedies blood is shed and it makes no difference how closely related to the person you are, if you find a problem with them then its time for them to go.The killings were quite believable atfirst but by the time the denouement of the play commenced I felt we had seen a little too much blood and the murders became almost farcical.