THE STORYTELLERS (Joy Madden): 2017 Fringe review

“For an Irishman, talking is a dance.” – Deborah Love (Annaghkeen)

TheStorytellers_cover2“We are storytellers,” Joy Madden begins, clad in a vibrant red dress contrasted by a somber, church-going demeanor. This is her subtle hint that she will be speaking on the behalf of her large Irish family, aided by skilled dancers and audio recordings of familial stories that loop throughout.  It is imperative we know in Madden’s family the expectation is that stories conceal hardship and heartbreak through the use of humor.  They are never used to reveal weakness or vulnerability. The focus is on being funny and the pressures do so burden on Madden, the family introvert.

This makes for an interesting perspective into her upbringing. What follows is the non-linear unfolding of moments plucked from Madden’s childhood where movements reveal more than the words themselves. This is most seen when Madden tries to move through her house from point A to point B and continuously gets blocked, pushed and shoved out by dancers who act as siblings that don’t even see her.  The choreography intrigues and serves as THE STORYTELLERS backbone. However, it’s often unclear if the dancers are family members, omnipotent observers, or figments of Madden’s imagination.  Although the ending feels neatly buttoned up and there was much left unsaid, what is offered forth is a true expression of heart worthy receiving.  Unfortunately, making tonight your last chance to do so!

[The Iron Factory,118 Fontain Street] September 21-23, 2017; http://fringearts.com/event/the-storytellers-2017-09-23/

 

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