It was at Dublin’s New Theatre, a cosy intimate theatre that can be accessed through a communist bookshop before opening up into a small stage, where Liam Murray made his debut as playwright. The New Theatre have dedicated a week to showcasing the best of new writing. The Easy Way Out was a wonderful opportunity to get first hand experience of watching the process from page to stage happen and to see one of the future stars of Irish theatre as they are beginning.
Murray’s play follows two brothers in their early thirties who, aside from caring for their ailing mother, have little if anything in common. Written as a joint monologue, the differences between the two brothers are shown as they take control of their own stories; their use of language and humour highlighting their personalities. The monologue format is intimate, bringing the audience quickly into the lives of the brothers. Combined with Irish colloquialism and vernacular the first person format is easily used for humour. Murray’s first play had the audience laughing within minutes despite its sometimes dark subject matter.
The younger brother (played by Aonghus Og McAnally) makes it clear that he is happy to take the easy way out which contrasts dramatically with his older brother (played by Ian Lloyd Anderson) who has plans to change his future and break out of the paralysis he finds himself in.
As the day comes to a close plans fall apart, are sabotaged and the brothers monologues increase in speed with decreasing gaps between the two’s speeches as emotions become heightened. Their behaviours step ever closer to each other and the audience’s impressions of the brothers are challenged and eventually blown away by the ending.
It was a full script reading rather than a full performance, with two chairs under two spotlights. This was all that was needed to capture the essence of the characters and project this to the audience. Showing that all that is needed to create great theatre is a well-crafted script delivered by believable, dedicated actors.